Stearns, Ziter Look to Ride Momentum into Oxford Plains
The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) makes its second visit of the 2015 season to Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, ME on Saturday, June 27 for the Oxford Plains 150. The ongoing championship duel between Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. will be the featured storyline at the 3/8-mile oval, but a number of drivers are eager to steal the spotlight.
“Luckily I didn't lose my cool,” Stearns said of his final charge. “Probably 9 times out of 10 I would have gotten pretty mad and upset and not been able to focus and do what we did. The car was just good. It felt like it was getting better the longer we went.”
The late charge moved Stearns to fourth in the ACT Tour point standings headed into his home track, where he hopes to improve on his seventh-place finish in the season opener. Although he recognizes that it will be tough to catch Helliwell and Polewarczyk for the title, Stearns believes his team is strong enough to visit Victory Lane and at least get the third spot in the final rundown.
“At tracks like White Mountain and Airborne we've been struggling at before, I feel great at right now,” Stearns said. “So I'm hoping that going back to a place I know with the car the way it is, that we'll find a way to get a win and avoid the bad luck we've had. I don't need good luck; I just don't need bad luck.”
Barre, VT's Mike Ziter is also on a high note after finishing fourth and leading a race-high 96 laps at White Mountain. It was a career-best Tour effort for the sophomore competitor, who had struggled in recent events. The team made major changes to the car prior to White Mountain in an attempt to make it handle better in the center of the corner.
“Right off the bat in the first practice, the car turned well on old tires,” Ziter said. “We did a little fine-tuning and before you know it we had a good piece.
“It was big for us,” he added. “Lately we've been struggling, and we weren't sure if it was a whole team deal, or just the car, or the driver. It was a real confidence booster for us heading into Oxford, where we know our car goes well. I think we're going to go there with a clear head rather than asking 'are we going to be good or not going to be good?'”
At the front of the pack, “Joey Pole” will try to replicate his dominance from the season opener at Oxford and regain the ground that he lost with Helliwell's White Mountain win. Pole led every lap of the opener and has added two more wins since then.
Babb is the only driver to break Pole and Helliwell's grip on Victory Lane so far this season and will be looking for a better Oxford result after a flat tire in the April event. Emily Packard charged from 20th to 4th in her first visit to Oxford and aims to be even stronger the second time around. Former Oxford Late Model Champion Jeff White is looking for his second ACT Tour win at the speedway.
The ACT Tour Oxford Plains 150 will be held on Saturday, June 27 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, ME. Pits open at 2:00pm, practice begins at 3:30pm, and post time is 6:00pm. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and military members, and $10 for juniors ages 6-12.