Location: Oxford, ME
Track: 3/8-mile semi-banked oval
# of ACT Races Held: 77
ACT Pro Stock Tour/NASCAR North – 44
ACT Late Model Tour – 31
ACT Sunoco Regional Series, Region 1 – 2
ACT Pro Stock Tour/NASCAR North – Robbie Crouch, 9
ACT Late Model Tour – Eddie MacDonald, 5
ACT Sunoco Regional Series – Ralph Nason/Mike Rowe, 1
A Brief History of Oxford Plains Speedway
The story of Oxford Plains Speedway begins in April 1950, when George Damon bought 200 acres of flat, lightly wooded land in the town of Oxford. Six weeks later – thanks in large part to the work of engineer Harold Small – the most modern racing facility in Maine hosted its first event, with “Hutch” Hutchins winning the first feature. But it wasn’t on the track we know today. In fact, the original Oxford Plains Speedway was a ½-mile dirt track. It continued to host events on this configuration throughout the 1950s, drawing a then state-record 12,000 fans on May 27, 1950 for their Memorial Day race.
Damon sold the track to local businessmen Hayward Luck, Asa Packard, and Thomas Ryan in 1961, who immediately went to work transforming the track into a 1/3-mile asphalt oval with short straights and sweeping turns. Three years later, Bob Bahre purchased Oxford. It was under his stewardship that the track truly rose to national prominence. He brought in the state’s first NASCAR Modified Tour event in 1965, replaced the original wood grandstands with modern steel seating the same year, oversaw the construction of an NHRA drag strip in 1969, and even hosted multiple NASCAR Grand National (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) events. But it was the first annual Oxford 200 on July 14, 1974 (won by Joey Kourafas) that would be his most lasting success. The event was extended to 250 laps the following year, and the Oxford 250 has since become one of the biggest short track racing events in North America.
After 23 years, entrepreneur Michael Liberty bought the track in 1987, and a 1992 repaving widened the backstretch to give Oxford its current 3/8-mile layout. But after a rough mid-1990s stretch – which eventually led to multiple lawsuits – Liberty sold the track to Bill Ryan in 1999. Ryan continued to operate the speedway throughout the 2000s, hosting ACT, the Pro All Stars Series (PASS), the International Super Modified Association, and other regional touring series in addition to weekly racing.
In 2012, PASS owner Tom Mayberry purchased the track. Mayberry continues to own the track to this day. Their schedule includes the Saturday night Oxford Championship Series, the Wednesday night Oxford Acceleration Series, Motor Mayhem events, and of course the annual Oxford 250, which is now run on the final Sunday in August. As the unofficial “home track” for PASS, they host several other PASS events each season.
Random Track Fact: Mike Rowe has 152 features at Oxford Plains Speedway. His first win came in the Charger division on May 31, 1969. His most recent came on August 17, 2018 in the Super Late Model Feature – more than 49 years later.
ACT at Oxford Plains Speedway
The history of ACT at Oxford Plains Speedway is a checkered one – but in the end, it seems like ACT always comes back. The NASCAR North Tour made its debut at Oxford on April 27, 1980, and the same year, the track’s signature Oxford 250 was given the NASCAR North sanction. (Future NASCAR Cup start Geoffrey Bodine would win the event that year and again in 1981.) NASCAR North would make several stops a year at Oxford in the coming years – including a whopping 8 in 1983 – with the events also being part of the track’s Open Competition Series that encouraged anyone and everyone to take on the touring stars.
The arrangement continued for the first year of ACT in 1986, but when NASCAR created the rival Busch North Series (now K&N Pro Series East) in 1987, Oxford went with NASCAR. ACT would not return to the facility until September 1992. The following year, though, Oxford was ACT country. The Oxford 250 became an ACT event, and the track held 10 ACT Pro Stock Tour events from 1993 to 1995 – along with two Sunoco Regional Series events in 1994 and four ACT Late Model Sportsman Series events in 1995. The ACT staff even managed Oxford for two years.
But the Pro Stock Tour dissolved after the 1995 season, leading to another hiatus. After Bill Ryan assumed ownership of Oxford, The ACT Late Model Tour finally made its debut at the track in 2001, making multiple stops each year for the rest of the decade. The Oxford 250 was also sanctioned by ACT from 2007 to 2012, and the track’s top weekly division ran ACT Late Model rules during this time.
When Tom Mayberry bought the track following 2012 and made the Super Late Models the top division (and the Oxford 250 division again), it created a major rift between Oxford and ACT. But Mayberry and Curley sat down after the 2014 season to work out their differences, and since then, ACT has been back at Oxford. Three out of the last for seasons have seen two ACT events held at the track, bringing the total to 77 – more than any other track except Thunder Road.
Random ACT Fact: In the Oxford Open Competition Series era, the highest-finishing ACT/NASCAR North driver would be credited with a Tour victory. Thus, 17 of the 33 Tour “winners” at Oxford during this period didn’t actually cross the finish line first.
ACT’s Future at Oxford Plains Speedway
Just as in 2018, ACT will have two events at Oxford in 2019 – the season opener on April 14 and an event at Oxford 250 weekend on August 24. Tom Mayberry’s PASS North Series will also make two visits each to Thunder Road and White Mountain Motorsports Park, tracks also operated by ACT owners Cris Michaud and Pat Malone. This mutually beneficial relationship will also benefit fans of Late Model racing in Maine, as Oxford is the only track in the state on the ACT schedule at the present time.