Rowley, MA’s Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald controlled the second half of the Oxford Plains 150 on Saturday, August 25 to grab his second American-Canadian Tour (ACT) win of the season. MacDonald took the lead from polesitter Evan Hallstrom of Northfield, VT on lap 52 and held off multiple challenges from Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert to score the ACT season sweep at Oxford Plains Speedway.
MacDonald started 11th on the grid and steadily worked his way through the field, getting to the top spot barely a third of the way into the event. The result broke a tie with Joey Polewarcyk Jr. to give MacDonald the most ACT Late Model Tour wins at Oxford.
After outside polesitter Rich Dubeau poked his bumper out front for the first two circuits, it was Hallstrom who set the early pace. Hallstrom led a 3-car breakaway with Dubeau and Chip Grenier until the first caution came out on lap 33 for Dylan Payea’s spin.
Dylan’s misfortune allowed cousin Scott Payea to enter the mix. Hallstrom was able to pull away some as Grenier, Payea, MacDonald, and Hebert began dicing for second. But the complexion of the race changed completely on lap 51 when Grenier and Payea got together entering turn 3. The contact sent Grenier spinning, and the point leader was sent to the rear of the field for his involvement.
The restart saw MacDonald line up alongside Hallstrom. MacDonald put his nose up when the green flag flew and was able to clear Hallstrom after several laps of side-by-side action. Hebert eventually got around Hallstrom as well on lap 76 and set his sights on MacDonald. While Hebert was able to chase MacDonald down in lapped traffic and even look inside him at one point, MacDonald pulled back away once he got clear.
As the leaders were yo-yoing back and forth, Payea was roaring back through the field. He broke back into the top-5 for the first time on lap 83 and, with the aid of two quick cautions on laps 96 and 97, was able to reel in Hallstrom. Payea was inside him for third on lap 126 when the two approached the lapped car of Corey Mason.
The duo attempted to got 3-wide around Mason as they battle. But Payea and Mason made contact, and both cars spun, putting Payea to the rear for the second time. On the restart, Peyton Lanphear spun near the front of the field, igniting a 7-car pile-up that also collected Jimmy Linardy, Ryan Morgan, Christopher Pelkey, Claude Leclerc, Jason Larivee Jr., and Bryan Mason.
The wreck brought out the sixth and final caution for a lengthy clean-up. On the restart, just like on the three prior, MacDonald was able to handle Hebert. Hallstrom got up to challenge Hebert for the runner-up spot in the final laps, allow MacDonald to draw away for the victory.
Hebert held off Hallstrom for second, leaving him one position short of a three-peat. Hallstrom’s 3rd-place effort was by far the best of his young ACT career. Londonderry, NH’s Max Dolliver finished fourth in his first ever trip to Oxford. Rowland Robinson Jr. came from 18th on the starting grid to finish fifth. Dubeau, Shawn Swallow, Mike Ziter, Morgan, and Payea rounded out the top-10.
Unofficially, MacDonald’s win moves him up to second in the point standings, cutting his deficit behind Payea to 25 points. Hebert unofficially now sits 25 points back with two point-counting events remaining.
The ACT Late Model Tour heads to Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on Sunday, September 2 for the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic. The finale of the Summer Showdown Series will see $5,000 awarded to the winner of the 200-lap event. Thunder Road’s Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Flying Tigers, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors will also be in action along with the New England Dwarf Cars. Post time is 1:00pm. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under.
OXFORD PLAINS 150
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 11 ) Eddie MacDonald ( 17MA ) , Rowley, MA , 150 Laps
2. ( 10 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 150 Laps
3. ( 1 ) #Evan Hallstrom ( 1VT ) , Northfield, VT , 150 Laps
4. ( 6 ) Max Dolliver ( 0NH ) , Londonderry, NH , 150 Laps
5. ( 18 ) Rowland Robinson Jr. ( 28ME ) , Steuben, ME , 150 Laps
6. ( 2 ) Rich Dubeau ( 30NH ) , Lebanon, NH , 150 Laps
7. ( 3 ) Shawn Swallow ( 04NH ) , Lancaster, NH , 150 Laps
8. ( 21 ) Mike Ziter ( 54VT ) , Barre, VT , 150 Laps
9. ( 7 ) Ryan Morgan ( 3CT ) , Gales Ferry, CT , 150 Laps
10. ( 12 ) Scott Payea ( 37VT ) , Colchester, VT , 150 Laps
11. ( 15 ) #Dylan Payea ( 7NH ) , Milton, VT , 150 Laps
12. ( 4 ) #Christopher Pelkey ( 41VT ) , South Barre, VT , 150 Laps
13. ( 9 ) Brian Tagg ( 9MA ) , Oxford, MA , 149 Laps
14. ( 25 ) Craig Weinstein ( 02MA ) , E. Walpole, MA , 149 Laps
15. ( 19 ) Matt Anderson ( 49NH ) , Franklin, NH , 147 Laps
16. ( 14 ) Bryan Mason ( 10NH ) , Stark, NH , 147 Laps
17. ( 24 ) #Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Duxbury, VT , 145 Laps
18. ( 23 ) Jason Larivee Jr. ( 70RI ) , West Greenwich, RI , 145 Laps
19. ( 13 ) Claude Leclerc ( 11QC ) , Lanoraie, QC , 125 Laps
20. ( 20 ) #Peyton Lanphear ( 22VT ) , Duxbury, VT , 124 Laps
21. ( 16 ) Corey Mason ( 1NH ) , Groveton, NH , 122 Laps
22. ( 17 ) James Linardy ( 77MA ) , Somerville, MA , 122 Laps
23. ( 22 ) Russ Clark ( 55NH ) , Littleton, NH , 96 Laps
24. ( 5 ) Chip Grenier ( 9VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 66 Laps
Lap Leaders: Evan Hallstrom pole, Rich Dubeau 1-2, Hallstrom 3-51, Eddie MacDonald 52-150. (3 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Time of Race: 1:23:11 Margin of Victory: 1.286 seconds
Cautions: 6 (laps 33, 51, 96, 97, 126, 126)
Heat Winners: Jimmy Hebert, Scott Payea, Chip Grenier
Consi Winner: Christopher Pelkey