Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – BARRE, VT – The American-Canadian Tour and Oxford Plains Speedway continue to hold one of the longest lasting partnerships in New England stock car racing. Sunday, July 9th builds on a forty-four-year relationship the touring series has had with the venerable Maine oval with the name itself honoring that long journey.
The first Pine Tree State event was coincidentally the first American-Canadian Tour event held on the 1/3-mile oval way back in April of 1980. The first of a series of doubleheader events between the ACT Tour and the fan-favorite Oxford Open Competition Series throughout the 1980s, the original Pine Tree State event was taken by none-other than the Maine State Legend and reigning King of Oxford Plains, Mike Rowe.
Now, 44 years later, Rowe will no doubt be on the track, looking for Oxford Plains Speedway win #153 with the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models in their 150-lap feature event also held on Sunday.
Derek Gluchacki may be the driver most looking forward to the annual ACT visit to Oxford. The North Dartmouth, Massachusetts pilot has never once finished outside the top-10 in his seven visits to the Route 26 Speedway, including a big win on Oxford 250 weekend last season and two other podium finishes. After hard-luck at Lee USA Speedway in May, Gluchacki needs the strong finish to return to championship contention.
Speaking of, point leader and defending champion D.J. Shaw is also looking for his strongest run of the season on Sunday. Both D.J. and the whole Shaw Family have always called Oxford Plains Speedway home, but the defending champ has yet to take an ACT win at the track. Three podium trophies over the last three years have only sparked his drive with the Pine Tree State 125 in his crosshairs.
After winning at Quebec’s Autodrome Chaudiere just two weeks ago, Jimmy Renfrew Jr. looks to ride the wave into Oxford while former track champion Gabe Brown is looking for his first American-Canadian Tour win at his home track. Fellow top-10 championship chasers Jason Corliss, Erick Sands and Jonathan Bouvrette are looking to their notebooks for any adjustments to find themselves in victory lane while the ultra-competitive Rookie of the Year battle between Andrew Molleur, Tanner Woodard and Bryan Wall Jr. steams headlong into Oxford.
Alongside the usual suspects are a strong charge of invaders led by Groveton, New Hampshire’s Shawn Swallow. Swallow and other New Hampshire North Country racers have found a home away from home at Oxford over the years and generally contend well against the touring racers. Former ACT Rookie of the Year Dylan Payea returns to competition alongside new teammate Davey Riendeau with Jesse Switser and Jeff Labrecque Jr. joining in as well. A surprise entry from longtime Oxford racer Shane Kaherl was also received at the Barre, Vermont offices.
The American-Canadian Tour returns to action at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway for the Pine Tree State 125 on Sunday, July 9th. Alongside the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and the Kennebec Equipment PASS Modifieds, the ACT Pine Tree State 125 will be the first of two races for the historic touring series on the tricky third-mile oval in 2023.