OXFORD, Maine — story by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Souza — Press Herald Maine photo — Before Sunday night’s green flag in the 41st annual Oxford 250, Travis Benjamin was quoted saying, “I couldn’t imagine we won one (250), two would be unreal.”
That quote stood out brightly late on Sunday night, when Benjamin was celebrating trackside after his second straight Oxford 250 victory.
The 35 year old Morrill, Maine driver took his AC New England sponsored #17 to the outside of leader Richie Dearborn with 23 laps remaining, assumed the point and never looked back en route to the win.
Austin Theriault, current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver for JR Motorsports was second, with Richie Dearborn finishing in the third spot.
“I tell you what, I just told my father I’m not going to work tomorrow morning,” Benjamin said in Victory Lane after sharing a story with the media that last year, his dad made him go to work at 7 am the morning following his victory.
Benjamin rolled from the grid way back in 27th spot after having to qualify through one of the three consi rounds that took place. He credited his stellar crew for adjustments made during his two pit stops during the race that helped him drive his way through a talented field of cars.
The class of the field other than Benjamin Sunday night was Austin Theriault. Austin collected more lap money then anyone else, leading over 105 laps and collecting over $10,000 in lap cash. Both Benjamin and Theriault put fresh tires on their rides on lap 184, then charged forward to pass over 15 cars each to get to the front.
Sunday night, Benjamin became the first back to back winner of the 250 since Eddie MacDonald did it in 2009 and 2010. He becomes the fifth driver in the race’s history to successfully defend his crown, following in the footsteps of Geoff Bodine, Ben Rowe, Roger Nason and Eddie MacDonald.
Third place finisher Richie Dearborn is still looking for his first career win in the big dance. He seemed to be in prime position this time, but having older rubber then the incoming Benjamin and Theriault put him at a disadvantage.
“I knew they were coming, it’s just their new tires took over and we did the best we could,” Deaborn said trackside.
Following Dearborn was defending PASS North Champion Cassius Clark in fourth and TJ Bracket in fifth. Tyler Dippel finished in sixth spot and extended his PASS National Championship points lead, with Derek Ranstrom, Ben Rowe, David Oliver and Shawn Martin rounding out the top 10.
The day saw six heat races at 20 laps each with 4 cars qualifying out of each into the big dance. Heats were followed by three consi rounds, with three cars making in it from each. Finally, the Last Chance race saw a DQ put another driver into the race. Multiple drivers gave everything they had but came up just short of making it in to the biggest spectacle in New England.
Travis Benjamin collected a grand total of $27,400 between lap money and the winners purse, and plans to be back to defend his crown and attempt to go a record three in a row next season.
Also picking up wins on 250 Sunday were Mark Lucas in the PASS Mods, Josh Childs in the Street Stocks, Kris Watson in the Super Series and Matthew Bourgoine in the Legend Cars.