Last August, Morrill’s Travis Benjamin had a great shot to join Dave Dion, Ralph Nason and Mike Rowe as the only three-time winners of the Oxford 250.
But Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, New Hampshire, took the lead with six laps remaining when Benjamin got hung up behind a lapped car and held off Benjamin for the win.
Benjamin began building momentum for this year’s 44th annual Oxford 250, which will be held on Aug. 27, by winning the Pro All-Stars Series Super Late Model 150-lapper at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday night.
It was his second straight PASS SLM North triumph and moved him atop the points standings.
“I was very comfortable out there. The car could run on the top or on the bottom. That’s the best car I’ve ever had for being able to run either groove there. I normally can run on the top but not on the bottom. That’s very encouraging for the 250,” Benjamin, 38, who won the 250 in 2013 and 2014, said.
“It also gave me a real good notebook for the 250 as far as the track conditions and stuff,” the former Belfast High School basketball standout said.
He will drive the same Petit Motorsports No. 7 Chevy in the 250 that he piloted Sunday night.
“We’re starting to peak right now,” added Benjamin, who is in his second season driving for Biddeford-based Petit Motorsports.
He said last year’s second place finish left him “even hungrier” to win the 250 this season.
“I led 169 laps last year,” Benjamin pointed out. “[Helliwell] pitted late [to get fresher tires] and that’s how he beat us. And there were a couple of cautions near the end of the race. If there weren’t any cautions, we would have won it.”
Winning the 250 is at the top of Benjamin’s wish list.
“I feel fortunate to have won it. It’s hard to win it. Everything has to go right starting with the draw [for heat race starting position],” Benjamin said. “So many little things could go wrong that would affect the whole weekend.”
There is one more PASS race before the 250, and that will be Friday at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire.
“We haven’t stopped all summer. It will be nice to have a little break between [the Lee race and the 250],” said Benjamin, who added that winning another Oxford 250 would be “sweet.”
“And I think we have as good a chance as anybody,” he said.
Theriault finishes eighth
Fort Kent’s Austin Theriault finished eighth at the ModSpace 150 ARCA race on Friday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
Justin Haley won the race.
Theriault, who drives for Ken Schrader Racing, continues to lead the standings by 110 points over Dalton Sargeant, who finished fifth at Pocono.
“It was a tough race at Pocono. We just couldn’t find what we needed to run up front. Not blinking an eye. We will move forward stronger,” Theriault, who finished ninth in an earlier race at Pocono in June, tweeted.
The next race will be the Winchester ARCA 200 at 2 p.m. Sunday over the half-mile oval at Winchester Speedway in Indiana.