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May 23, 2009 - full story

Adams posts emotional Late Model win;
Chapman, Marshall cop first-ever triumphs

OXFORD, Maine -
Four championships. Close to 30 wins. Status as arguably the driver of the decade at his home track.

Travis Adams had the presence of a father, friend, chief mechanic and biggest fan -- all rolled into one -- through all of it.

After Donnie Adams’ sudden death three months ago, one of the many uncertainties in the aftermath was how it would impact his only son’s approach to the hobby that had become ingrained in his family’s life.

He answered the question with authority Saturday night, and reminded us all that the patriarch’s impact lives on.

Adams out-dueled three fellow champions and two second-year drivers to win the season-opening Oxford Networks Late Model feature on Oxford Federal Credit Union night.

Five lead exchanges between Adams and Tim Brackett characterized an unforgettable 40-lap main event. Adams’ win effectively was sealed one lap after he used the outside lane to take the lead for good, when Ricky Rolfe and Tim Brackett tangled in their battle for the runner-up spot on lap 29.

Shawn Knight, Shawn Martin and Nick Brown surrounded Adams on the ensuing restart, but the Canton Variety #03E disappeared after the fourth and final resumption and prevailed by more than a second.

“Last week was my first time coming to the racetrack without my father,” Adams said. “He was here absolutely every week with me, and as many of you know he is absolutely here with me now. The crew has come through big-time for me this year as far as help, knowing that I’ve lost my head wrench-turner. The maintenance of this thing has to be performed by four, five or six of us, where my Dad used to take care of it all by himself.”

On the heels of his fourth-place finish in the New England Dodge Dealers ACT 150 last Sunday, Knight matched his career best with a runner-up trophy.

Knight never faded from the top five in the Central Maine Archery/Ralph Libby Chain Saws #25 after diving to the low side of Martin on lap 14.

“We’ve got a great crew. I have a lot more help than we’ve had in the past,” Knight said. “We had a good run last week, and another good run tonight. Hopefully we can just keep getting them and we can be there at the end.

Martin withstood a furious challenge from teenager Brown to take home third. The 2004 division champion put his years of experience to work and took the Bombardier/Oxford Networks #94 to the podium despite handling issues.

“The car was really good in the heat race. In the feature we just got way too loose. I had no bite off the corners. I got lucky over here,” Martin said. “Nick Brown did a heck of a job. He was right behind me and he could have run me over, but he raced us with a lot of respect. He was definitely faster than we were.”

Brown finished a career-best fourth, followed by Tommy Ricker.

Emotions ran high for a different reason in other feature action.

Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Strictly Stock veteran B.J. Chapman and Allen’s Mini Stock champion Ashley Marshall each posted their first-ever feature victory in those classes.

Family honor and bragging rights were recurring themes in the three Agren Appliance Saturday Showdown features for the Acceleration Series, as well.

Josh Childs drove away from his father, David, to win the Chimney Tech Outlaw ‘A’ sprint in only his second start since moving up for the four-cylinder Macdonald Motors Runnin’ Rebels.

The husband-wife team of John and Dottie Patria each went to victory lane. John captured the Outlaw ‘B’ checkers, while Dottie led every lap of the Allen’s Ladies scramble.

Heartbreak his been Chapman’s constant companion in approximately five years of Strictly competition. Chapman had led dozens of feature laps and walked away with second and third-place hardware plenty of times, but the son of four-time OPS Charger champion Blaine Chapman had ample reason to feel snake-bitten.

“I’ve had so many close ones,” he said. “Matt (Williams) got me once last year on the last lap.”

Saturday night started promisingly for Chapman when he won Best Appearing Car trophy for his division, but even that has a tendency to be as much of a jinx as the most likely to succeed designation in a high school yearbook.

There was a more concrete reason to smile when Chapman aced his 10-lap qualifying test. But with Mike Short, Matt Williams and Jeff Merrill surrounding him throughout the 30-lap main event, Chapman might have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It didn’t. Despite Short’s two late forays into the outside lane, the 1997 division champion and last summer’s six-time feature winner couldn’t complete the pass. The two drag raced out of the final corner to the finish line, where Chapman arrived just over three-hundredths of a second in front.

“It’s about time. This is a brand new car. We had issues last week and just got it finished up last night. It went great in practice,” Chapman said of the Chapman‘s Lawn and Yardworks/Snow’s Excavation #81. “I’m just super excited. Hopefully we can continue that trend.”

Short said he would have understood had Chapman elected to use more of the real estate around the 3/8-mile oval than he did to keep the All-Purpose Builders/Walker Racing #56 at bay.

I’d like to thank B.J. Chapman for sticking his ground right there,’ Short said. “He didn’t have to give it to me. I didn’t realize that was his first win.”
Williams made a calculated gamble with the set-up of his R.W. Plumbing #63 -- one he didn’t think would work -- and parlayed it into a third-place run. 

Opening-day winner Zach Emerson and 2008 champ Skip Tripp completed the top five.

Marshall isn’t the first driver to win a championship without celebrating a race victory, and there’s no reason for him to apologize for it. The driver of the Hartt Transportation/Bailey Brothers #77 showed remarkable consistency in only his third full season in 2008.

Still, it wasn’t hard to figure out Marshall’s primary goal in the new season. He wanted to win multiple races, and his rare struggles on opening day afforded him an ideal starting spot (third) for taking care of that elusive first victory.

Not that it was easy or even looked likely after lightning-fast Justin Karkos breezed by on lap 22. Karkos quickly accumulated a sizable lead that probably would have held up regardless of the mounting traffic.

When Karkos made slight contact with a lapped car in his haste to drive past him with five circuits remaining, however, it took less than half a lap for the consequence of a cut tire to set in.

Marshall reclaimed his lead at the start-finish line on lap 26 and warded off fast-closing rookie Calvin Rose Jr. for the breakthrough win.

“This is pretty sweet. I didn’t know if I was going to have anything for Justin or not,” Marshall said. “It looks like he made kind of a bonehead move and I got by him.”

Rookies and Acceleration Series graduates surrounded the champ on the podium. Two-time Call of the Wild Sport Truck champion Jake Burns chased Rose to the finish.

Rose looks like a cinch to win at least one race and perhaps even contend for the championship in the Evergreen Subaru/Roscoe’s Rockin’ Railroad Buffet #8 his family purchased from Bill Thibeault in the off-season.

“It was going to be close,” Rose said of the possibility he might have caught Marshall if given more time. “Ashley is a great driver.”

Two-time division champion Jimmy Childs and Shane Kaherl were fourth and fifth, respectively.

David Childs gave a subtle jab to his 18-year-old son, Josh, his own strong run in the Outlaw feature opening day while the second-generation struggled in his first try.

“Does he have a car left?” Childs asked then.

Apparently so. Josh Childs needed only three laps to wheel around early leader Jerry Freve. David drove from 14th to second in five laps, but it was Josh extending the lead for an impressive score.

“That was fun. The beginning of that race was a little bit of a scramble,” said Josh. “I saw my dad coming and I was a little worried, but I kept my line.”

Together, David and Josh won 18 features a year ago. Josh’s eight occurred in the Rebel ranks.

“This is one car I don’t mind seeing out front of me,” David said, pointing at the TB&M Computers/Countryside Auto Body #3C painted almost identically to his own Walker Racing #5.

Chris Burgess charged to third for the second straight week in the Mark’s Antiques/Madore Concrete #17, followed by Jerry Goss and Steve Moon.

John Patria initially thought he’d fallen one spot shy of his wife’s lofty status earlier in the evening. But John got a reprieve when apparent winner Chris Coolidge’s car failed the post-race inspection.

“I have to thank my wife especially for keeping me focused. It’s been a long, hard time coming,” Patria said of his win after mechanical issues kept the Michael Hemond Construction/Lemay‘s Auto Body #34 out of action a week earlier.

Guy Childs announced that he is running only a partial schedule this season, but the 30-year racing veteran promises to be as much as threat as ever after a second-place run from the back row of the starting grid. Gerry Richard, Addison Bowie and Shannon Judd followed.

Reigning Acceleration and Agren Showdown champion Dottie Patria took full advantage of her pre-race draw, leading all 20 laps from the pole in the Ladies opener.

“It’s fun to start up front for a change,” said Patria, who dedicated her victory in the Maine Tire Supply/Dad’s Place/M&M Flooring #34 to late, longtime OPS super fan Fred Leighton.

Deanna Robertson finished second only one day after her baby daughter turned a month old. Ten-time 2008 feature winner Vanna Brackett saw last year’s lengthy season-ending winning streak end with a third-place run. Debbie Marston and Christina Spaulding chased the leaders to the line.

OPS returns to action with one of its most eagerly anticipated events of the year. Saturday is 99.9 The Wolf Fan Appreciation Night. The program includes five divisions of racing, $5 adult and free junior admission, and dozens of giveaways. Qualifying begins at 6:30 p.m.

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (3) #03E Travis Adams, Canton, 40
2. (10) #25 Shawn Knight, South Paris, 40
3. (2) #94 Shawn Martin, Turner, 40
4. (7) #12 Nick Brown, Bath, 40
5. (13) #6 Tommy Ricker, Poland, 40
6. (9) #26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston, 40
7. (14) #85 Travis Stearns, Auburn, 40
8. (15) #72 Scott Robbins, Dixfield, 40
9. (17) #57 Doug Coombs, Livermore, 40
10. (4) #51 Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, 40
11. (11) #15 Ben Ashline, Pittston, 40
12. (6) #63 Don Wentworth, Otisfield, 40
13. (8) #50 Jeff White, Winthrop, 40
14. (1) #60 Tim Brackett, Buckfield, 40
15. (16) #71 Gary Chiasson, Peru, 40
16. (5) #84 Matt Sanborn, West Baldwin, 40
17. (1) #60 Scott Luce, Strong, 40
18. (18) #8 Gerald Parlin, South Paris, 39
19. (19) #4 Randy Sanborn, West Baldwin, 37
20. (20) #27 Jason Larrabee, Raymond, 2
DNS #44 Neil Martin, Freeport
Lap leaders: Brackett 1-10, Adams 11, Brackett 12-26, Adams 27, Brackett 28, Adams 29-40.
Cautions: 4 (laps 2, 10, 26, 28)
Time of race: 25 minutes, 23.111 seconds.
Margin of victory: 1.755 seconds
Fast lap: Shawn Martin, 16.111 seconds
Heat #1: 60-03-84-12-26-15-6-72-57-4
Heat #2: 94-51-63-50-25-07-85-71-8-27

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (1) #81 B.J. Chapman, Bridgton, 30
2. (6) #56 Mike Short, Auburn, 30
3. (5) #63 Matt Williams, Brownfield, 30
4. (10) #23 Zach Emerson, Sabattus, 30
5. (4) #12 Skip Tripp, Poland, 30
6. (3) #00 Jeff Merrill, Mexico, 30
7. (7) #42 Kim Tripp, Oxford, 30
8. (8) #24 Larry Emerson, Durham, 30
9. (14) #77 Jon Brill, Bridgton, 30
10. (11) #82 Ben Krauter, Raymond, 30
11. (12) #36 Rick Spaulding, Lisbon, 29
12. (13) #7 Keith Stuart, Naples, 25
13. (9) #84 Kenny Harrison, Pownal, 22
14. (2) #55 Kurt Hewins, Leeds, 14
15. (15) #88 Derek Farrington, Freeport, 4
16. (16) #777 Mike St. Germain, Auburn, 2
Lap leaders: Chapman 1-30.
Cautions: 1 (lap 12)
Time of race: 11 minutes, 42.119 seconds
Margin of victory: 0.034 seconds
Fast lap: Skip Tripp, 18.540 seconds
Heat #1: 81-55-36-77-7-82-777-88
Heat #2: 00-63-12-56-23-42-84-24

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (3) #77 Ashley Marshall, Jay, 30
2. (14) #8 Calvin Rose Jr., Turner, 30
3. (12) #47 Jake Burns, Gray, 30
4. (9) #10 Jimmy Childs, Leeds, 30
5. (7) #19 Shane Kaherl, Jay, 30
6. (10) #16 Larry Melcher, Livermore Falls, 30
7. (5) #29 Greg Watkins, Bridgton, 30
8. (13) #31 Jeff Beaule, Lewiston, 30
9. (17) #74 Bill Irving, New Gloucester, 30
10. (1) #14 Matt Moore, South Paris, 30
11. (4) #08 Kevin Bishop, South Paris, 30
12. (8) #12 Darrell Moore, Mechanic Falls, 30
13. (6) #55 Steve Barker, Jay, 30
14. (2) #6 Nathan Guptill, North Turner, 29
15. (16) #18 Nik Coates, Lisbon, 29
16. (11) #97 Jeff Moon, Gray, 29
17. (15) #51 Justin Karkos, Jay, 26
18. (18) #5 Jeff Prindall, Lisbon, 25
19. (19) #35 Dale Brackett, Oxford, 6
DNS #9 Bob Guptill, Mechanic Falls
DNS #33 Dan Morris, Lisbon
Lap leaders: Moore 1-2, Marshall 3-21, Karkos 22-25, Marshall 26-30.
Cautions: 1 (lap 13)
Time of race: 15 minutes, 2.737 seconds
Margin of victory: 0.453 seconds
Fast lap: Justin Karkos, 18.101 seconds
Heat #1: 8-14-47-97-74-18-6-31-5
Heat #2: 77-19-51-29-10-16-12-55-08-35

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (5) #3C Josh Childs, Oxford, 20
2. (14) #5 David Childs, Oxford, 20
3. (13) #7B Chris Burgess, Sabattus, 20
4. (8) #99 Jerry Goss, Mechanic Falls, 20
5. (10) #19 Steve Moon, Gray, 20
6. (15) #04 Zach Bowie, Lisbon, 20
7. (9) #67 Michael Haynes, Livermore Falls, 20
8. (12) #53 Steve Brill, Bridgton, 20
9. (11) #24 Kevin Lawrence, South Paris, 20
10. (7) #33 Tyler Belanger, Sumner, 20
11. (6) #139 Jerry Freve, Buckfield, 20
12. (3) #3 Tom Averill, Peru, 20
13. (4) #35 John Spencer, Auburn, 20
14. (1) #21 Phil Knowlton, Poland, 19
15. (2) #51 Randy Robitaille, Norway, 19
16. (16) #40 Bob Morey, Lisbon, 3
Lap leaders: Freve 1-2, J. Childs 3-20.
Cautions: None
Time of race: 6 minutes, 26 seconds

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (1) #34 John Patria, Turner, 20
2. (15) #00 Guy Childs, Turner, 20
3. (9) #57 Gerry Richard, Leeds, 20
4. (8) #38 Addison Bowie, Auburn, 20
5. (13) #97 Shannon Judd, Jay, 20
6. (11) #10 Scott Ellis, Lewiston, 20
7. (6) #54 Jonathan Baldwin, Auburn, 20
8. (10) #15 Zach Robitaille, Norway, 20
9. (3) #49 Robert Lowe, Auburn, 20
10. (4) #124 Charlie Webster, Auburn, 20
11. (14) #13 Mike Blash, Norway, 20
12. (12) #06 Matt Weeks, Greene, 19
13. (16) #2 Kimberly Sessions, Auburn, 18
14. (7) #59 Jason Small, Poland, 15
15. (5) #112 Dennis Morang, South Paris, 14
DQ #25 Chris Coolidge, Norway
DNS #239 Clint Sherwood, Poland
Lap leaders: J. Patria 1-20.
Cautions: None
Time of race: 6 minutes, 30 seconds

Fin. (Start) No., Driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (1) #34 Dottie Patria, Turner, 20
2. (2) #51 Deanna Robertson, South Paris, 20
3. (3) #23 Vanna Brackett, Buckfield, 20
4. (5) #92 Debbie Marston, Hartford, 20
5. (8) #21 Christina Spaulding, Lewiston, 20
6. (4) #28 Sue Veinott, Sabattus, 20
7. (6) #128 Lisa Brooks, Auburn, 19
8. (8) #7B Tori Burgess, Sabattus, 19
9. (9) #26 Missy Morgan, Lewiston, 4
DNS #44 Annie Chartier, Mexico
Lap leaders: D. Patria 1-20.
Cautions: 1 (lap 4)
Time of race: 11 minutes, 8 seconds




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Oxford Networks
Late Model

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Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy
Strictly and Mini Stock

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