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June 6, 2009 -- full story

Short goes long distance in Strictly; Adams won't be denied in LM thriller

OXFORD, Maine - Mike Short dominated the first 100-lap race of 2009 as convincingly as he aced the final long-distance test of 2008, cruising to victory in the Sunoco Race Fuels 100 for Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy Strictly Stocks at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Short led the final 71 laps of the event, winning an eight-lap sprint to the finish after the lone caution flag tightened the field. Short won six races in '08, including the September New England Dodge Dealers Little Guy 100. He is the fourth different Strictly feature winner to launch the current campaign.

Former division champion Jim Duguay was unofficially second in his first start of the season, with division point leader Zach Emerson third and the final car on the lead lap. Jeff Merrill and Larry Emerson rounded out the top five.

The post-race technical inspection was still in progress at press time.

In the co-main event, Travis Adams made a dramatic, three-wide charge from fifth to first in the final 10 laps to capture his second Oxford Networks Late Model win in the first three weeks.

Justin Karkos survived a wild Allen's Mini encounter for his second straight 30-lap victory. Darrell Moore led until surrendering the top spot to Karkos on a restart with nine circuits left.

David Childs held off his uncle Guy Childs to top a 26-car field in the Chimney Tech Outlaw feature. Childs has finished no worse than second in four starts this season.

Dottie Patria prevailed in the closest finish of the night, pulling even with Vanna Brackett in the final corner and winning the drag race to the finish line to swipe the 20-lap Allen's Ladies scramble. 


Short calmly picked his way through the field while Ben Krauter, Rick Spaulding and Jon Brill all led the early stages of the Strictly marathon.

The 1997 champion used the outside lane to take over from Brill on lap 27. Another former champ, Jim Duguay, surged into second shortly thereafter in his first start of the season.

Duguay caught Short in double-wide lapped traffic on several occasions. The assistance was short-lived each time, however, as Short snuck away by six to eight car lengths at the end of each exchange.

Even when Spaulding stalled on the backstretch to bring out the lone caution on lap 89, Short benefited from a buffer zone of two lapped cars between himself and Duguay on the restart.

With contact between third-place Skip Tripp and Ben Krauter further shaking up the field behind him, Short sped away after the resumption and became the fourth different Strictly winner to start the season.

"I didn't get any practice today, because (teammates David and Josh) Childs banged their cars up, and I went over there to help them out," Short said. "Hey, as much as me and Duguay have raced together, we've never been in victory lane together, all the shots we've had. We all battled hard there at the beginning."

Duguay, last seen at OPS in a Late Model three summers ago, overcame his own issues in practice to charge from 11th to second and win the Time Warner Cable Road Runner Turbo Challenge for passing the most cars from his starting position.

"What a fun race. I haven't been here for a while. I want to thank Todd Breton. We had to change the carburetor today. He had one out in the parking lot," Duguay said. "I have to thank Mike, because I stole his set-up. I had a great time."

Zach Emerson padded his division point lead in third, his fourth consecutive top-five finish to start the season. Jeff Merrill avoided the attrition that claimed Tripp, Brill and several other top-10 cars to claim fourth, with Larry Emerson fifth in a back-up car.


Ben Ashline skipped his graduation ceremony at Gardiner Area High School to go racing Saturday night. Adams only put a small damper on the party.

Ashline was six laps away from his first career win in the Oxford Networks Late Model division before Adams applied the exclamation point to a daring move that landed the four-time champion a late lead and his second win in three 40-lap starts this season.

Adams spent most of the race on the outside Shawn Martin and trapped behind a side-by-side battle for second between Don Wentworth and Travis Stearns. But Adams turned up the wick on lap 29 and made it three-wide for the runner-up position.

He was third by the end of lap 30 and second the next time around. Ashline’s rear-view mirror filled in a hurry as the #03E zeroed in and claimed the top spot with ease on lap 35.

Although his statement in victory lane contradicted the word of family members, Adams admitted that the repeat win did increase the likelihood that he will run every week to challenge for a fifth championship.

“My schedule for the year is we’ll be here every week as long as we run good. We’re still running good, so you’ll probably see us here next week,” said Adams, whose crew overhauled the exhaust system on his ride after a second-place finish last Saturday.

Ashline led multiple races last season but waited until the third race of his third season to snag the elusive Late Model trophy after more than 100 go-kart wins in his childhood.

His mother, Deborah, missed the trip to the race track in order to attend the graduation an hour away.

“This will be a night to remember, for sure,” Ashline said. “We were struggling earlier on. We got the car going a little better tonight.”

Wentworth turned the fastest individual lap of the race, but being boxed in by the equally quick Stearns prevented him from plotting a move against Ashline.

“I think we were holding up the rest of the field,” Wentworth said. “I wish he’d stayed there the rest of the night, because I’ll take it any way I can get it. The car’s getting better every week.”

Shawn Martin edged Stearns for fifth.


Caution flags split the Mini feature evenly into three segments, including a hard crash between Greg Watkins and "Wild" Bill Irving that scattered the finishing order on the final lap. All drivers climbed from their cars without serious injury.

Karkos used the second stoppage to get the better of Darrell Moore on a lap 20 restart and grab his second straight 30-lap Mini win. He easily could be 4-for-4: Karkos was disqualified for a body violation on opening day and surrendered the lead due to a flat tire the following week.

"That was a wreck-fest and a half. Holy smokes. The first five laps I was dodging wrecks and people," said Karkos, who narrowly steered clear of Jeff Moon's spinning car at the start-finish line on lap 6. "That was good, hard racing. We changed the whole set-up before the feature. We tried something new, and then we went back to last week's because it didn't work."

Irving led the first 10 laps before Moore out-powered him on the initial restart.

Driving the car that Karkos once owned and drove to a feature win, Moore used as much race track as possible with his #12 to hold back the eventual winner, to no avail.

"I hit Karkos toward the end of the race. I apologize for that. It was my fault," said Moore, last year's Lampron's Energy Rookie of the Year and championship runner-up.

"Rubbing's racing," Karkos said. "I probably would have done the same thing."

Jake Burns inherited third after a multi-car crash and subsequent penalties shook up the order on the final lap. 

Burns was fifth behind fellow rookies Jeff Beaule and Calvin Rose Jr. until they collided in the second turn.

"I was mostly just dodging messes," said the two-time Call of the Wild Sport Truck champion.

Reigning division champion Ashley Marshall recovered from two early spins to finish fourth ahead of Kevin Bishop.


Ten wins in 2008 might have been a mere warm-up act for Childs, who backed up two previous second-place finishes on weekends and Wednesday's season-opening Acceleration Series victory with another 20-lap Outlaw triumph.

His car heavily dented from a close encounter in practice, Childs needed only six laps -- with the help of an early red flag -- to flash from 14th to the lead.

"I've got to thank Mike Short. He's the one who does it all, man," Childs said. "We both (David and son Josh) got wrecked in practice. We went back and worked our butt off, and we put on a show for the fans."

Guy Childs' car recovered from a sputtering initial start to finish second. 

And Josh Childs even passed the entire field, including third-place Steve Brill, in his lapped car after bringing out the yellow flag and falling off the pace due to an early spin.

"It's really awesome that all three of us can get up here and run like that," Guy Childs said. "There's plenty of competition out there this year, I'll tell you."

Brill took home the third-place trophy in front of Kevin Lawrence and John Patria.

Dottie Patria's second straight Saturday win provided the photo finish moment of the evening.

Brackett, bidding for her second win in four nights, occupied the preferred inside lane in the closing laps. Patria patiently sat third until lap 15 before making her bid in the outside groove, getting past Cathy Manchester before her last-lap overhaul of Brackett.

"That was tough one. I didn't think I was going to get that one. I thought they both had me there," Patria said. "The car doesn't look so pretty anymore. We kind of wrecked it a little bit in practice last Wednesday. The guys in the pit put it back together and checked it over, and here we are."

A win would have given Brackett the all-time edge over Debbie Martin for most feature victories in the Acceleration Series era of the Ladies division. They remain tied at 22 checkered flags apiece.

Ten of those went to Brackett a year ago. 

"I just didn't want to hit (Patria)," Brackett said. "There's a little bit of damage there on the car from previous years."

The Wicked Good Vintage Race Cars also made their annual appearance at OPS, with Kenny Robinson of East Machias claiming the checkers.

Oxford's Acceleration Series next takes center stage Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (7) #56 Mike Short, Auburn, 100
2. (11) #44 Jim Duguay, Greene, 100
3. (8) #23 Zach Emerson, Sabattus, 100
4. (5) #00 Jeff Merrill, Turner, 99
5. (4) #24 Larry Emerson, Durham, 97
6. (2) #82 Ben Krauter, Raymond, 97
7. (9) #12 Skip Tripp, Poland, 94
8. (6) #63 Matt Williams, Brownfield, 92
9. (12) #88 Derek Farrington, Freeport, 90
10. (1) #36 Rick Spaulding, Lisbon, 83
11. (3) #77x Jon Brill, Bridgton, 67
12. (10) #81 B.J. Chapman, Bridgton, 27
DNS #777 Mike St. Germain, Auburn
DNS #42 Kim Tripp, Oxford
DNS #77 Perry Tucker, Sumner
Lap leaders: Krauter 1, Spaulding 2-6, Brill 7-26, Short 27-100.
Cautions: 1 (lap 89)
Time of race: 34:09
Margin of victory: 1.779 seconds
Fast lap: Jim Duguay, 18.330 seconds

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (13) #03E Travis Adams, Canton, 40
2. (3) #15 Ben Ashline, Pittston, 40
3. (7) #63 Don Wentworth, Otisfield, 40
4. (9) #94 Shawn Martin, Turner, 40
5. (4) #85 Travis Stearns, Auburn, 40
6. (14) #51 Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, 40
7. (8) #60 Tim Brackett, Buckfield, 40
8. (5) #72 Scott Robbins, Dixfield, 40
9. (16) #1 Billy Childs Jr., Leeds, 40
10. (6) #6 Tommy Ricker, Poland, 40
11. (2) #71 Gary Chiasson, Peru, 40
12. (20) #8 Gerald Parlin, South Paris, 40
13. (19) #4 Randy Sanborn, West Baldwin, 38
14. (18) #84 Matt Sanborn, West Baldwin, 36
15. (11) #26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston, 26
16. (17) #36 Ron Charpentier Jr., Wales, 5
17. (1) #27 Jason Larrabee, Raymond, 3
18. (10) #50 Jeff White, Winthrop, 3
19. (12) #25 Shawn Knight, South Paris, 3
20. (15) #12 Nick Brown, Bath, 3
Lap leaders: Larrabee 1-2, Ashline 3-34, Adams 35-40.
Cautions: 1 (lap 3)
Time of race: 17:25
Margin of victory: 1.649 seconds
Fast lap: Don Wentworth, 16.384 seconds

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (15) #51 Justin Karkos, Jay, 30
2. (10) #12 Darrell Moore, Mechanic Falls, 30
3. (9) #47 Jake Burns, Gray, 30
4. (12) #77 Ashley Marshall, Jay, 30
5. (5) #08 Kevin Bishop, South Paris, 30
6. (18) #97 Greg Aptt, Oxford, 30
7. (3) #6 Nathan Guptill, North Turner, 30
8. (11) #19 Shane Kaherl, Jay, 30
9. (4) #14 Matt Moore, South Paris, 30
10. (8) #31 Jeff Beaule, Lewiston, 30
11. (13) #8 Calvin Rose Jr., Turner, 30
12. (2) #74 Bill Irving, New Gloucester, 29
13. (7) #29 Greg Watkins, Bridgton, 29
14. (19) #18 Nik Coates, Lisbon, 29
15. (16) #16 Don Frechette, Turner, 29
16. (14) #25 Ken Daigle Jr. Lisbon, 29
17. (20) #10 Jimmy Childs, Leeds, 18
18. (6) #97 Jeff Moon, Gray, 17
19. (1) #35 Dale Brackett, Oxford, 16
20. (17) #33 Dan Morris, Lisbon, 12
DNS #55 Steve Barker, Jay
Lap leaders: Irving 1-10, D. Moore 11-20, Karkos 21-30.
Cautions: 2 (laps 10, 20)
Time of race: 23:15
Margin of victory: 1.415 seconds
Fast lap: Justin Karkos, 18.140 seconds

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (14) #5 David Childs, Oxford, 20
2. (5) #00 Guy Childs, Turner, 20
3. (10) #53 Steve Brill, Bridgton, 20
4. (8) #24 Kevin Lawrence, South Paris, 20
5. (15) #34 John Patria, Turner, 20
6. (11) #19 Steve Moon, Gray, 20
7. (25) #36 Ryan Robbins, Dixfield, 20
8. (20) #84 Doug Degroat, Oxford, 20
9. (18) #39 Ron Abbott Jr., Sabattus, 20
10. (12) #04 Zach Bowie, Lisbon, 20
11. (2) #10 Scott Ellis, Lewiston, 20
12. (9) #99 Jerry Goss, Mechanic Falls, 20
13. (4) #29 Charlie Webster, Auburn, 20
14. (23) #21 Todd Bisbee, South Paris, 20
15. (16) #03 Josh Childs, Oxford, 19
16. (22) #17 Jim Davis Jr., Sabattus, 19
17. (21) #69 Jay Wilkins, Gray, 18
18. (7) #67 Michael Haynes, Livermore Falls, 18
19. (19) #124 Randy Desmarais, Auburn, 18
20. (6) #35 John Spencer Jr., Farmington, 13
21. (1) #15 Zach Robitaille, Norway, 5
22. (13) #7B Chris Burgess, Sabattus, 4
23. (17) #25 Chris Coolidge, Norway, 4
24. (24) #14 Scott Hethcoat, Danville Junction, 4
25. (26) #40 Bob Morey, Lisbon, 4
DQ (3) #38 Addison Bowie, Auburn
DNS #3 Tom Averill, Peru
DNS #2 Mark Childs Jr., Mechanic Falls
Lap leaders: Ellis 1-2, Lawrence 3-5, D. Childs 6-20.
Cautions: 2 (laps 6, 13)
Red flags: 1 (lap 1)
Time of race: 26:03

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completes
1. (6) #34 Dottie Patria, Turner, 20
2. (4) #23 Vanna Brackett, Buckfield, 20
3. (7) #69 Cathy Manchester, Gray, 20
4. (5) #15 Deanna Robertson, South Paris, 20
5. (2) #7B Tori Burgess, Sabattus, 19
6. (8) #26 Missy Morgan, Lewiston, 16
7. (9) #44 Annie Chartier, Mexico, 15
8. (1) #2 Kimberly Sessions, Auburn, 0
DQ (3) #92 Debbie Marston, Hartford
Lap leaders: Brackett 1-19, Patria 20.
Cautions: 1 (lap 0)
Time of race: 19:03



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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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