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June 14, 2008 (full story)

Moore wins career first, Rolfe takes second straight on wild night at OPS

OXFORD, Maine - Darrell Moore turned his first lap around Oxford Plains Speedway less than a year ago. It didn't take him long to look as comfortable behind the wheel as a kid playing a video game. 

The Oxford Championship Series rookie made his first win a special one Saturday night, capturing the Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy 100 for the Mini Stock division. 

Moore’s win punctuated a wild race on a wild night. Friday the 13th seemed to arrive a day late, with multi-car incidents slowing all five features and unforeseen, unprecedented circumstances providing an unusual backdrop off the track, as well. 

A power surge between the Acceleration Series and Championship Series features knocked out the speedway’s public address system, scoreboard and electronic scoring for the final three events. 

Nobody needed a transponder or a lap counter to see how fast Ricky Rolfe was traveling. Rolfe took the lead in the Oxford Networks Late Model feature even before seeing the crossed flags from chief starter Kenny Tripp at the halfway mark, cruising to his second straight 40-lap victory. 

Larry Emerson joined Skip Tripp as a repeat winner in the Allen’s Coffee Flavored Strictly Stock ranks, holding Tripp and Matt Williams at bay over the second half of the 30-lap encounter. 

Jake Burns (Call of the Wild RV Sport Truck) and Troy Jordan (Macdonald Motors Runnin' Rebel) prevailed in Acceleration Series competition. 

Timing was everything for impressive rookie 

Moore took the lead for good on lap 83 from Bill Childs Sr. -- one of Oxford's most enduring veterans and the man who sold him the car he drove to victory. 

That outside pass came after at least a dozen laps of side-by-side racing, with the two leaders running virtually door-to-door but never making contact. Moore forged ahead briefly twice during that stretch. Remarkably, his final surge was the 11th lead change of the race.

"I didn't think I had enough to get by him," said Moore, who made his debut with a handful of four-cylinder races in Oxford's Acceleration Series on Wednesday nights last summer. 

"I just had to keep working and try to find the best groove for the car." 

Rookies aren't always known for their patience, but it was Moore who kept his cool while others charged to the front but fell by the wayside due to spins or mechanical maladies. 

Brad Dwinal, Shane Kaherl and Justin Karkos all led the race before Childs. It was Karkos' charge from the rear of the field in only his second OPS start of the season that prompted Moore to finally break out of the pack. 

“It was kind of hard because you couldn’t see how many laps were left, and I was trying to pace myself the best I could,” Moore said. “I saw Karkos was going pretty good, and I didn’t want him to get too far ahead of me.” 

Karkos fell from the lead pack due to a distributor problem. In another twist of fate, Karkos won a 100-lap race last season in Moore's #12 before dealing it to Childs. 

Childs was content with his runner-up finish after a hard crash into the front stretch retaining wall last week. 

"That was the best that I had,“ Childs said. “That was a good, clean race, though. He had way more power than me. I know what’s in it.” 

Rick Giguere (third) and Greg Watkins (fourth) failed the post-race technical inspection, vaulting Don Frechette to third in his first start of the season. Bill Thibeault moved up to fourth, while Chuck “Spanky” Higgins finishing a career-best in only his third Mini Stock start. 

Moore moved into the division point lead for the second time this season, taking advantage of both his own victory and problems that befell brothers Don and Dave Mooney throughout the night. Don, a three-time feature winner this season, dropped out with problems underneath the hood after charging into the top three shortly after the drop of the green flag. Dave crashed out of both his heat and the main event. 

Moore joined his father, Andy, as an OPS feature winner. Andy Moore scored his three victories in a 14-day span of 1982 in the old Street Stock division. 

'Better' was best by a bunch in Late Model 

Someday, poor Ricky Rolfe will discover the perfect race car, and he’ll hope he’s the one behind the wheel. 

“We weren’t good last week, even though we won, and we were way better this week,” Rolfe said. 

After three sluggish, combustible attempts to get the Late Model finale underway, the final 37 laps ran without a stoppage. That was bad news for the competition, because as anyone who has watched Rolfe’s performance in American-Canadian Tour events at his home track over the years would know, few drivers are better at setting up their ride for the long run. 

Rolfe was seventh when the 25-car field finally put two consecutive green flag laps into the books at lap 5. He stayed in that spot for seven more circuits before a jaw-dropping drive to the head of the class. Shawn Martin and Travis Stearns fell into Rolfe’s clutch on lap 13. 

Tommy Ricker was next, and brief contact between Dennis Spencer Jr. and Corey Morgan moved Rolfe into third on lap 14. Morgan surrendered the runner-up role two laps later, and next time around Rolfe waved goodbye to early leader Kurt Hewins and everyone else. 

“I was just waiting for the tires to get hot enough to pull out,” Rolfe said of his strategy. “I didn’t think I was that far ahead. (The crew wasn’t) telling me how far ahead I was.” 

Hewins, who settled for a distant second after running a strong third last Saturday, could have filled in the details. 

“He’s got something,” Hewins said, shaking his head. “I don’t think that car’s going to get much better.” 

Other than Rolfe, the happiest team in the pit was the dual operation of car owners Conrad and Kerrie Childs. Following Hewins’ #96 across the stripe was teammate Spencer in the #95. Spencer, who owns two OPS Late Model championships and four division titles in all, returned to the podium in only his third Oxford start since a top-five run in last summer’s TD Banknorth 250. 

His run marked a full recovery from a hard impact with the front stretch wall two weeks ago, a trip that essentially destroyed the rear clip of his machine. 

“I thought we were headed back there tonight. I got a little boot there. That was a little scary,” Spencer said. “At the beginning of the race I couldn’t run the outside. At the end of the race, I couldn’t run the bottom. 

“We just have a little fine-tuning to do,” he added. “The car’s pretty good. We’ve been playing with it, trying to get it ready for the 250.” 

The partnership with the Childs family and Spencer is a win-win for Hewins, a former Limited Sportsman champion who has mostly campaigned a Strictly Stock since his lone Late Model feature win in 2005. 

“Dennis pretty much turns all the wrenches. They’re both good cars,” Hewins said. 

Shawn Martin applied late pressure to Spencer before settling for fourth. Billy Childs Jr. snuck underneath point leader Travis Adams late in the race to claim fifth. 

It's junkyard now for Emerson, later for others 

Emerson was a huge exception to the Strictly Stock rule Saturday night. He got his difficulty out of the way before the sun went down. 

“I cut some tires down in practice and one in the heat,” said the only three-time champion in the history of the division, adding with a laugh, “Junkyard tires are the way to go.” 

Many of his rivals will be raiding the junkyard or the parts trailer after a 30-lap rumble that saw half the field sidelined at the finish. 

Williams led early before multiple cautions and clever moves in traffic gave Emerson an opportunity to snag the top spot. Emerson was the only driver in the lead pack to escape the mayhem when Williams, Tommy Tompkins and Mike Short collided with one another and brushed the concrete on a lap 14 restart. 

“I saw what coming on and I just steered clear of it and went to the inside,” Emerson said. “That was a tough race.” 

Point leader Skip Tripp and a resurgent Williams were able to latch onto Emerson during a four-lap shootout at the finish, but neither had the power or precision to deny Emerson his second win of the season and 38th at OPS in six different divisions. Seven, counting Enduro competition.

|“We found our problem,” said Tripp, who has faced his share of adversity since winning back-to-back features to start the month of May. “The sway bar went to (crap). I had nothing for him tonight. Next week I will.”

Glen Henderson and Rick Thompson rode out the carnage and soldiered on to fourth and fifth, respectively, the final cars on the lead lap. 

Henderson was close enough to give Williams some anxious moments at the end. 

“I was just trying to stay with (Tripp) so Henderson couldn’t get under me,” said the opening-night feature winner. 

Burns, Jordan miss the messes 

First-lap cautions jumbled the order of both Acceleration Series features. 

A four-truck pileup on the backstretch provided the lone restart of the Truck tangle. 

Not that extra ones would have made any difference. Ryan Farrar made several approaches in Burns’ rearview mirror. He couldn’t get closer than the tailgate, though, as Burns extended his season-opening hit streak to 3-for-3 in Agren Appliance Saturday Showdown competition.

“I have some work to do on it now,” said Burns, a reference to an apparent overheating issue and a warning that shouldn’t be welcome news for the rest of the field. 

Farrar showed promise with his best run of the season in second. Earlier in the week, Farrar announced that he is considering a Mini Stock rookie challenge in 2009. 

Burns dedicated his win to another Mini racer, teammate and former Truck champion “Wild” Bill Irving, who continues his fight with cancer. 

Rookie Ross Spurling nailed down third in front of John Lizotte and first-time competitor Dennis Brine, another member of the extended Farrar family. 

Kyle Hewins led the first six laps of the Rebel ruckus before a run-in with a slower car gave Jordan all the room and momentum he needed to speed past. Jordan extended his advantage over the remaining laps to secure his seventh career win. 

Hewins held off Scott Farrington for second. Doug Degroat took over the Agren series lead with a solid fourth, followed by James Wood. 

OPS racing resumes with third round of the 2008 Acceleration Series on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The American-Canadian Tour Dunkin’ Donuts 150 headlines the next Championship Series card Saturday at 6:30 p.m..

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed

1. (12) #12 Darrell Moore, Mechanic Falls, 100 
2. (8) #10 Bill Childs Sr., Leeds, 100 
3. (16) #16 Don Frechette, Turner, 99 
4. (22) #8 Bill Thibeault, Oxford, 99 
5. (15) #22 Chuck Higgins, Wales, 98 
6. (3) #40 Curtis Fanjoy, Oxford, 98 
7. (10) #77 Ashley Marshall, Jay, 97 
8. (9) #08 Kevin Bishop, South Paris, 95 
9. (18) #88 Dale Durgin, Norway, 90 
10. (14) #1 Justin Karkos, Jay, 89 
11. (2) #25 Ken Daigle Jr., Lisbon, 85 
12. (5) #19 Shane Kaherl, Jay, 67 
13. (7) #9 Bob Guptill, Mechanic Falls, 55 
14. (17) #2 Butch Keene, Turner, 45 
15. (13) #80 Don Mooney, New Gloucester, 34 
16. (11) #65 Dave Mooney, Wales, 26 
17. (1) #91 Brad Dwinal, Freeport, 20 
18. (6) #28 Craig Moore, Woodstock, 12 
19. (21) #14 Matt Moore, South Paris, 4 
20. (19) #48 Wayne Titus, Minot, 4 
DQ (4) #21 Rick Giguere, Auburn 
DQ (20) #29 Greg Watkins, Bridgton 
Lap leaders: Dwinal 1-11, Kaherl 12-40, Childs 41-50, Karkos 51-57, Childs 58, Karkos 59, Childs 60-73, D. Moore 74-75, Childs 76-78, D. Moore 79, Childs 80-82, D. Moore 83-100. 
Cautions: 5 (laps 24, 29, 39, 51, 65) 

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed 

1. (18) #51 Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, 40 
2. (9) #96 Kurt Hewins, Leeds, 40 
3. (6) #95 Dennis Spencer Jr., Norway, 40 
4. (17) #94 Shawn Martin, Turner, 40 
5. (18) #1 Billy Childs Jr., Leeds, 40 
6. (19) #03 Travis Adams, Canton, 40 
7. (15) #18 Carey Martin, Denmark, 40 
8. (21) #73 Joey Doiron, Berwick, 40 
9. (22) #24 Roger Brown, Lancaster, N.H., 40 
10. (8) #25 Shawn Knight, South Paris, 40 
11. (16) #56 Dale Verrill, Paris, 40 
12. (11) #6 Tommy Ricker, Poland, 40 
13. (8) #85 Travis Stearns, Auburn, 40 
14. (11) #6 Matt Sanborn, West Baldwin, 40 
15. (14) #63 Don Wentworth, Otisfield, 40 
16. (7) #26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston, 40 
17. (1) #12 Nick Brown, Bath, 39 
18. (23) #08 Gerald Parlin, South Paris, 39 
19. (15) #10 Jimmy Childs, Leeds, 39 
20. (24) #44 Neil Martin, Freeport, 39 
21. (25) #55 Mark Childs Jr., Mechanic Falls, 31 
22. (2) #59 Tyson Jordan, Poland, 29 
23. (5) #07 Scott Luce, Strong, 14 
24. (12) #15 Ben Ashline, Pittston, 2 
25. (4) #52 Paul Bosse, Gray, 2 
Lap leaders: Brown 1, Morgan 2-10, Hewins 11-16, Rolfe 17-40. 
Cautions: 3 (laps 1, 2, 2) 

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed 

1. (4) #24 Larry Emerson, Durham, 30 
2. (10) #12 Skip Tripp, Poland, 30 
3. (2) #63 Matt Williams, Brownfield, 30 
4. (11) #57 Glen Henderson, Sabattus, 30 
5. (5) #07 Rick Thompson, Naples, 30
6. (1) #4 Michael Roe, West Paris, 30 
7. (13) #1 Dean Coolidge, Oxford, 27 
8. (3) #0 Sumner Sessions, Norway, 24 
9. (6) #2 Mike Blue, Leeds, 18 
10. (8) #113 Tommy Tompkins, Dixfield, 16 
11. (12) #56 Mike Short, Auburn, 14 
12. (7) #23 Zach Emerson, Sabattus, 14 
13. (9) #81 B.J. Chapman, Bridgton, 10 
14. (14) #99 George Haskell, Casco, 1 
DNS #77 Perry Tucker, Sumner
Lap leaders: Williams 1-14, L. Emerson 15-30. 
Cautions: 5 (laps 10, 13, 14, 14, 26) 

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed
1. (11) #6 Troy Jordan, Turner, 20 
2. (7) #54 Kyle Hewins, Leeds, 20 
3. (8) #521 Scott Farrington, Oxford, 20 
4. (15) #84 Doug Degroat, Oxford, 20 
5. (2) #41 James Wood, New Gloucester, 20 
6. (14) #96 Matt Dufault, Turner, 20 
7. (6) #3 Josh Childs, Oxford, 20 
8. (18) #333 Craig Farrington, Hebron, 20 
9. (16) #7x Charlie Webster, Auburn, 20 
10. (17) #82 Ben Krauter, Raymond, 20 
11. (10) #27 Archie Watt Jr., Auburn, 20 
12. (12) #106 Nathan Guptill, North Turner, 20 
13. (4) #4 Bill Dunphy, New Gloucester, 20 
14. (20) #555 Gerard Cote, Oxford, 19 
15. (1) #49 Dustin Couture, Auburn, 19 
16. (5) #12 Calvin Rose Jr., Turner, 18 
17. (21) #00 Aaron Small, Poland, 17 
18. (22) #89 David Giasson, Wales, 5 
19. (9) #83 Brady Romano, Livermore Falls, 4 
20. (13) #88 Derek Cook, Livermore Falls, 4
21. (3) #46 Jason Berry, Turner, 2 
22. (19) #69 John Childs, Leeds, 0 
Lap leaders: Hewins 1-6, Jordan 7-20. 
Cautions: 2 (laps 0, 2) 
Time of race: 18 minutes, 14 seconds 

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown, laps completed 
1. (6) #74 Jake Burns, Gray, 20 
2. (5) #69 Ryan Farrar, Oxford, 20 
3. (1) #17 Ross Spurling, New Gloucester, 20 
4. (4) #1 John Lizotte, Mechanic Falls, 19 
5. (7) #43 Dennis Brine, Oxford, 10 
6. (3) #54 Devon Smith, Oxford, 7 
7. (2) #30 Ryan Varney, Oxford, 0 
8. (8) #39 Corey Williams, Sumner, 0 
Lap leaders: Burns 1-20. 
Cautions: 1 (lap 0) 
Time of race: 11 minutes, 49 seconds.



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Oxford Networks
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Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy
Strictly and Mini Stock

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