OXFORD — Curtis Gerry doesn’t create fireworks, but he sure does enjoy them.
Gerry took the lead from Scott Robbins on a lap 32 restart Saturday night and drove off to win Oxford Plains Speedway’s 50-lap Super Late Model feature. The victory was the fourth straight Fourth of July win for the reigning track champion.
For the second consecutive week, the track held its Oxford Championship Series in front of empty grandstands, per the state’s mandate in light of the COVID-10 pandemic.
Gerry, of Waterboro, also won last season’s Fourth of July race at Oxford after having won features as part of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway’s fireworks program in both 2017 and 2018.
“I think that’s a pretty cool fact,” Gerry said, looking over his traditional black No. 7G after the win. “Maybe I’ll have to put (a No. 4) on it somewhere.”
Robbins, of Dixfield, and Josh Childs of Otisfield finished second and third, respectively, behind Gerry. Turner’s Calvin Rose and Buckfield’s Tim Brackett completed the top five in the 21-car field.
“This is big-time. We came out of the gate and struggled bad,” said Gerry, who now has 13 career OPS victories. “We went to (White Mountain Motorsports Park) once or twice, we came to the PASS race last week, and that was a disaster. This feels awesome.”
Robbins battled the outside groove after dropping to third on lap 33 to get up for second under the checkered flag. After finishing fourth last week in the season opener, Robbins joins Gerry as the only two drivers to score top-five finishes in each of the first two races of the season.
“We were as good as him, maybe even better,” Robbins said. “If we can run anywhere close to Curtis Gerry, we’re doing all right.”
The race’s first of two cautions flew on lap 32 when Childs and Garrett Hall got together on the backstretch of the .375-mile speedway, and Gerry nosed just ahead of Robbins by the time a separate incident between James Barker and Alan Wilson occurred off of the top of turn two to bring out the only other caution of the race.
Gerry said he wouldn’t have been able to pass Robbins without the restart. Though it’s only July, the late start to the season has compounded tricky track conditions on the worn-out racing surface.
“Before the caution came out, I honestly thought if it stayed green I had nothing for him,” Gerry said. “When the caution came out, it was my only shot to take the lead.”
Robbins echoed what many drivers had said following last weekend’s PASS race — that there is an outside groove to be had at Oxford, it just seems to be a very finicky one.
“It is there, but it’s almost like it’s not all the time,” Robbins said. “You’ll be out there and it feels good and then it kind of goes away, so you go to the bottom and then go back to the top and it feels fine. This old track is going through a little change of some kind, but it makes for good racing.”
In other feature racing Saturday, Windham’s Garrett Lamb earned the first Street Stock victory of his career by wiring the 12-car field in the 30-lap main event.
Lamb, 18, was making just his seventh career Street Stock start after competing previously in Beech Ridge’s entry-level Thursday Thunder ranks. He graduated from Windham High School last month and his headed to Southern New Hampshire University in the fall to study mechanical engineering.
He had 1999 Oxford Plains champion Jerry Babb helping him get up to speed with the track.
“It was just patience,” Lamb said. “I had Jerry helping me out, and that was huge. He helped me learn the line. It was just about working on that, so I could worry about what was going on out my windshield and nothing about what was behind me.”
Dan Brown of Turner finished second with Jay’s Shawn Knight third.
Though he led every lap of the feature after similarly leading every lap of his qualifying race earlier in the evening. Lamb said he wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I won a couple of Mad Bomber features (at Beech Ridge) before, but this is a whole different animal,” Lamb said. “This is definitely really special to come here, only my second time here, and this is a great experience.”
Caleb Macomber won the 15-lap Rookie feature, and Travis Verrill of Oxford was victorious in the 20-lap Bandit event.