OXFORD — Nick Sweet wouldn’t mind at all if the Pro All Stars Series held every one of its races each season at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The driver from Barre, Vermont, used the outside lane to wrest the lead from Windham’s Corey Bubar with less than 50 laps remaining and rolled to victory in the Coastal Auto Parts 150 on Sunday afternoon. It was the second PASS victory of the season for Sweet, the fifth of his career, and his second at Oxford Plains. Four-time PASS champion D.J. Shaw rallied late for second, while Travis Benjamin of Morrill was third.

The American-Canadian Tour 150 was won by Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Pelham, New Hampshire. Helliwell took the lead with seven laps remaining en route to his 13th career ACT win and first Late Model win at Oxford Plains. Livermore’s Tyler King won the 50-lap PASS Modified feature.

Sweet’s win was his second in the last five PASS races at Oxford dating to last summer.

The races were contested in front of no spectators, per the state’s reopening guidelines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The track opened for the season this weekend, hosting its weekly divisions on Saturday.

“I don’t know how many races we’ve had here, but it’s never enough,” said Sweet, who also won the season opener on June 8 at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. “We’re on the right path. In the beginning of my career here, I was that guy just playing defense out there and waiting for the leader to come (and lap me). Whereas today, it’s a lot more fun to play offense than it is defense.

“These cars are hard. When I first got in these cars, we struggled really hard. It feels good to know we’re heading in the right direction.”

Benjamin followed Sweet around the outside of Bubar, who dominated the first two-thirds of the event. But Benjamin, a three-time Oxford 250 winner, faded over the final 25 laps. Like most on Sunday, he never seemed to get a handle on the track conditions. There was little rubber on the track, and that problem was compounded by the summer sun and warm temperatures.

“This place was different today. I honestly have no idea why,” Benjamin said. “I just don’t know.

“That track was tricky today. … We made a ton of changes all day, and I don’t think we fixed it. I don’t think we did anything to fix the car all day.”

Shaw, who finished second in both halves of the Twin 150s, was just as confounded as anybody.

“I would say the track did its thing today,” Shaw said. “The grip is definitely way down right now versus what it would be in April. We struggled in practice with this (PASS) car and were good in practice with the ACT car, and getting the same result in both was overachieving in my book.”

Jake Johnson of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Massachusetts, finished fourth and fifth in the 33-car PASS field.

Track conditions were no easier to figure out for the ACT teams. Hudson, New Hampshire’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr., seeking his fifth ACT win at Oxford, took the lead on Lap 22 with a rare outside move and held it until getting stuck in deep lapped traffic seven laps from the finish.

Those lapped machines allowed Helliwell to erase a nearly 1.5-second gap, and he pulled under Polewarczyk as the two tried to split the lapped car of reigning ACT champion Rich Dubeau. Helliwell went under Dubeau and the two made contact, sending Dubeau’s car up into Polewarczyk on the high side of Turn 3 and hurtling the leader off into the dirt.

“Joey was on the raw end of the deal,” said Helliwell, who admitted he would not have been able to pass Polewarczyk without the incident. “We were just too even. Our cars were running the same line with the same drive off. … Maybe there was something there between those two guys from last year or the year before. Maybe I was just in the lucky spot today.”

Polewarczyk battled back to finish fourth behind Helliwell, Shaw and Vermont’s Jimmy Hebert. Ryan Kuhn landed fifth in the 24-car field.

“I tried the inside on (Dubeau), I tried the outside on him, but he just raced me as hard as he could,” Polewarczyk said. “He’s a champion. You’d think being in that position with less than 10 to go, he’d think, ‘Maybe I should be a little courteous and let the leader go.’ That’s how I was taught to race – when it’s not your day, it’s not your day.

“It’s just really aggravating to have that happen.”


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