OXFORD, Maine — Jimmy Hebert snapped one of the driest spells of his racing career by winning the American-Canadian Tour Oxford Plains 125 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday.
The reigning ACT champion dove underneath Ben Rowe on the backstretch with 27 laps to go and led the rest of the way to become the first repeat winner this season.
It was a welcome sight for Hebert, who had encountered nothing but misfortune since his victory in the season-opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Since that time, he’d posted only one top-10 result and failed to finish multiple times.
For one night, though, all of that melted away as Hebert looked like his old self down the stretch to snag his ninth ACT victory.
Rowe showed the way for most of the event’s first half after polesitter Matthew Morrill led the first four circuits. A trio of cautions between laps 39 and 40, concluded by a four-car calamity in turn one, erased the margin Rowe had built up. When the race finally got rolling again, Rowe had Mike Hopkins, Hebert and Derek Gluchacki breathing down his neck.
Hopkins powered beneath Rowe entering turn one on the 63rd circuit, only for Dave MacDonald’s spin off turn four to bring out the yellow and negate the pass. On the restart, Hopkins then put the nose out front from the outside lane for three circuits before Rowe took back over.
Hopkins switched things back up and wheeled below Rowe on lap 73 to get the lead for a second time. Gluchacki followed him through the open lane, and as they navigated around a lapped car on the frontstretch three laps later, the teenager took advantage of a slight bobble by Hopkins to go inside him for the top spot.
The reigning rookie of the year was still out in front when the race’s sixth caution flew on lap 88 for debris in turn one. Gluchacki jumped ahead on the restart, but coming out of turn two a lap later, Hopkins tagged Gluchacki in the rear. The leader looped it with the whole field managing to dodge him, and both drivers went to the rear as a result.
That handed the lead back to Rowe with Hebert alongside. Hebert was content on the restart to tuck in line behind Rowe. But with 27 laps to go, Hebert timed his turn two exit perfectly and got a run to the low lane, riding the momentum to the lead. He then survived one more restart with seven laps remaining to win as part of the “Night Before the Oxford 250” program for the second straight year.
D.J. Shaw slipped inside Rowe on the final run to take second. Despite dropping to third in the final rundown, Rowe still unofficially gained ground on Shaw in the championship chase thanks to his bonus points for leading the most laps.
Jimmy Renfrew Jr. quietly worked his way from the 17th starting position to take fourth.
Hopkins roared back through the field after his incident for a fifth-place finish.
Jimmy Hebert, D.J. Shaw, Ben Rowe, Jimmy Renfrew Jr., Mike Hopkins, Bobby Therrien, Derek Gluchacki, Quinten Welch, Tom Carey III, Trenton Goodrow, Ryan Morgan, Kris Matchett, Matthew Morrill, Erick Sands, Jesse Switser, Stephen Donahue, Robby Gordon, Cam Huntress, Bryan Mason, Alby Ovitt, Shawn Swallow, Mike Benevides, Matt Anderson, David MacDonald, James Linardy, Reilly Lanphear , Jamie Swallow Jr., Peyton Lanphear.