It's Brown by a body panel over Verrill in TD Banknorth 250,
ending Maine's 11-race winning streak at OPS summer classic

OXFORD, Maine – In one of the closest TD Banknorth 250 finishes ever, Roger Brown withstood a furious charge by Oxford Plains Speedway weekly competitor Dale Verrill out of the final corner to win the 34th annual short track extravaganza.

Brown, 28, of Lancaster, N.H., led all but one of the final 109 laps on his way to a $35,800 payday.

"It's unbelievable to think of myself on a list with guys like Dave Dion, Mike Rowe and Ralph Nason," said Brown, who groomed his talent in supporting divisions at Riverside Speedway in New Hampshire and Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Vermont before joining the American-Canadian Tour. "I'm sure I don't belong on that list."

No driver from outside Maine had won the OPS summer classic since 1995, when ACT stalwart Dave Whitlock capped a streak of three consecutive wins by Canadian drivers.

Brown is the first New Hampshire winner since Dave Dion scored his third title in 1992.

While Brown'sVvictory was confirmed by the post-race technical check, the remainder of the finishing order remains unofficial pending a thorough inspection of the shocks by Koni.

OPS expects to announce the findings of that audit by midweek.

Verrill's runner-up finish in his first TD Banknorth 250 appearance since 1989 is tentatively worth $12,000.
Scott Payea of Vermont and ACT was third, followed by OPS home track stars Jon Brill and Dennis Spencer Jr.
"I won the non-qualifiers' race to get in the last (250) I ran," Verrill said. "It was a Busch Series race. They had something like 100 cars."

Ninety-seven cars registered in the pit area for Sunday's race, the highest total for a TD Banknorth 250 in this decade and only nine shy of the all-time record, set in 1983..

The race underwent its first format change since the early 1990s in the offseason, with Late Models replacing Pro Stocks as the showcase cars.

"The difference is that I just won $36,000 with a $25,000 race car, and those (Pro Stock) guys won $36,000 with an $80,000 race car," Brown said. "And in my opinion the racing is every bit as good if not better."

Touring competitor flexed their muscles in the second half of the race after the OPS delegation conducted a clinic for the first 132 laps.

Brown took the lead from five-time OPS Limited Sportsman champion Carey Martin on lap 142. He ruled the roost until lap 226, when David Avery put a nose out in front just before the two made contact while running in traffic.

Avery spun wildly over the top of the first turn, effectively ending his chances of victory. He rallied to seventh, the next-to-last car on the lead lap.

"I think he had a better car," Brown said. "If he had been a little more patient, I think he eventually could have gone around me. Hey, I probably would have done the same thing in that situation. We're going for the win in the Oxford 250!"

Payea snuck past Verrill on the ensuing restart. Verrill used the preferred inside lane to repay the favor on a lap 235 resumption.

That 15-lap sprint wasn't quite enough time for Verrill, whose car was exceptional on long runs.

"Five more laps and I would have gone around him," Verrill said. "I had to go for it there at the end. I wasn't paying attention to what lap it was, and nobody told me."

Shawn Martin earned the pole position with his win in the first of eight qualifying heats and set a blistering pace for 41 laps in the main event.

Ricky Rolfe used the outside lane to make his charge to the front. With the exception of Shawn Martin's brief return to the point for one pass, Rolfe led from lap 42 to 94.

Then it was Carey Martin's turn. The second-generation standout sandwiched two impressive stretches at the front around a seven-lap stint by Eddie MacDonald.

MacDonald was penalized a lap for passing the pace car prior to his mid-race pit stop and wound up 23rd.

Avery, Rolfe, Trampas Demers, Eric Chase and Brent Dragon ran sixth through tenth.

NASCAR Nextel Cup veteran Kevin Lepage finished 21st. Two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte was involved in a crash and was credited with 42nd.

Twenty-eight of the 44 drivers in the starting grid were first-time 250 qualifiers.

Among the dignitaries who failed to make the cut: Nine-time OPS champion Jeff Taylor, Brian Hoar, Robbie Crouch, Patrick Laperle, D.J. Shaw, Mario Gosselin and Bobby Dragon.
All three supporting feature winners waved their first checkered flags of the season.

Darick Barker commanded the 30-lap Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock feature. Past Limited champion Kenny Harrison picked up his first-ever win in the Allen's Strictly 'A' feature. Mark Bowie overtook Jeff Moon late in the running to secure the Strictly 'B' win.

OPS returns to action Saturday, July 28 with Time Warner Cable Night. Qualifying for the Championship Series event kicks off at 6:30 p.m.

1. Roger Brown, Lancaster, N.H.
2. Dale Verrill, Paris
3. Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
4. Jon Brill, Bridgton
5. Dennis Spencer Jr., Oxford
6. David Avery, North Woodstock, N.H.
7. Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township
8. Trampas Demers, South Burlington, Vt.
9. Eric Chase, Milton, Vt.
10. Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt.
11. Cris Michaud, Williamstown, Vt.
12. John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
13. Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, N.H.
14. Karl Allard, St. Felicien, Quebec
15. Scott Robbins, Dixfield
16. Jeremie Whorff, Bath
17. Randy Potter, Groveton, N.H.
18. Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, Vt.
19. Travis Adams, Canton
20. Zach Emerson, Sabattus
21. Kevin Lepage, Mooresville, N.C.
22. Billy Childs Jr., Leeds
23. Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
24. Eric Williams, Hyde Park, Vt.
25. Jamie Aube, Bow, N.H.
26. Ron Henry, New Gloucester
27. Josh St. Clair, Liberty
28. Kurt Hewins, Leeds
29. Carey Martin, Denmark
30. Don Wentworth, Otisfield
31. Jeff White, Winthrop
32. Tommy Ricker, Poland
33. Peter Potvin III, Granjiteville, Vt.
34. Tim Brackett, Buckfield
35. Dale Shaw, Center Conway, N.H.
36. A.J. Begin, Merrimac, Mass.
37. Ryan Nolin, Georgia, Vt.
38. Corey Williams, Harrisburg, N.C.
39. Gary Chiasson, Peru
40. Shawn Martin, Turner
41. Brad Hammond, Sabattus
42. Terry Labonte, Thomasville, N.C.
43. Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, Vt.
44. T.J. Watson, Harpswell
Lap leaders: S. Martin 1-41, Rolfe 42-47, S. Martin 48, Rolfe 49-94, C. Martin 95-132, MacDonald 133-139, C. Martin 140-141, Brown 142-225, Avery 226, Brown 227-250.

1. Kenny Harrison, Pownal
2. Kim Tripp, Oxford
3. Tommy Tompkins, Dixfield
4. Skip Tripp, Sabattus
5. Dave Brannon, Topsham
6. Chris Burgess, Lewiston
7. Matt Williams, Brownfield
8. Larry Emerson, Durham
9. Mike Short, Auburn
10. Rick Thompson, Naples
11. Bob Crocker, Freeport
12. Sumner Sessions, Norway
13. Zach Emerson, Sabattus
14. Danny Smart, Buxton
15. Scott Belskis, Dixfield
16. Glen Henderson, Sabattus

1. Mark Bowie, Poland
2. Jeff Moon, Gray
3. Derek Mingo, Lamoine
4. Luke Rickards, Anson
5. Mike St. Germain, Auburn
6. Randy Heath, Casco
7. Ron Charpentier Jr., Wales
8. Ben Krauter, Raymond
9. Matt Moore, Harrison
10. Chris Mosher, Litchfield
11. Bob DiPompo, Jay
12. Reggie Houghton, Carthage
13. Dick Damon, Livermore
14. Todd Hall, Auburn
15. Michael Roe, West Paris

1. Darick Barker, Jay
2. Bob Guptill, Mechanic Falls
3. Adam Polvinen, Oxford
4. Ashley Marshall, Jay
5. Kevin Bishop, South Paris
6. Jimmy Childs, Leeds
7. Don Frechette, Turner
8. Greg Watkins, Bridgton
9. Al Roberti, South Paris
10. Rick Giguere, Auburn
11. Shane Kaherl, Jay
12. Bill Childs Sr., Leeds
13. Rob Baitler, Wales
14. Bill Thibeault, Oxford
15. Dale Durgin, Norway
16. David Mooney, Wales
17. Don Mooney, New Gloucester
18. Wayne Parkin, Wales
19. Joe Treadwell, Auburn
20. Dale Brackett, Oxford