Thibeault aces Mini Stock endurance test;
Adams leads legendary Rowe in Late Model dash

OXFORD, Maine – One driver's disaster was another's treasure in the Maine State Lottery 100 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Monday night.
Like the rest of the Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock field, Bill Thibeault was beaten and beaten badly by Jimmy Childs. But when the defending division champion and current point leader dropped out with an apparent broken axle on lap 76 after lapping the field, Thibeault inherited the lead and ultimately one of the biggest wins of his four-cylinder driving career.

Thibeault celebrated the checkered flag in the marathon event minutes before a huge crowd enjoyed the annual holiday fireworks celebration, presented by Central Maine Pyrotechnics of Hallowell.
In other action, Travis Adams continues to set the bar sky-high in the Oxford Networks Late Model division. Adams won his second straight feature and fourth overall in nine tries this season.
Sumner Sessions became the first three-time winner in the Allen's Strictly Stock division after Tommy Tompkins, who crossed the line first and had apparently notched his third triumph, was disqualified in the post-race inspection. Sessions also regained the series point lead in the process.

Thibeault not fastest, but still first
Thibeault’s longest look at Jim Childs came near the halfway point of the Allen’s Mini Stock main event, when he established himself as the only driver who could stay door-to-door with Childs for more than a straightaway.
Second-place Thibeault shadowed Childs for about four laps before the leader clawed his way past and sped away.
What was significant about the exchange? Thibeault was merely trying to stay on the lead lap. He was the last car to fall into Childs’ clutch, and suddenly the one car even remotely capable of keeping Childs out of victory lane went by the wayside.
“This wasn’t our race. It was Jimmy Childs’ race,” Thibeault said. “He had us all covered tonight.”
Childs’ ownership of his second straight Agren Appliance Grand Slam event exploded in a shower of sparks on the backstretch. The #10 coasted to a stop on three tires in the fourth turn, bringing out the second and final caution flag.
Thibeault, Don Frechette, Ashley Marshall and Shane Kaherl each had to pass Childs’ disabled ride twice before being posted as the leaders. Seven lapped cars provided a buffer zone between Thibeault and his closest pursuers.
“It’s too bad for him, but we’ll take the victory, of course,” Thibeault said.
By any other measure, Thibeault’s five-second margin of victory in the Reggie’s VW Repair/Maine-Ly Action Sports/Poland Spring Bottling #8 would have appeared dominant.
Marshall fought past Frechette shortly after Childs’ departure to claim second.
Mini Stock victory lane was an emotional scene. Marshall matched his career-best finish at OPS in the Hartt Transportation/Labonville/Bailey Bros. #77 and dedicated the result to both his grandmother and George Brown, a former Mini Stock competitor who died unexpectedly last month at age 40.
Despite falling shy of the finish, Childs made a quick appearance in the winner’s circle to dedicate his performance to uncle Perley Childs, who suffered a stroke over the weekend.
“He’s the Childs who started us out, the first person who started racing here in the ‘70s,” Childs said. “So win or not, this race is for him.”
Frechette and Kaherl were locked in a terrific battle for third over the final 10 laps, with Frechette getting the nod at the finish.
“I thought winning a 30-lapper was a lot of work, but this was something else,” Frechette said.
Kaherl recovered from an early spin to run second before two additional off-track forays dropped him to fourth. Adam Polvinen, who was penalized for contact with Kaherl that triggered a multi-car wreck on lap 9, rallied with a brilliant charge in the outside lane and passed Bill Irving on the final lap for fifth, one lap down.
Childs, Polvinen and Justin Karkos entered the night as the three dominant drivers in the Mini Stock class this season. All encountered a variety of problems in the event. Childs was credited with 14th place. Karkos wound up 16th after he spun and collided with Irving in the Polvinen-Kaherl aftermath.
The win was Thibeault’s 24th at OPS, dating back to 1993.
Adams leads legend in Late Models

Travis Adams channeled two of his racing heroes with a how-did-he-do-that pass for his latest Oxford Networks Late Model conquest.
Making the achievement even more meaningful was that Adams led one of those all-time OPS greats, Mike Rowe, across the finish line.
“My hero is Jeff Taylor, and I absolutely admire the way he rolls a race car around this facility,” Adams said. “But I’ll tell you what, this feels really, really good to come out here and beat the King of Oxford.”
Adams made a breathtaking, three-wide pass of Dave MacDonald and Zach Emerson on lap 25 to land the lead, then held off Rowe and closest championship points pursuer Ricky Rolfe after a restart with 10 laps remaining.
Committed to the rim of the track in turn three, Adams held the third groove for more than a fifth of a mile before applying the exclamation point to his winning maneuver between turns one and two.
Rowe used an inside pass to gain third just as MacDonald’s spin brought out the third and final caution on lap 30, putting him directly on Adams’ rear bumper for the all-important resumption.
“I was a little concerned having Mike on my tail. I was thinking, you know, I’ve got to be ready for anything here. My car was just a little bit better than his.,” Adams said.
The runner-up himself admitted as much in victory lane, playfully chiding Adams, “Next time, wait for me.”
Rowe pulled the slide job on Emerson to take second at the drop of the green, but the Lux Enterprises #23 didn’t have enough bite to stay in Adams’ tire tracks to the finish.
“We’ve been trying some different set-ups in the car, and this one’s pretty close. We’ve got to work on it a little bit more,” Rowe said. “We’ve got to keep trying and get ready for that (TD Banknorth) 250. We’re still really tight when the sun goes down and the clouds come over, but that’s the best set-up we’ve had so far. We had nothing for Travis here tonight. He was wicked good.”
Adams is starting to experience one of the pitfalls of success that followed Rowe in the 1970s and ‘80s and Taylor in the ‘90s. The crowd reaction to hearing his name announced in victory lane was mixed.
“That feels good, because I got as much applause and boos as Mike Rowe did,” Adams said. “You know they know your name when they’re making noise.”
Ricky Rolfe kept his streak of top-three finishes alive with the final podium position. Tim Brackett logged his second straight top-five since returning to OPS in fourth, followed by 2004 track champion Shawn Martin.
Pre-race fun, post-race turn spice up friendly Strictly rivalry
You can bet Sumner Sessions was a little disappointed to pick up his third Strictly Stock win of the season at the so-called “house of horrors.” He and Tompkins have enjoyed one of the friendliest rivalries at the speedway all season while running one-two in the standings and almost constantly fighting for position on the track.
Before Monday’s race, Tompkins playfully walked up to Sessions’ car in the pit and gave it a “kiss of death,” even talking to the car: “You cannot pass the #113.”
Sessions couldn’t pass Tompkins, but overtaking early leader B.J. Chapman with three laps remaining was enough for the Rick Morse Custom Engines/Sunco Well Drilling #0 to ultimately inherit the victory.
“We’re having a ball. He comes over to my trailer all the time, and we rag on each other,” Sessions said. “Everybody’s having a good time and getting good finishes. I’m looking forward to just keep doing what we’re doing.”
Sessions snapped a modest seven-race winless streak with his 13th Strictly victory, a total that puts him in a tie for sixth all-time.
One thing that has eluded Sessions is a speedway championship. Emerson, who holds a record three titles in the Strictly division, recovered from a wreck 48 hours earlier and soldiered home second.
“We kind of got lucky there. We got bent up pretty hard Saturday. All in all, it came out pretty good,” Emerson said. “I’ve got to thank the boys back in the pit, because they helped me get it back together and get it here.”
Chapman’s blistering early pace yielded a third-place result, followed by Matt Williams and Glen Henderson.
OPS returns to action on Wednesday, the Fourth of July, with an Acceleration Series card at 6:30 p.m. The busy week continues with the American-Canadian Tour Time Warner Cable 100 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and Motor Mayhem with Twin Enduro 100s on Sunday at 1 p.m.

ALLEN'S COFFEE FLAVORED BRANDY MINI STOCK (100 laps): 1. Bill Thibeault, Oxford; 2. Ashley Marshall, Jay; 3. Don Frechette, Turner; 4. Shane Kaherl, Jay; 5. Adam Polvinen, Oxford; 6. Bill Irving, New Gloucester; 7. Kevin Bishop, South Paris; 8. Greg Watkins, Bridgton; 9. Greg Durgin, Norway; 10. Dale Brackett, Oxford; 11. Darick Barker, Jay; 12. John Cary, Cumberland; 13. Wayne Parkin, Wales; 14. Jimmy Childs, Leeds; 15. Dale Durgin, Norway; 16. Justin Karkos, Jay; 17. Bob Guptill, Mechanic Falls. DNS: Don Mooney, New Gloucester.
OXFORD NETWORKS LATE MODEL (40 laps): 1. Travis Adams, Canton; 2. Mike Rowe, Turner; 3. Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township; 4. Tim Brackett, Buckfield; 5. Shawn Martin, Turner; 6. Brad Hammond, Sabattus; 7. Glen Luce, Turner; 8. Zach Emerson, Sabattus; 9. T.J. Watson, Harpswell; 10. Ricky Morse, St. Albans; 11. Dale Verrill, Paris; 12. Corey Morgan, Lewiston; 13. Billy Childs Jr., Leeds; 14. Jon Brill, Bridgton; 15. Tommy Ricker, Poland; 16. Scott King, Livermore Falls; 17. Neil Martin, Freeport; 18. Dave MacDonald, New Gloucester; 19. Rick Valentine, Greene; 20. Carey Martin, Denmark; 21. Ben Ashline, Pittston; 22. Scott Luce, Strong; 23. Travis Stearns, Gray; 24. Don Wentworth, Otisfield.

ALLEN'S COFFEE FLAVORED BRANDY STRICTLY STOCK (30 laps): 1. Sumner Sessions, Norway; 2. Larry Emerson, Durham; 3. B.J. Chapman, Bridgton; 4. Matt Williams, Brownfield; 5. Glen Henderson, Sabattus; 6. Dave Brannon, Topsham; 7. Skip Tripp, Sabattus; 8. Rick Thompson, Naples; 9. Zach Emerson, Sabattus; 10. Kim Tripp, Oxford; 11. Mike Short, Auburn; 12. Chris Burgess, Lewiston; 13. Ron Charpentier Jr., Wales; 14. Scott Belskis, Dixfield; 15. Mike St. Germain, Auburn; 16. Nick Coates, Turner; 17. Michael Roe, West Paris; 18. Bob DiPompo, Jay; 19. Reggie Houghton, Carthage; 20. Ben Krauter, Raymond; 21. Danny Smart, Buxton; 22. Shawn Thompson, Wilton; 23. David Vaughn, Naples; 24. Mark Bowie, Poland. DQ: Tommy Tompkins, Dixfield.