Oxford Championship Series: Chris Coolidge
Oxford Plains Speedway Race Report
OXFORD, Maine – Chris Coolidge of Norway, Maine, finished sixth in the season-opening Oxford Championship Series 40-lap Pro Late Model feature at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine, on Sunday, April 28. Coolidge started eighth in the 14-car field and worked his way into the Top-5 by the midpoint of the event, but the No. 72 Bill’s Automotive/Lloyd’s Land Chevrolet tightened up over the closing laps of the first Pro Late Model event in track history as Coolidge settled for the sixth-place finish. Coolidge returns to the track next Sunday, May 5, for round two of the Oxford Championship Series at the track.
WHO: Chris Coolidge, Norway, Maine
CREW CHIEF: Bill Coolidge, West Paris, Maine
TEAM: Coolidge Motorsports No. 72 Bill’s Automotive/Lloyd’s Land Chevrolet
WHAT: Oxford Championship Series Pro Late Model 40
WHERE: Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine (.375-mile oval)
NEXT RACE: May 5, OCS Pro Late Model 40, Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine (.375-mile oval)
CHRIS, DID YOU FEEL LIKE THIS WAS A GOOD START TO THE SEASON?
I’m happy, but we’ve still got work to do. We’re fairly happy. The car’s close. We’re not off a lot. We’ve still got to continue to dig so it gets through the corners a little better, but the car’s in one piece. She’s rubbered up pretty good, but there’s no damage – that’s just short-track racing.
We were right there. We’ve got some work to do to figure out what to do to get it turning better through the corner, but if we can get it so it rolls through the corner, we’ll be on pace with everybody else. We’ll be there with them.
DID THE TIGHT CONDITION SURPRISE YOU GUYS AT ALL?
It was something that started during the race and just got progressively worse. During practice, it didn’t feel like it was that tight in the middle at all. At the beginning of the race itself, the car felt pretty good. As we started to go, though, it started getting loose coming off the corner. I think part of that was just because I had to slow up to get it to turn.
We should have finished fifth, but they just got me on the last lap. There was a car coming on outside, and I had another one tucked right behind me on the bottom. I was really focusing on trying to keep it right down on the bottom, because I knew once they got under me, I wasn’t going to be able to hold them off from the outside. I just couldn’t do anything with that guy outside.
HOW DID IT FEEL TO RUN YOUR FIRST RACE IN A PRO STOCK-TYPE CAR?
I’ll tell you, there were a couple of thoughts that went through my mind during the race. I’ve been going to that race track since I was three or four years old. And I remember watching Mike Rowe, Leland Kangas, Dale Shaw – guys like that – make a lot of laps around that track. I used to think to myself, ‘Some day, I’d really like to be out there racing with those guys.’ One of those restarts late in the race, I’m lined up right next to Dale Shaw. It was a pretty cool thing to be racing with him.
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO LOOK OUT FOR NEXT WEEK WHEN YOU GET BACK TO THE TRACK?
You’re definitely going to have to stay on top of your tires. We only get one new one a week now, and that’s going to be the biggest wrinkle. The tire management thing is the key to making your whole program work. That’s the whole thing. As time goes on, it’s all going to depend on how you manage that.
I think some of our issue (Sunday) was the tire itself. They didn’t grow or do what we probably thought they were going to do. It’s a lot easier to get the car going on four new tires, so we’ll have to make sure we get that figured out.