OXFORD, Maine – Chris Coolidge of Norway, Maine, finished a season-high second in the 40-lap Pro Late Model feature at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine, on Friday, June 14. Coolidge started on the pole after winning his qualifying race in dominating fashion, led the first seven laps of the main event in the No. 72 Bill’s Automotive/Lloyd’s Land Chevrolet and then emerged from a furious battle for the runner-up spot with his best career finish in a Pro Late Model. After a week in the shop throwing significant changes at the car in an effort to solve a debilitating handling condition which lasted several weeks, Coolidge felt the team had finally taken a big step in the right direction.
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: June 21, OCS Pro Late Model 40, Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine (.375-mile oval)
CHRIS, HOW GOOD DID THAT RUNNER-UP FINISH FEEL?
Honestly, this is like a win for us. I started on the pole, I led some laps, Timmy (Brackett) got by me – I drove in a little too hard when he was on the outside and damn near wrecked both of us. I’m just so glad he saved it and I saved it, and we moved on.
And what a race with T.J. (Brackett) for second. T.J. and I have had a lot of battles and not always been on good terms with each other, but that was just a lot of fun. From what we’ve gone through the last couple of weeks to this week, it was just a totally different race car. Next week, don’t get me wrong, it could be totally bad, but this is definitely like a win for us.
DID YOU KNOW THE CAR WOULD BE THIS MUCH BETTER WHEN YOU HIT THE TRACK?
We didn’t know it was going to be this good. Usually when you’re struggling or the car’s not going right, you don’t change four or five things – you change one thing at a time so you know if it helps or not. The way things have gone the last couple of weeks, we knew we had to focus on the back of the car. It was just so loose, you couldn’t even hold it on the race track.
We all made the call this week that something needed to be different, and we said it was ‘Big Papi Time.’ It was time to swing for the fence, and we made a big gain this week.
WHAT MEANT MORE, THE FINISH OR KNOWING YOU COULD RACE WITH SOME OF THE HEAVY HITTERS IN THE DIVISION FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS SEASON?
That right there, racing with those guys. I’ve been coming to this race track since I was old enough to come here, and I grew up watching Dale Shaw, Mike Rowe, Leland Kangas – all those guys – and I couldn’t wait to be able to race with them.
Timmy (Brackett)’s been coming here for years, and to race with him and finish in the Top-3 with those guys, it’s just awesome.