TD Bank 250 will again be on Cup’s off weekend

Posted Aug. 26, 2010, at 10:08 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 16, 2010, at 10:41 p.m.

    The 38th annual TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway will again be held on an off-weekend for the Sprint Cup Series for the eighth straight year and it will follow the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

The race will be held on July 24, one week after the Cup race at Loudon.

This past year, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was held three weeks before the TD Bank 250.

  It will be held on July 17 next year.

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“I like the fact it will be a week after New Hampshire race,” said OPS owner Bill Ryan, who has been able to land a Sprint Cup driver or former Cup driver ever since he began holding the race on a weekend there wasn’t a Cup race.

Defending Cup champion Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch were the first two high-profile Cup drivers in 2004 and Busch went on to win the Cup points title later that year.

He said he hopes there will be a residual carryover from the Cup race next summer as drivers and fans might remain in the region and come to the TD Bank 250.

“A lot of people travel to Loudon for the races,” said Ryan. “They’ll take the Friday off before Loudon to begin vacation. Then they’ll go to Loudon and, hopefully, they’ll decide to stop at Oxford [the following weekend].

“Loudon brings a lot of excitement to race fans and gets them thinking about racing,” he added.

His list of high-profile drivers has also included Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Newburgh’s Ricky Craven, Terry Labonte, Kevin Harvick. J.J. Yeley, Kevin Lepage, Kenny and Steven Wallace and Brad Keselowski.

Harvick is the only one of the group to have won the 250 in 2008.

Ryan feels it doesn’t matter if the Cup race at New Hampshire is before or after the TD Bank 250 but he did say he will always try to schedule the 250 for a weekend when the Cup series is off so he can land a Cup driver or two.

“It really works well for us. People who might otherwise not go to a short track race decide to come [to see the Cup drivers],” said Ryan. “It brings a lot of excitement to our fans. The fans love it. Five years from now, if Brad Keselowski wins the Sprint Cup points championship, people will remember when he raced at Oxford. And the local drivers love having a chance to race against these guys.”

And Ryan has a wide window when it comes to scheduling the TD 250.

“I think we could schedule it anywhere between June 15 and August 25,” Ryan said.

He wouldn’t want to schedule it earlier than June 15 because of weather concerns and he noted that if he were to schedule it later than Aug. 25, “you’d be competing with high school football and the NFL.”

Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., has taken the checkered flag for the last two TD Bank 250s.

As for the regular racing at OPS, Ryan acknowledged that the tough economic times have been felt at the track.

“Race fans aren’t immune from the economic slump, especially in rural areas. People just don’t have the discretionary dollars they used to have,” he said.

However, he also said car counts have usually declined after the TD Bank 250 but they have actually increased this summer.

“It’s encouraging. We had 27 Late Model cars two weeks after the 250 and we also had real good car counts in the other classes,” said Ryan.

    Georgia hosting K&N East race

Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre and his Revolution Racing drivers will return to the track on Saturday night when the K&N Pro Series East holds its first-ever race in the state of Georgia at the Gresham Motorsports Park.

Revolution racer Darrell Wallace Jr. trails Ryan Truex by just 33 points atop the points standings with three races remaining.

The other Revolution drivers are Ryan Gifford, who is eighth, Sergio Pena (12th) and Mackena Bell (21st).

Former four-time K&N Pro Series East champion Santerre is the competition director for Revolution Racing.

Gresham Motorsports Park is a half-mile oval.

Sean Caisse, who used to race for the Andy Santerre Motorsports team and had Santerre as his crew chief, will fill in for regular Andrew Ranger, who will compete in the Canadian Tire Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series races in Montreal this weekend.

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