OXFORD, Maine — For only the third time in nearly 50 years, ownership of the region’s largest sports entertainment facility is changing hands.
Bill Ryan announced Sunday afternoon that he has entered into an agreement to sell Oxford Plains Speedway to Tom Mayberry of Naples.
The deal is expected to be finalized within the next week.
“[Mayberry] is a superb promoter and has great ideas and passion and will undoubtedly continue the success that we have had over the years,” Ryan said in a press release. “I am confident that under Tom’s leadership the speedway will thrive.”
Mayberry is the founder and promoter of the Pro All Stars Series, one of New England’s most prominent racing tours since 2001.
Before that, he was a successful racer at the speedway.
“Obviously, I grew up attending races at Oxford Plains and eventually was able to race there myself,” Mayberry said in a separate statement. “We hope we can continue the great tradition at Oxford and are looking forward to a bright future. I’m looking forward to working with the competitors and the fans and I hope to have their support.”
The transition will dramatically transform the speedway’s showcase race, the TD Bank 250.
After six years as a late model event with rules parallel to those of Vermont’s American-Canadian Tour, the 40th annual summer classic in 2013 will mark a return to PASS’ super late model standards, Mayberry said.
Previous changes in Oxford’s weekly and 250 formats led to on-again, off-again, and at times contentious relationship, between Ryan and Mayberry over the past decade.
OPS and PASS were loosely affiliated until 2006.
That summer, Ryan made the announcement that he was disbanding two of the top three weekly divisions at the track — Pro Stock and Limited Sportsman.
Ryan also changed the format of Oxford’s showcase race, the TD Bank 250, from Pro Stock to Late Model. It effectively ended the track’s relationship with Mayberry’s PASS and aligned it with Tom Curley’s Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour (ACT).
But Pro Stock racing — also known as “super late model,” the touring division’s attempt to distance itself from the less powerful cars of its competition — maintained a strong foothold in Northern New England and Eastern Canada.
Mayberry and Ryan mended fences in 2011 and have co-promoted two successful 150-lap races on the eve of the 250 each of the past two summers.
Many well-known PASS drivers — including Mike Rowe of Turner, Cassius Clark of Farmington and Johnny Clark of Farmingdale — have been infrequent competitors at the historic 3/8-mile oval since the initial departure of pro stocks six years ago.
This season’s final PASS race of the season at Oxford has twice been postponed by rain. It is now scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20.
PASS has expanded dramatically since Mayberry launched it in the aftermath of several similar, short-lived touring divisions in the 1990s.
In addition to its flagship division in the north, PASS also oversees an open-wheel modified division and a sportsman class. PASS South was launched several years ago, resulting in a series of national championship cooperative events up and down the east coast.
Ryan purchased the track from Michael Liberty in 1998. He also is a majority owner of the Maine Red Claws, an NBA Development League basketball team based in Portland.
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