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Travis Benjamin had been enjoying a solid but unspectacular season on the Pro All Star Series North Late Model tour.
But Sunday’s effort at the 46th annual Oxford 250 will enable him to feel much better about his team’s performance this summer.
The driver from Morrill raced from the front over the last 40 laps at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday to claim the checkered flag in Maine’s richest stock car race.
Morrill became the fourth driver to claim three Oxford 250 titles — joining Ralph Nason, Mike Rowe and Dave Dion — while picking up his third win in the last seven years. Morrill also won in 2013 and 2014.
Benjamin, who picked up the $29,000 winner’s check, won by outlasting runner-up Derek Griffith of Hudson, New Hampshire, and D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire. Rounding out the top five were Johnny Clark of Farmingdale and Mike Hopkins of Hermon.
A total of 44 cars started the race.
The Nos. 6-10 spots went to Cole Butcher of Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia, Ben Ashline of Pittston, Cassius of Farmington, Curtis Gerry of Waterboro and Alan Tardiff of Lyman.
Pit strategy played a key role in turning Benjamin’s fortunes. Tardiff and Nick Sweet were leading the race on lap 179 and opted to pit when the caution flag flew.
Only four cars stayed out, but Benjamin was among the drivers to make the stop. With four new tires, he returned to the track and within a handful of laps had moved all the way to the front.
Nason won his three Oxford 250s consecutively, in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Rowe was victorious in 1984, 1997 and 2005, while Dion’s titles came in 1975, 1985 and 1992.