PALMYRA — There changed into no higher Late Model driver at Oxford Plains Speedway in the summer of 2012 than Ben Ashline.
The Pittston local thoroughly dominated the maximum latest American-Canadian Tour race at the music in May, leading greater than one hundred laps to cement his reputation as the fave heading into that July’s Oxford 250. Ashline, by no means, was given the risk to cement his legacy in Maine racing, however. Going five-extensive to the outside during his qualifying warmth race, Ashline discovered the dirt edging the song at the go out of the second turn, lost manage of his car, and ended his season in a heap alongside the tune’s backstretch wall.
Not a month has long gone through in the seven years, considering that a person hasn’t referred to the mishap to Ashline, who spends his running life in Fairfield at Distance Racing owned by nine-time Oxford Plains champion Jeff Taylor.
“Let’s simply say that if I had a handful of bucks for on every occasion any person has referred to that because it took place, I wouldn’t fear approximately running the next dozen Oxford 250s,” Ashline, now 28, started Monday evening. “It could be clean to mention that’s the handiest motive I want to run (the 250) again, however thinking back; I wouldn’t change an element. At the give up of the day, the fine classes in lifestyles and racing are taught via the toughest experiences. I honestly believe that.”
Ashline received a Late Model race at Oxford in 2014, and he received his first professional Super Late Model race there in weekly opposition in 2016. He’ll finally get another crack on the race he truly needs while he receives at the back of the wheel of longtime pal Ajay Picard’s car for Sunday’s 46th annual Oxford 250. It will be Ashline’s first Oxford 250 strive in view that 2012.
“I’ve recognized those guys for a while, dubbed around with them as a long way as going to the races and supporting out a touch bit,” Ashline said. “I have a look at Ajay as the brother I in no way had. He’s truly into the racing component, and we get alongside truly well… They have the ardor for racing and the guide, and I wished the automobile to finish the puzzle portions.”
Picard, forty, is himself a longtime racer, having competed frequently at both Wiscasset Speedway and Unity Raceway. But as racing and existence both took tolls on Picard; he has been sidelined for all but one season-opening race in 2019. With discs bulging, he said, docs have warned him that he should do serious everlasting damage if he were to be concerned in a coincidence in a race automobile.
He’s now not geared up to be executed with racing. However, he’s happy with his decision to sit down out if it means a higher nice of life down the street.
“Over the years, it’s all added up,” Picard stated. “I was given out of bed one morning, my neck popped, and I became in some serious pain. The physician said it turned into by no means going to hell if I didn’t stop working, but I can’t find the money for to not paintings. But when they said that if I became in a terrible wreck that perhaps I’d by no means be able to walk once more, nicely, it made a choice quite easy for me.”
Picard became Ashline, a two-time Coastal 2 hundred winner.
The pair introduced participants in their respective pit crews to Oxford in July for a Pro All Stars Series race with confined expectations. Ashline certified 6th drove to the front and led nearly 1/2 the race before fading back for a sixth-region end. It became a test run that couldn’t have gone any higher.
“We had perhaps six hours of general setup time for it,” Ashline said. “It surprised me in the characteristic that, as true as the rest of these drivers and groups can be and commonly are, that we had been capable of doing what we did. It turned into quite neat.”