Management Announces Closure Of Maine’s Oxford Plains Dragway – Two Strips Left In New England Region

Management Announces Closure Of Maine’s Oxford Plains Dragway – Two Strips Left In New England Region

(Photo credit: The Sun Journal) – Citing declining revenues and personnel issues, the current ownership of Oxford Plains Dragway has decided to close the facility for the entire year outside of one event that the track will hold in roughly a week. The decision was made by the president of the facility (which also has a circle track) Mike Mayberry and has been met with the reaction that you’d expect from dedicated races and fans of the sport. The eighth mile track opened in Maine in 1969 and had many strong years before running into the lean times of the last 5-7 years. Different groups have leased the track to keep it open and Mayberry did not commit for sure that the track could be leased but he seemed to hint towards it being possible if the right offer was made. The facility is small and pretty humble but it is a good strip with all the proper guts to fully operate. Those guts will be sitting and rotting slowly now so that when/if it can ever be opened again, there will be twice as much work to do.

It has been rumored for more than a couple of seasons that the Mayberry family wanted to close the strip as it was not much of a money maker as compared to the circle track and the place required more effort than they were wanting to give for the return. A woman named Crystal Lancaster had stepped into the management role this year and she was full of the energy and vim that the place needed to get back on its feet. For the last couple of seasons inconsistency in schedule and other factors had taken their toll on the track and kept it from achieving steady week to week revenues. When the Mayberry family bought the property, they wanted the circle track and the drag strip came in as some sort of a red-headed stepchild so it has been seemingly treated as such since day one.

The straw the finally broke the camel’s back was the resignation of the woman who runs the computer for the timing system in the tower at the track. The Mayberry family seized on a good sounding opportunity to release a statement that made it sound as though the resignation of this person left a void so vast that they’d never be able to find a person to fill it. This is a gross exaggeration of course and while everything takes some learning it would be about a week before the new computer operator was comfortable enough to enter numbers into the computer system as cars came to the starting line. Here’s what the track said:

We found out at 10:45am on Friday, May 30th that the employee that handles the scoring system was resigning from her position at the drag strip. Since we do not have the proper help to operate the drag strip for the weekly race season, we will not be running the weekly series at the track this season.

The simple answer is that if the Mayberry family gave a rip about the drag strip they would find someone to fill the position and let someone like Crystal try to revive the place from the dead with solid customer service, a good attitude, and a passion for the sport of drag racing. Instead, they seized on a momentary problem and decided to use that as the reason for shutting the place down. WEAK.

The closure of Oxford leaves New England (proper) with a grand total of exactly two functioning drag strips. There’s Winterport Dragway which is two hours north of Oxford and New England Dragway in New Hampshire which is two hours south. Yes, Lebanon Valley Dragway in eastern New York is in operation still but rightly or wrongly we don’t consider NY as part of New England proper.

What will become of the place? There are murmurs that a group may try to lease the track from the Mayberry family and operate it but at this point it would be done out of mercy and to keep the place from slipping completely under the waves as opposed as being done for the purposes of profit. The track needs someone who will throw themselves at it and not expect immediate returns or glory but is content to toil and rebuild the image, name, and scene around the facility.

Here’s a report in the Sun Journal outlining the situation – CLICK HERE  to read it


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8 thoughts on “Management Announces Closure Of Maine’s Oxford Plains Dragway – Two Strips Left In New England Region

  1. David Beard

    Very unfortunate. Always enjoyed going there, but it didn’t sound promising when the current owners took over.

  2. Cletus T Rickenbacker 3rd

    Sad, but it happens regularly. In the last few years I know of 3 that have closed, and 1 that is hanging on by a thread, within 100 miles of my chunk of this spinning rock. And 1 that opened about 200 miles away. Not much of a trade off for me.

    But in that same 100 miles, there are 7(that I can think of quick) circle tracks, dirt and paved, between 1/4 and 5/8 mile that are doing just fine.

  3. 38P

    Sad news.

    Whatever happened to car clubs or fraternal groups stepping up to run non-profit drag strips . . . to keep racers off the streets.

    Where will these “Yankees” race their “CAHHS” [Read: Priuses, Volvos, Saabs . . . . ]? Or is everyone up there too busy with their iPhones, internet porno, and daily substance abuse to even care anymore?

    Sadly too many promoters can’t see the advantages of serving more than one segment or niche of the motorsports market . . . And the powers-that-be in drag racing are doing an abysmal job at training the next generation of facility developers, owners, operators, workers, and promoters. Instead they try to keep “competitors” of the “business” to maximize their own short-term profits.

    More fundamentally, is anti-freedom, tax-soaked New England even still part of the USA at this point? 🙂

    1. 38P

      Edit: Instead, they try to keep “competitors” out of the “business” to maximize their own short-term profits.

  4. kyle chute

    its a loss for us who drag, but this track was run down and raced like crap, lack of maintenance made it more of a danger for a real car, fun for a street run machine but after racing in north Carolina this track just wont measure up or hold any sizable horsepower unless someone with alot of cash steps in

  5. Herb

    It was a long tow from New Brunswick to there but made the trip a few times. It was always an adventure. Shame to see it close.

  6. Doug Smith

    It is about 30 miles from me and I spent alot of time there from when it opened in the late 60s till about 1988.Have been back off and on over the years but it has gone down hill so bad that I gave up racing there 15 years ago…

  7. Wayne pfeffer

    after reading this I can say I am not surprised , after alI I lived in long island New York where we lost all the race tracks except one …..we had them all. There are many reasons for a race track to close but recently ran across a editorial by Jon Asher , in Competition Plus Drag Racing Internet Magazine “Racing is killing drag racing ” and it made a lot of sense , and judging by the replies he received it did the same for others ( you may want to check it out and share it with friends ) I wish Crystal Lancaster and the Mayberrys good luck and hope they can work out a way to keep the strip open, and possibly they would be a example to other failing tracks across our country so the spectators and competitors can continue to enjoy drag racing

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