Pro All Stars Series
Nearly 70 Entries Filed for 49th Oxford 250
Aug 17, 2022
Ten years ago when Jimmy Hebert was still learning the ropes of racing his American-Canadian Tour spec Late Model, he and his race team made the bold decision to make the Oxford 250 in Maine, which was running ACT-type cars at the time. Having made the race and reaching the checkered flag, Hebert headed home to Vermont with a lasting love for both the race and Oxford Plains Speedway itself.
But, when Oxford Plains was bought by Tom Mayberry prior to 2013 and placed under the Pro All Stars Series banner with Super Late Models returning to the 250, Hebert’s plans for a return would have to wait for a future year. Now a decade, with ACT race wins and the 2020 Tour title later, Hebert is making his return to the 250 and to face off in PASS competition.
“I’m very excited, we haven’t run it since 2012 when it was using ACT rules. We fell in love with the race and were disappointed when the rules switched back to Super Late Models in 2013. But, now we got the opportunity to try it from the other side,” Hebert told Racing America.
While most competitors from ACT would either seek a ride with an existing PASS team or purchase a straight-rail chassis Late Model which is favored among Super & Pro Late Model teams from coast to coast; Hebert and the No. 58 team are converting one of their ACT cars to take on the PASS field.
This move is very much legal under PASS rules, but with ACT rules requiring all cars to have a traditional perimeter chassis, with the design having more of the weight of the chassis structure over the right-side of the car, as opposed to the more centered and balanced design of a straight-rail; it is not favored among Super Late Model teams. But, this is the most affordable option available to Hebert at this time.
“We currently only own ACT-type cars, so we got some shocks, some rims, a four-barrel carburetor, transmission; that’s about it. Just trying to switch it over to be as competitive as we can. Other guys have done it before so possible, but we got a serious uphill battle.”
That said, Hebert is confident that he can be competitive this coming weekend and make the field on Sunday. He also has a pair of 125-lap ACT wins at Oxford Plains on 250 weekend the past two years to back up the confidence.
READ MORE: Nearly 70 Entries Filed for 49th Oxford 250
“We’ve built up a good car so that shouldn’t be much of an issue. I think it’s going to be more about me getting used to all the procedures and the restarts that are different than what we’re used to. That’s going to be the biggest hurdle since the first time will be during the heat races on Sunday. Luckily there’s all the PASS videos from Racing America, I’ve been talking to people. Plus we got Dale Shaw in our corner, and all the staff from PASS have been extremely open and helpful, very thankful.”
Hebert also believes that an edge he has over many of his competitors is simply that he likes the track so much.
“I’ve always loved Oxford, its probably been one of my best tracks. I love the track, a lot of people don’t so I think that’s in our favor. It’s such a unique place, it’s very challenging. I can’t wait to try it out with more grip and more power. It should be a lot of fun.”
If you’re also wondering if this is indeed going to be Hebert’s first start in a Super Late Model as well as a PASS event, you would be correct. While he still plans on running select races in ACT in the years to come, Hebert also wants to get some of the PASS schedule in the mix, and possibly elsewhere.
“This is going to be the first time. This was kind of our plan when we trimmed back the schedule, we knew we couldn’t run the whole thing between family, work, and everything else; same for the rest of the crew. We’ve done the same schedule for 10 years, we won races, a championship, and made a lot of memories with ACT. It’s a good time to do something different and hit up other races we still got on the bucket list.”
Going back to this coming weekend, Hebert is being realistic about his chances; but that’s not to say he also believes that the No. 58 can surprise some people.
“Everybody goes there to win. But, it’d be pretty crazy to say that; so realistically it’s to make the race and finish on the lead lap. We’ll be pretty happy with that, anything more is a bonus. This is also serving as a test run and a prelude to future plans.”
The American-Canadian Tour returns to the Night Before the 250 this Saturday, August 27; with the 49th Oxford 250 getting the green on Sunday, August 28. Those unable to make it to Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine and everybody else around the globe can watch Saturday & Sunday’s racing live on RacingAmerica.tv.