MARTINSVILLE, VA – Jeff Oakley went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows at Martinsville Speedway last year. This year, he’s looking for redemption.
Oakley, 48, from Prince George, Virginia had initially qualified on the pole for last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 but, later in the evening, his pole run was disallowed following post-qualifying technical inspection. That, combined with transmission issues, sent Oakley home.
“We just had a spacer on the carburetor and everybody in the world could see it if they looked at it,” Oakley told Race22.com when re-litigating last year’s disqualification. “Went through pre-race inspections and they could have seen it in pre-race if they really wanted to. They told us we were good to go. Without us, they went back under the car cover and found it and called us at the hotel at 11:30 at night and said, ‘come back and see us.’”
Oakley is hoping to have a top-10 car and be a contender in this year’s race.
“We certainly want to do good,” Oakley said. “Winning that race is really tough. We just want to run competitively. We would like to go and be a top-10 car, but you still have to run a 25-lap qualifier. We had transmission trouble last year that we would have had if we were on the pole, so we never would have finished the feature race if we didn’t get bumped to the back. The reason we didn’t transition in was because of the transmission issues, otherwise, I think we would have went from the back and raced our way in. The car was really good.”
Oakley has had a great 2018 season despite a rocky start. He has won several races at Dominion Raceway and appears destined to win that track’s Late Model championship. His performances give him confidence as he prepares for Late Model Stock Car racing’s most prestigious event.
“The guys have given me a great car every week,” Oakley commented. “It’s been really fast. We had some bad luck early on and we should have won a race or two early on. We’ve been able to string a few wins together and we’re looking forward to the next couple races. We’re in a good position with points. I don’t think we’ve got it locked up yet, but we’re certainly in a good position.”
Oakley will attempt to make the field in qualifying on Friday night, which will lock in the top-two qualifiers and set the field for heat races. Saturday’s heat races will commence at 3pm while the 200-lap feature will go green at 8pm. FansChoice.TV and MRN Radio will broadcast the race live.