“It on Saturday last year, and we weren't practicing that much with our car.,” said Dragon, who has an Oxford 250 pole and a fourth-place finish in the race over the last three seasons. “Donnie and David (Avery) came over and said their driver wasn't here and they needed someone to take the car out and just let them know if it was fairly close on the setup.
“I was in it maybe a total of five laps, but after I got out of the car I said to my guys, 'I'd really like to know what they have in that car. I could win the race in that car.' It felt that good. Just everything about it was positive.”
Dragon walked away from the weekend telling the Avery Motorsports team that if they ever had any hole year put together. This is our big race for the year. We've got to do well in it.
“I've always been pretty lucky to do as well as we have in this race, but I can't say I've ever had as good of car as I've had here this year.”
The reasons for the quality equipment at Avery Motorsports are many. Dragon credits a full complement of help at the race track on race day, as well as the efforts of car builder and 9-time Oxford Plains Speedway track champion Jeff Taylor at Distance Racing.
Even when he's run his own car a few times this season – in a brand new Distance chassis – Dragon said he's seen the difference.
“Ninety percent of it goes back to Jeff,” Dragon said. “Jeff really has Oxford figured out really well, and he's helped us with everything. We've worked a lot together, and he's given us a basic setup to go with – and we've only tweaked it a little bit here and there.”
With nearly 90 cars expected to try and qualify for the main event, most drivers point to the luck of the draw, qualifying and avoiding misfortune as keys to their Oxford 250 day. Dragon, though, takes a different approach.
“If I don't qualify, I obviously don't have much of a chance of winning the race,” Dragon said. “If you're there and worrying about whether you're going to qualify, you're not going to have a shot at winning the race. That's just my opinion.
“We're going there to run up front. We're going to try and win, not just make it through qualifying.”
And getting a victory would mean a tremendous amount to Dragon – whose name is synonymous with northern New England racing, despite no Dragon ever winning the Oxford 250.
“We've been pretty fortunate,” Dragon said. “I've won all the other big races – the New England 300, the Milk Bowl, the Memorial Day Classic. We've won all of those, but if I could just have this one, it would be a pretty successful career.
“It's a tough one to win – so many cars, so many good cars – but someone's got to win it. I think we have a good a chance as anybody.”