Kaffel set for return to Oxford Plains Speedway on September 12
Work schedule, college prep consumed driver all summer

RAYMOND, Maine (Sept. 2, 2020) — Sometimes, for even the most talented and determined racers, life gets in the way of pursuing their dreams. Business demands and furthering one’s education are often cited as key factors, but first and foremost, a man has to do what it takes to grow and prosper.

Weekly short track racing is, after all, for most at least, just a hobby. There are other priorities.

For 18-year-old Ivan Kaffel, the summer of 2020 was going to be filled with promise. Yet as the global pandemic began to shut down the short track industry, he wisely shifted his attention. 

Kaffel works for VIP Tires & Service, a growing business opening five additional new stores to the already 60 locations that VIP owns today. The new locations will be in Keene, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont; Brookline, Massachusetts; Worcester, Massachusetts, and another in Vermont.

“I realized I wasn’t going to be able to just hang around for the summer with COVID-19 coming around,” Kaffel said. “So I hopped on board at VIP and got to work. It helped me mature a lot and get into the real world.”

It wasn’t just the virus scare and a wide-open work schedule at VIP that kept Kaffel away from the ovals this year. Getting ready for college took a fair amount of time, as well, another top priority. 

“In July, I found out I wasn’t going to be on campus at Southern New Hampshire University,” Kaffel added. “So I had to get prepared to take my first college semester online and from my own home. I had to make sure I was connecting with professors and getting the materials I’ll need to succeed in my first year of college.”

Team owner Rob Kaffel is excited about his son’s return to the historic western Maine oval. 

“I’m glad Ivan will finally have some time to race our new car,” he said. “He works for me five or six days a week, plus getting ready for college. He’s been super busy, and this whole virus thing sort of held us back for a while. But now we’re anxious to get back out there and give it our best shot.” 

Kaffel won his first SLM feature at Oxford on July 14, 2018, and earned two top-fives in 2019. 

When Kaffel hits the track to make his 2020 Super Late Model debut, he’ll do so in a brand new car from Crazy Horse Racing, in Paris, Maine. Kaffel’s pristine new ride was one of the first new Port City Racing chassis built last fall, the same brand of chassis that just won the 47th Oxford 250.

Along with Johnny Clark’s huge win in last Sunday’s 250, Port City cars have also been strong in other parts of the region. Earlier this summer, Maine native Mike Hopkins won the Mountain Masters feature at Jennerstown Speedway in southwestern Pennsylvania. Port City cars are solid.

Oxford Plains Speedway hosts the most competitive weekly field of asphalt Super Late models in the country. To compete on the storied 3/8-mile oval against the veterans is like taking on a giant.

“There’s always a ton of good cars at Oxford any time we unload,” Kaffel added. “You don’t go out and beat those guys without having everything come together just right. It all has to go your way, and we’re hoping that despite our late start, we can make a strong showing on September 12.”