OXFORD – Oxford native Dennis Spencer Jr. pondered the question, then laughed it off quicker than a stock car coming out of Turn 4 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Do you ever get star-struck by the presence of NASCAR drivers at the annual TD Bank 250?

“No,” he said, with more than just a hint of disgust in his voice. “No, definitely not. It’s just another car on the track.”

The 37th annual TD Bank 250 gets under way today, with qualifying at the three-eighths mile oval track scheduled at 2 p.m.

The race, slated to start at 6:30, can pay out more than $30,000 to the winner.

Like many before it, the 250 will feature yet another NASCAR Sprint Cup driver in Brad Keselowski, who races for Penske Motorsports.

Keselowski leads the Nationwide Series in points and is 26th in the Sprint Cup standings.

Sprint Cup regulars Matt Kenseth, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kenny Wallace all have competed in the 250 in recent years. Only Harvick in 2008 has gone home with a victory.

“It means a lot to be able to win that race,” said Eddie MacDonald, the reigning champ. “It’s a difficult race to win.”

MacDonald, with victories in his last three starts at OPS, is among the favorites to take the checkered flag.

However, as Joey Polewarczyk Jr. found out last season, it’s not easy coming in favored to win the biggest race in Maine.

Polewarczyk Jr., of Hudson, N.H., finished third in the 2008 race and was favored to win it last year. But it didn’t happen, as he struggled to a 15th-place finish.

“It was definitely cool to have everyone watching you and have everyone picking you to win the biggest race in the whole Northeast,” he said. “It was an honor to have people pick you, but it also adds more pressure to you because you know everyone is looking at you. I think this year everyone will pick Eddie.

“Hopefully we can kind of be like the underdog and come in and sneak away with it. I like to be the one on everyone’s mind, but not their first pick; that way we can sneak in there and take the show.”

The ‘show’ will also feature Jeffrey Earnhardt, the grandson of the legendary Dale Earnhardt. Earnhardt competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.

Spencer said the Oxford regulars will hold one advantage, albeit a slight one, over their NASCAR counterparts.

“You might have a little advantage knowing what the car will do at night,” said Spencer, who’s won two of the last three Late Model points races at OPS. “You might know what the track might do at times, but besides that there’s no real advantage.”

OPS President Bill Ryan Jr. said Thursday that he expects at least 70 cars to enter the field, although it’s possible the number could push past 80.

Most drivers will have to earn their way into the field through qualifying, consolation and last chance races.

As for race strategy, Polewar-czyk said patience is pivotal.

“Being patient for the first 100 or 125 laps is key,” said Polewarczyk, who competes full time on the American-Canadian Tour. “The first 125 laps everyone will be the same. The real winner will prove himself by the halfway point. People will start to use themselves up and start to fade away.

“The real winner will step up halfway through and show their true colors.”

Added MacDonald: “You have to have a good base setup. We’ll spend (three) days working on the car just trying to get the right setup for it.”