OXFORD – The third time was the charm for Sprint Cup series star Kyle Busch on Sunday night.
Busch became only the second driver from NASCAR’s top division to win the prestigious TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in his third visit to the three-eights mile oval.
“You certainly don’t go into a race thinking a race track owes you anything,” said Busch, who finished sixth in the event in 2005 after having tire problems and placed 22nd in 2006 after blowing an engine. “We have had problems here in the past, but I’ve had fast race cars in the past and it was fun to race here. It’s a neat little racetrack.”
Kevin Harvick, Busch’s Sprint Cup series rival, won the 250 in 2008.
Busch, who started on the inside of row three, led all but three of the last 70 laps. He took the lead for the first time by overtaking Jeff Taylor on Lap 180.
The race for Late Model cars came down to a restart with 16 laps left, following the fifth caution of the race.
Busch took the lead for good when he got in front of Nick Sweet, an American Canadian Tour driver from Barre, Vt., on a restart on Lap 234.
“I was rolling through (turn) three and (Sweet) was getting a little bit antsy to go, and I said, ‘No, not yet, no, not yet’ and then I went,” Busch said. “I don’t think he expected it, and that’s what you’ve got to do on these short tracks.”
Then, Busch held off Sweet for the final 16 laps to seal it.
“This is a place where you have to find lanes to work, and it’s very hard to go low and try to make it work down there,” Sweet said. “(Busch) did exactly what he needed to do to win the race and that’s why he’s a phenom.”
It wasn’t an easy race for Busch.
“It was certainly a lot different than it was (Saturday night),” he said. “We felt like we had to save our tires (Saturday) night, and today we thought we were saving them and these guys were all over me, all over me from the back and checking up from the front. I thought I was doing a good job, and they just ran it hard all race.”
Austin Theriault, a 17-year-old driver from Fort Kent who ran among the leaders the entire race, finished third.
“Top three here is phenomenal,” he said. “Last year, we didn’t even qualify.”
Eddie MacDonald, trying to become only the third driver to win three straight 250s, placed fourth after starting in the 26th position.
Seven-time ACT champion Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., was fifth. Rounding the top 10 were Jeff Taylor of Farmington, John Donahue of Graniteville, Vt., Shawn Martin of Turner, Eric Williams of Hyde Park, Vt., and Quinny Welch of Lancaster, N.H.
The 250-lap race took one hour, 40 minutes to complete.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: