Monday, March 10, 2014
By BILL STEWART Kennebec Journal
OXFORD - Trevor Bayne wasn't sure what to expect when qualifying for the 39th annual TD Bank 250 began early Sunday afternoon at Oxford Plains Speedway.
He found out quickly.
"Those guys were roughing it up," said Bayne, 21, the 2011 Daytona 500 champ. "Looks like you have to bang some fenders up here."
Bayne finished fifth in the fifth of six 20-lap qualifying heats. The top four in each advanced. Bayne later qualified during a consolation heat.
"The other races looked clean," he said. "Everybody wanted to wear a cape and be a hero. Everybody wanted to pass me. It's OK, though; it's short-track racing."
TWO-TIME TD Bank 250 winner Eddie MacDonald arrived in Oxford shortly after 8:30 a.m. after driving in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
"We left Columbus at 10:30 and drove to Pittsburgh," said MacDonald, of Rowley, Mass. "We got there by 1:30 in the morning and I slept until 3:30. Then we got up and flew to Maine. It was a little bit hectic."
MacDonald is one of the eight drivers who have won multiple TD Bank 250s, in 2009 and '10.
He finished 10th at the Jegs 150 on Saturday night. "We got up to eighth but kind of struggled," said MacDonald, who still won a qualifying heat Sunday.
JOEY POLEWARCZYK JR., of Hudson, N.H., the 250 winner, was among a handful of drivers pulling double duty at the track this weekend.
Polewarczyk competed in the Pro All Stars North 150 on Saturday night.
"I know the 250 car a lot better," Polewarczyk said. "I'm a lot more comfortable in this car."
Polewarczyk, who finished 19th in the PASS North feature, easily qualified for the 250 by winning the second qualifying heat.
"That was huge," he said. "Qualifying early saves the car and tires. Doing both, it took a little bit out of me but I learned more about the track this way. We really got a good feeling for the track as the day went along. It helped to do both, especially on this track."
JEFF BURGESS, the defending Unity Raceway Late Model points champ, was back at Oxford Plains for his first 250 since he finished 37th in 2002.
"It's the first time in 10 years I've done this," said Burgess, a Fairfield native.
It was an eventful weekend for Burgess, who needed to swap out his aluminum transmission Saturday for a metal one to comply with track rules.
"I haven't had to do this much work on the track in awhile," Burgess said. "It was good, actually. We got it together."