OXFORD — Joey Polewarczyk Jr., was strong early at the 39th annual TD Bank 250, leading the first 135 laps.

He was stronger when it mattered most Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway, winning the largest one-day stock car race in New England by about a second over Jeff Taylor, the nine-time track champion and Farmington native.

“This is absolutely unbelievable,” Polewarczyk said. “Everything just kind of fell our way. There wasn’t a lot of yellows so it helped us out that way.”

Polewarczyk led for 205 laps and earned $45,500 for the victory, the largest purse since Ralph Nason took home $46,400 in 1998.

Taylor, who built Polewarczyk’s car in 2007, matched the best finish of his long career. He never led but also was never outside the top 10. He started seventh.

“Kind of subdued,” Taylor said. “I guess it’s great to be second. It’s a great day. It will probably sink in a little more as the week goes on.”

Austin Theriault, whose sister, Brittany, is engaged to Polewarczyk, finished third for a second consecutive year. Wayne Helliwell was fourth and Travis Stearns fifth.

Trevor Bayne, a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, finished four laps down and 32nd overall.

Polewarczyk, 23, of Hudson, N.H., won the second of six 20-lap qualifying heats. He dominated from the drop of the green flag, leading the first 135 laps by a more-than-comfortable margin.

Polewarczyk surrendered the lead to Helliwell on a Lap 136 restart off the second of three cautions.

Polewarczyk pitted, took four new tires but dropped to 10th.

“I was starting to get loose,” Polewarczyk said. “I told my guys when I came in, ‘it doesn’t matter, we’ll lose more time if we try to go fast and make a mistake.’ They did everything right. Everything stayed on. I took four tires and we were able to get back to the front and hold on.”

Polewarczyk worked his way back to the front, grabbed the lead on Lap 187, then held off Theriault and Taylor at the finish.

“I could see him,” Taylor said. “Just keep him modest was all I could do.”

Theriault gambled with a late pit stop to take two new tires but ran out of laps.

“The gamble didn’t quite pay off,” Theriault said. “We knew we were going to have to come later and take rights. Luckily the caution came out on (Lap) 208. We gambled and it didn’t quite pay off. We knew we weren’t going to have enough time to get up to Joey.”

It was a tough afternoon for Ben Ashline, the Pittston driver and last season’s pole-sitter.

Ashline, 21, found an outside groove in the fourth qualifying heat and was moving up through the pack when he was bumped off the track coming out of Turn 3 along the backstretch.

“We were going two by two by two,” Ashline said, “and nobody had the lane I wanted so I set out there and was making progress.

“But then I got off the track and once you hit the dirt there’s no slowing down, and we slammed into the wall.”

The car was towed back to the pits, then was loaded into the trailer after the front end damage was deemed too much to repair.

“It’s tough to swallow,” Ashline said. “I’ll spend the next 364 days wondering what I could have done differently.”

Ricky Rolfe earned the pole position after winning the first of six 20-lap qualifying heats from the front row.

 

 


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