Cup Type Atmosphere Surrounds TD Banknorth 250 by Mike Twist
NASCAR Star Harvick Wins Maine Late Model Race....and It's a Big Deal to Him
“Delana's father came up here several times and never made the race,” said Harvick.  “That was one of the reasons that we came up here.  There were so many great stories that they had as a family traveling up and down the coast coming up here to race.  So there were a lot of good reasons to come up here.”

Harvick didn't find that the race was easy pickings either.  First, like everyone else in attendance, he had to endure numerous rain delays that moved their race from Sunday to Monday night.  When the race finally started, he watched as Eddie MacDonald dominated the first part of the race.  After a halfway break to safely allow teams to make pit stops on a wet pit road, Harvick and MacDonald went at it for the top spot and after some great racing and crossover moves, Harvick took command on lap 133.

“We were passing and doing all kinds of fun stuff.,” said Harvick.  “The #17 [MacDonald]
and I had a really good race there in the first part of the second half.  That was a lot of

Less than 25 laps later, MacDonald made his last stand against Harvick on a restart,
but Harvick had picked up a few things during the race and motored ahead for good….
a little too good at first.

“I got brave enough to start shifting,” said Harvick.  “I'd go up to third on the restarts and
I don't think anyone else was shifting.  That got me in trouble the first time.  I guess that
there's a line across the racetrack where you have to stay even.  I didn't know about that.”

Harvick wouldn't give up the lead after that, but he had a few close pursuers.

First came 19-year-old Joey Pole.  Like Harvick, Pole was making his first Oxford 250
start.  Unlike Harvick, the ACT Late Model standout didn't have years of big league racing experience to help him.

He did however a pretty good knowledge of the Oxford track, and Pole knew that the high side was often the quickest way around the joint.
“That was really the only place that I could run,” said Pole.  “I could run on the bottom, but if I stayed there, we wouldn't have finished third.  I'd pick up a push coming off the corner.  I wanted to take care of my tires.  The car really dug up there.”
Harvick learned a little bit from watching his younger competitor in the mirror.

“I was on the bottom and he was catching me,” said Harvick.  “So I knew that I needed to go up there and try it or I'd get passed.  Luckily, I saw what he was doing and figured out the outside was ok.  They've told me from the day that I got here that I needed to run the outside and from the day that I got here, the outside was slow as hell [for me].  Then 70 laps into the race, the outside was right there.”

Pole would fade slightly in the closing laps and eventually finish third.  That just gave Harvick another driver to worry about in the form of Glen Luce.
Harvick (#29) and Joey Pole (#97) race in tight quarters.

The TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) is a short track classic that in many ways has the feel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.  Fans camp out all weekend and fill five different camping areas at the track.  Local businesses cart out those famous “Welcome Race Fans” signs all around town.  Newspapers and television stations that don't normally devote much time and space to racing are out in force.  There are crowds and winner's purses that both run into the five figures and if it rains (like it did this year), a Monday make-up date is used instead of rescheduling the race until sometime on another weekend.
And for the 35th annual TD Banknorth 250, there was something else that gave the event a Cup-like feel to it.  That was the appearance of a guy named Kevin Harvick in victory lane.

At first glance, you might think that winning the 250 would be small potatoes for a guy who has won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.  While many fendered racers in New England have grown up just dreaming of qualifying for the race someday, Harvick hasn't grown up in the shadows of the event.  He's not someone like Shawn Martin or Travis Adams who race at OPS week in and week out, treating the 250 weekend like Christmas in July…or Ricky Rolfe, who has been fast year in and year out only to have bad luck raise its ugly head and keep him from victory lane in his biggest race of the year…or Canadian Patrick Laperle who has crossed over from the Pro Stock to Late Model era of the 250 without losing a step, or shedding any of his own bad luck either. 

Those guys, and dozens upon dozens of other ones who towed to Oxford this weekend “get” the 250.  They know what it is all about.  They know the history and they dream of the glory associated with a victory in it.

It turns out though that even though he was born and raised in California and now makes his home in North Carolina, Harvick understands the aura of the 250 as well.
“This race is a big deal,” said Harvick.  “When you look back at the record books of this race, you see Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon and a lot of the short track racers like Junior Hanley who made short track racing what it is.  Guys like Chuck Bown…I could sit here and go on and on.”

Harvick also has a little bit of family history to help with his perspective of the race.  His late Father-in-Law, John Linville, entered the 250 years ago, but came home empty-handed.
After a final rain delay, the 35th Annual TD Banknorth 250 got underway with Eddie MacDonald's #17 in the lead early in the event.  (Leif Tilotson Photos)
Luce, a former Oxford Late Model regular, was counted out by many all weekend long after needing to advance to the 250 through a Last Chance race.  But those in the know didn't discount him too much.  After all, Luce has years of experience at the track, has finished in the top five at an Oxford ACT race and has gained valuable long-race experience as a rookie on the ACT Late Model tour this year.

Late in the race, Luce came on strong enough to worry Harvick.

“I thought that he was going to finish first there for awhile.,” said Harvick.  “He kept getting bigger in the mirror.”

So once again, Harvick made a few adjustments to his own style.

“I thought that the #7 was going to catch us.  So I started running in the middle of the track and started picking up a little bit of ground,” he said.
Harvick crosses the finish line for the 250.
But would Luce have enough time to run down and catch Harvick?  It looked close.  Then a caution came out for a spin by Ricky Rolfe with just two laps to go.  This looked like it could be Luce's big chance.  After all, he had been gaining on Harvick.  The fans got excited, the tension rose…but in the end, the late race caution might have helped Harvick more than Luce.

“That caution was good for us because the right rear tire was getting pretty hot,” said Harvick.  “For me, I'm not using to pacing myself like that.  I was going as fast as the car would go and that probably wasn't the right thing to do tonight as good as the car was.  Luckily though, everything worked out in the end.

“The car was definitely better on shorter runs.  If we had gone 100 laps, I don't know that it would have been the best car.”

“I knew that I might be good for two laps on cold tires,” said Luce.  “The car tightened up after
that.  So I took what I could.  On a long green, I might have had something for him because
on a long green, I might have got him.  His right rear was gone.  He said that I was getting
bigger in his mirror and I was trying!”

Finishing as a runner-up in the 250 wasn't at all a disappointment to Luce.

“I feel like I won it,” said Luce.  “We didn't, we finished second.  But with the resources that
Kevin Harvick has, to finish second…I really feel blessed.”

Finishing behind the trio of Harvick, Luce and Pole were Oxford regular Shawn Martin and
jack-of-all-trades racer Ben Rowe. 

ACT rookie Nick Sweet, ACT veteran Brent Dragon, Camping World East Series driver
Eddie MacDonald, Oxford long-time Dennis Spencer and ACT regular Randy Potter rounded
out the top 10 finishers.

Stay tuned for's Leftovers from the 35th Annual TD Banknorth 250.

Fin. (Start) No., driver, hometown * , laps completed, purse

* - Hometown is in Maine unless otherwise noted

1. (11) #29 Kevin Harvick, Bakersfield, Calif., 345, $37,300
2. (38) #7ME Glen Luce, Turner, 345, $12,500
3. (9) #97 Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H., 345, $7,700
4. (25) #94Shawn Martin, Turner, 345, $6,000
5. (17) #10 Ben Rowe, Turner, 345, $5,000
6. (19) #88 Nicholas Sweet, Barre, Vt., 345, $4,000
7. (27) #55VT Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt., 345, $3,500
8. (3) #17 Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., 345, $15,000
9. (21) #95 Dennis Spencer Jr., Oxford, 345, $2,500
10. (32) #02NH Randy Potter, Groevton, N.H., 345, $2,400
11. (4) #55NH Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, N.H., 345, $2,300
12. (22) #89 Scott Payea, Milton, Vt., 345, $2,200
13. (18) #37 Larry Gelinas, Scarborough, 345, $2,100
14. (23) #0 Bill Whorff Jr., West Bath, 345, $2,050
15. (12) #50 Jeff White, Winthrop, 345, $2,000
16. (14) #02MA Derek Ramstrom, West Boylston, Mass., 345, $1,850
17. (6) #7VT Eric Williams, Hyde Park, Vt., 345, $1,750
18. (10) #8 Rick Thompson Jr., Derby, Vt., 345, $1,700
19. (31) #16 Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, Vt., 344, $1,650
20. (13) #04 T.J. Watson, Harpswell, 344, $1,600
21. (24) #48QC Karl Allard, St. Felicien, Quebec, 344, $1,550
22. (15) #24ME Roger Brown, Lancaster, N.H., 344, $1,525
23. (37) #07 Scott Luce, Strong, 343, $1,500
24. (33) #70 Daren Ripley, Appleton, 343, $1,450
25. (5) #18 Carey Martin, Denmark, 343, $1,425
26. (1) #72 Scott Robbins, Dixfield, 342, $1,700
27. (40) #51 Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, 342, $1,375
28. (16) #56 Dale Verrill, Paris, 342, $1,350
29. (30) #26VT John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt., 340, $1,325
30. (28) #14 Phil Scott, Montpelier, Vt., 338, $1,300
31. (36) #98 Quinny Welch, Lancaster, N.H., 332, $1,275
32. (35) #29x Ricky Morse, St. Albans, 301, $1,250
33. (39) #32 Jean Paul Cyr, Milton, Vt., 280, $1,225
34. (41) #00 Jeremie Whorff, West Bath, 213, $1,200
35. (7) #91 Patrick Laperle, St. Denis, Quebec, 201, $1,150
36. (26) #96 Kurt Hewins, Leeds, 172, $1,125
37. (8) #6VT Cris Michaud, Montpelier, Vt., 140, $1,125
38. (34) #69 Dave MacDonald, New Gloucester, 103, $1,125
39. (20) #03E Travis Adams, Canton, 64, $1,125
40. (29) #26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston, 62, $1,125
41. (2) #6 Tommy Ricker, Poland, 22, $1,325

Green flag lap leaders: Ricker 1-2, Robbins 3-5, E. MacDonald 6-52, Polewarczyk 53-54, E. MacDonald 55-126, Harvick 127-131, E. MacDonald 132, Harvick 133-250.
Caution flags: 13 for 95 laps
Lead changes: 7, among 5 drivers
Time of race: 2 hours, 48 minutes, 55.609 seconds
Margin of victory: 0.536 seconds
Heat winners: Robbins, Ricker, E. MacDonald, Leighton, C. Martin, Williams.
Consolation winners: S. Martin, Hewins, Dragon.
Last chance winners: S. Luce, G. Luce, Cyr.

"Happy" Harvick in victory lane.