OXFORD — Kyle Busch strolled out of his trailer shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday and checked out his ride for the 38th annual TD Bank 250.

Just hours removed from winning a Pro All Stars Series North Super Late Model race the night before, Busch was eager for Round 2 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

“We’re ready,” he said. “Everything went pretty well (Saturday). We practiced all day and we’re good to go. We started in the back at the heat race and were able to get up there. We got a win in the heat race that got us a good starting position. In the final 30 laps we had to put the hammer down and get what we could get.”

Busch, the latest NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to run the TD Bank 250, smiled.

Indeed, Saturday proved a good night for one of the most polarizing drivers in NASCAR.

As his crew fine-tuned his No. 51 Hood car, Busch shifted his focus to Sunday, which turned out to be a good day as well. Busch led the last 20 laps and won the TD Bank 250.

“Any race is important to win,” he said. “Every race is serious.”

Busch, who is fifth in points in the Sprint Cup series, is nothing but serious. He’s serious about winning. Furthermore, he was serious about winning at Oxford.

Busch, who won the fifth qualifying heat Sunday, made his third appearance in the 250 in the last seven years. He raced here in 2005 (sixth place) and again in 2006 (22nd).

This time around, the controversial driver tested his car more than week before the 250, spending eight hours at the track July 14.

Then came the PASS North race Saturday night before the TD Bank 250 went green Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve always been serious,” Busch said. “I’ve always looked at it that way. It’s how I’ve done my business. We don’t take it lightly. We like to come up here and we like to run well. We want to take the trophy home.

“We had a couple opportunities in the past that we missed out on up here. But we certainly feel good about this one. Any race is important to win because it’s what you are there for. You’re not there to ride around and get what you can get. It’s the same way here.”

Busch has 100 career victories in NASCAR’s top three series — Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup. He won the 2009 Nationwide Series title.

But he’s also been at the center of controversy over the years.

In June 2009, after winning a Nationwide race in Nashville, Tenn., over Dale Earnhardt Jr., Busch took a custom-made guitar trophy and smashed it to pieces. He later called Earnhardt Junior’s fans “crazy.”

Earlier this year, he was cited for speeding in his hometown of Mooresville, N.C., when he was caught driving a Lexus 128 mph in a 45 mph zone. He later apologized.

Busch also was involved with a post-race altercation in early May with Kevin Harvick — the 2008 TD Bank 250 winner — after the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. That incident landed him on probation for four weeks.

In early June, car owner Richard Childress reportedly punched Busch and put him in a headlock after a truck race in Kansas. Childress took exception when Busch bumped one of his cars, driven by Joey Coulture.

“If I had my own way I’d rather be winning races and be pretty quiet,” Busch said. “I don’t need all that B.S. I’m pretty polarizing everywhere, even here at Oxford.”

Indeed, Busch heard some boos Saturday night.

“I get it everywhere,” Busch said. “They’d rather see you in the wall then succeed. But when I do succeed it pretty much shuts them up.”

So, do the jeers provide any extra motivation on the track?

“I don’t need any drive, man,” he said. “I’m a race car driver. I want to win races more than the fans booing me.”

And with that, Busch smiled again.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

 

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.