OXFORD — Make that two for two for the ringer.

One night after winning a Pro All Stars Series North race at Oxford Plains Speedway, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch returned to the track and put on a memorable show, winning the 38th annual TD Bank 250 in dramatic fashion.

Busch becomes the second NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to win Maine’s most prestigious race in three years — Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag here in 2008.

And after pleasing his supporters with an impressive burnout, Busch — one of the most controversial drivers in NASCAR — then addressed the crowd, saying “to all you booers, you can go home crying.”

Nick Sweet, who pushed Busch in the final 10 laps, finished second. Austin Theriault, 17, of Fort Kent finished third.

Two-time defending TD Bank 250 champ Eddie MacDonald was fourth while American-Canadian Tour points leader Brian Hoar was fifth.

“These guys were all over me,” Busch said. “They ran it hard all race long.”

Jeff Taylor of Farmington came in sixth after leading much of the latter part of the race.

Pittston native Ben Ashline, who started on the pole, had car problems late and finished 30th.

Busch ran in the top five for most of the race, which had just five cautions. He led 65 of the last 70 laps.

“He did exactly what he needed to do,” Sweet said of Busch.

Busch briefly held the lead late before Taylor stormed past him on lap 125.

However, Taylor got caught up high four laps later, allowing Busch to once again grab the lead. The fifth caution came with 16 laps left, and Busch seized momentum and the race when he came out hard off the restart.

“I was rolling through (turn) three and (Sweet) was antsy to go,” Busch said. “I said, ‘not yet, not yet.’ Then I went.”

Busch, who was racing at his third 250 in seven years, never relinquished the lead.

He finished sixth in 2005 and 22nd in 2006.

“I’ve had my share of problems at the track,” Busch said. “But I have fun racing here. It’s a neat little track.”

Ashline led the first 12 laps before Winthrop native Jeff White surged ahead on lap 13. White, who had a fast car all day beginning in practice, held the lead for 45 laps before surrendering it to Sweet.

White’s night came to an abrupt end when he had a flat tire with more than 75 laps left in the race. He finished 35th.

Busch, meanwhile, sat patiently in fourth or fifth place for the first 60 laps.

Ashline started at the pole after an impressive victory in the first qualifying heat.

He started ninth but worked his way up through the crowd to take the checkered flag and the pole position.

“To hear them call my name at the pole for the 250, it’s just awesome,” Ashline said. “I’m speechless. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I will take this with me to my grave.”

Ashline acknowledged that he was prepared to race his way into the field though a series of consolation heats after drawing the ninth starting position.

“I knew I had my work cut out for me,” he said. “There’s nothing more I wanted than to start at the pole. I started ninth and knew we had a long ways to go.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

 

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