PHOTO: Trevor Bayne prepares to take his TD Bank 250 car onto Oxford Plains Speedway for a practice run. Bayne, no stranger to short tracks, will hope to utilize that experience to become the third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racer in the past five years to win the 250. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

OXFORD, Maine — Trevor Bayne’s past experiences on short tracks across the country could potentially pay dividends this weekend at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The 21-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor from Knoxville, Tenn., used his brief stint in various regional touring series throughout the United States as a launching pad before being signed to a driver developmental program with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008.

“This is my specialty or forte of racing,” Bayne said. “I have raced on a lot of flat short tracks. Growing up, that’s all I did with Allison Legacy cars for a long time and Hooters Pro Cup; the K&N East Series, so I grew up racing short tracks. Any short track experience will help you out.”

After completing two practice sessions early Saturday afternoon, Bayne compared the famed Oxford oval to the now defunct half-mile Adirondack Speedway in New Bremen, N.Y.

“It’s definitely a track where you’ve got to be on top of the wheel the whole time — you don’t get any breathers,” Bayne said. “It’s a tough place. There are so many things going on with the racecar because there are so many transitions. It just changes a lot throughout a lap. It’s kind of a circle track with a big curb on the inside.”

The 2011 Daytona 500 champion indicated the significant differential in throttle control between his Sprint Cup and Nationwide rides as compared to the American-Canadian Tour-type Late Model on eight-inch tires.

“On eight-inch tires, they move around a lot, but with the horsepower-to-tire ratio, it’s not as bad as you would think,” Bayne said. “You’re slowing down way harder in the corner here where as our races (on the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series) are more wound out and you don’t have to be as careful about getting into the throttle.”

Bayne utilized prominent members of the NASCAR fraternity in an effort to gain knowledge of the track and its prestigious 250-lap event.

“I’ve talked to a couple of guys that have run this race like (Brad) Keselowski and Kyle Busch, and they gave me some advice as to what the track was going to do and how it’s going to be,” Bayne said. “From what I got from everybody is whatever your car is doing in the race, it’s just going to get worse. We’re trying to make some progress, but it’s definitely hard when I’m not used to it.”

The young racer will hope to take advantage of that past experiences and knowledge to become the third NASCAR star in five years to claim the TD Bank 250 trophy.

Bayne and a cast of over 70 Late Model teams from New England, New York, and Canada will begin qualifying for the TD Bank 250 2 p.m. Sunday.