The TD Banknorth 250 is without a doubt the highlight of New England Late Model racing. It is not often that the number of cars failing to make the race is higher than the number that do. This is why many say that qualifying alone is worth the price of admission.

Last year, 96 drivers made an attempt to qualify for one of 40 starting positions.

The qualifying format for the TD Banknorth 250 consists of heat races, consolation races and multiple last chance races. It is possible for a driver to qualify by virtue of placing in the top four of his 20 lap heat race, or, for the less fortunate, run 60 laps without ever making the show. Below is the qualifying procedure for the TD Banknorth 250.

THE DRAW

Determines starting position in Heat race

Each driver’s name is added to a list when they roll their cars through pre-race inspection. That list is used to determine the order of “The Draw.” A member from each team must plunge their fingers into a bucket containing up to 150 numbered chips … a simple task that could mean the difference between sitting in the driver’s seat, or the grandstands.

6 HEAT RACES

Top 4 Qualify (positions 1-24)

Heat races are an intense and nerve-wracking experience. One 20-lap race will set the tone for your day. Finish in the top four and you have a few hours to prepare for one of the biggest races of your life. Fail to do so and chances are you’ll be scrambling up until the main event.

3 CONSOLATION RACES

Top 4 Qualify (positions 25-36)

No driver wants to stare the Last Chance Qualifier in the face knowing they must win to get in. TD Banknorth 250 consolations will put every bit of your driving ability through the ultimate test of skill and determination. Expect to see plenty of paint-swapping and torn sheet metal as these races are not intended for the faint of heart.

3 LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS

Only the winner qualifies (positions 37-39)

Talk about pressure. It’s a race where second-place will earn you a seat in the grandstands. The winner is presented with a buyout option at the end: Take a $1,500 check and a seat in the stands or start at the rear of the field. And don’t count out the winner of this race. The 2005 last chance winner, Mike Rowe, became the first driver to take full advantage and win the main event, earning $26,000. 2002 victor Alan Wilson placed fourth in the big show, taking home $6,000. Ricky Craven and Tracy Gordon also have led the main event after winning the non-qualifiers’ transfer spot.


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