OXFORD, Maine – The ringer arrived with bells on Thursday, waited out a weekend awash with rain and basked in a deluge of adulation in TD Banknorth 250 Presented By Nee England Dodge Dealers victory lane.

Kevin Harvick won the 35th annual summer classic Monday night, dominating the second half of the event and becoming the first to carry the checkered flag as an active NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.

The 32-year-old California native, a champion of both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, denied runner-up Glen Luce and third-place Joey Polewarczyk Jr. the victory of a lifetime.

Just don't assume with his thick resume that Harvick puts this grass roots short track win in small print.

"This race is a big deal," said Harvick. "You look at the history of it and see names like Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon, and those true short track drivers like Junior Hanley who have won it. Chuck Bown, too. They can keep the check if they want. I wanted that trophy."

Harvick took the lead from early dominator Eddie MacDonald on a lap 126 restart. It followed a mid-race competition caution necessitated by a wet pit road, giving everyone in the field a chance to change tires and refuel safely.

MacDonald battled back to put a fender in front on lap 132 before Harvick dived to the inside and returned the favor, forging ahead to stay.

"Ever since we got here, people have been telling me you've got to run the outside to win the race," Harvick said. "Then all weekend the outside was slow as hell. Finally tonight, after about 60 or 70 laps into the race, it was really good."

Luce was the comeback story of the night.

After racing into a qualified position in both his heat and consolation race, only to fall from the top four due to bizarre circumstances at the end of each, Luce led the second of three 20-lap last chance races to make the starting grid.

He avoided falling a lap down to MacDonald's blistering early pace and then stormed through the field after the mid-race caution. 

Luce crept within about three car lengths with 30 laps remaining before Harvick, seeming to sense that surge, turned up the wick.

"Finishing second to a guy like that is the same as a win for us," said Luce, 40, who has competed regularly at OPS for 20 years.

He embarked on a rookie-of-the-year effort this season on the American-Canadian Tour, where he logged top-five finishes at Airborne International Raceway (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) in May and his home track in June.

"My dad (the late Glen Sr.) raced here in the 1960s. Tracy Gordon is my step-brother. Mike Rowe is my ex-father-in-law," Luce said. "It's a lot of tradition. We love this place. We just wanted to do something different this year, go to some different places and get some experience in these long races, and I think it paid off tonight."

Polewarczyk, who won the Dunkin' Donuts ACT 150 here last month, led two laps and ran in the top five all evening.

He fell two spots shy of becoming the second teenager to win the TD Banknorth 250. Tom Rosati was the same age, 19, when he prevailed in 1979.

"To be here at my age in this race is pretty unbelievable," Polewarczyk said. "We tried to make it for the first time last year and didn't even qualify."

Shawn Martin was fourth for his best career finish in the 250, followed by two-time race champion Ben Rowe.

Nicholas Sweet ventured into the top three before settling for sixth, followed by Brent Dragon, MacDonald, Dennis Spencer Jr. and Randy Potter.

MacDonald led 120 of the first 132 laps, cashing in $12,000 in lap leader bonus money.

Tommy Ricker and Scott Robbins each briefly led the event before MacDonald took over on lap 6.

Harvick started 11th. He's the third consecutive driver to win the 250 in his initial start, following Jeremie Whorff in 2006 and Roger Brown in 2007.

"I won't be back next year, but I would love to come back," Harvick said. "We always try to go to new tracks in parts of the country where we haven't been, so that's what we'll try to do next year. But I can't say enough about the way that we've been treated or these fans who stayed all weekend. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger crowd at a track on a Monday night."

For only the third time in its proud history, the TD Banknorth 250 was not held on its scheduled day. Only five heat races were contested Sunday before intermittent, day-long rains turned torrential and halted the show.

Monday's qualifying started at 2 p.m. and was complete at 4 o'clock, only to have another 3 1/2-hour rain delay muddle the works.

Bown's win in 1986 also was held on a Monday night.

Two local features wrapped up the intense, unforgettable weekend shortly before the clock turned to Tuesday. Butch Keene (Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock) and Joe Hutter (Allen's Strictly Stock) each celebrated their first win of the season.

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Glen Luce
3. Joey Polewarczyk Jr.
4. Shawn Martin
5. Ben Rowe
6. Nicholas Sweet
7. Brent Dragon
8. Eddie MacDonald
9. Dennis Spencer Jr.
10. Randy Potter
11. Brad Leighton
12. Scott Payea
13. Larry Gelinas
14. Bill Whorff Jr.
15. Jeff White
16. Derek Ramstrom
17. Eric Williams
18. Rick Thompson Jr.
19. Joey Becker
20. T.J. Watson
21. Karl Allard
22. Roger Brown
23. Scott Luce
24. Daren Ripley
25. Carey Martin
26. Scott Robbins
27. Ricky Rolfe
28. Dale Verrill
29. John Donahue
30. Phil Scott
31. Quinny Welch
32. Ricky Morse
33. Jean Paul Cyr
34. Jeremie Whorff
35. Patrick Laperle
36. Kurt Hewins
37. Cris Michaud
38. Dave MacDonald
39. Travis Adams
40. Corey Morgan
41. Tommy Ricker