Motor Sports Notebook: Polewarczyk calls his shot
HUDSON'S Joey Polewarczyk Jr. said going into last Sunday's Oxford 250 that this year might be his best shot yet of winning the prestigious event at Oxford Plains Speedway.
He called that one correctly.
Polewarczyk went out and dominated the race and joined the likes of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Craven, Eddie MacDonald and Dave Dion on the impressive list of winners of the 250.
“Rarely do you get a car as good as that one was on Sunday,” Polewarczyk said last week. “It was perfect.”
He knew it early on. His team had tested well at the track and had run well in an American Canadian Tour race there leading up to the 250.
He ran well in the heat race and they adjusted some things after that to allow for how the track might change during the race and he and the team hit everything just right.
“It all worked,” Polewarczyk said.
He was on the outside pole at the start and quickly grabbed the lead. After slipping back during a pit stop to about 12th, he started to march back through the field and eventually passed Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover to retake the lead and then held off Jeff Taylor for the win.
“I saw the white flag and I was pretty excited,” Polewarczyk said. “I wanted to make it that one more lap. I looked in the mirror and saw I had a pretty good gap on Jeff. It was unbelievable. It didn't really sink in until probably the next day when I started getting all the phone calls and stuff.”
He led 205 laps and collected a check for $45,500 for the win.
Well, the check was in the mail.
“We haven't got the real check yet,” Polewarczyk said.
He won't be splurging and doing any major celebrating with the payoff, which he heard was the fifth or sixth largest in the 39-year history of the 250.
“I probably won't see much of it,” he said. “This is an expensive sport and any time you can go into the black in the racing account it's a good thing. Most of it will go back in there.”
Attention turned in short order to the second half of the ACT season, which is Polewarczyk's primary focus.
Polewarczyk and Co. were headed back to Maine this weekend and planning to race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday night in the sixth of 10 ACT points race on the season. The 250 was not a points race in the series.
Helliwell Jr. led the standings through the first five races and Polewarczyk was second, followed by Vermont's Brian Hoar, who has owned the series in recent years. Austin Theriault of Maine was fourth.
Next up after Beech Ridge are a pair of races in Quebec at Sanair Super Speedway on Aug. 11 and Circuit Riverside Speedway on Aug. 25.
Polewarczyk thinks the championship race may well come down to the last race of the season at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Oct. 6.
“I honestly think it will come down right to the wire,” he said. “Brian has struggled a little bit lately but it's not going to take them long to come back. Austin has been tough every race and Wayne has been tough every race.”
Polewarczyk — who got engaged to Theriault's sister, Brittany, on July 3 — has been tough, too, and takes the confidence born of a big win into the second half.
He and his team took a little time, but just a little, to savor the victory in the 250.
“We stayed at the track a little bit with the crew and hung out,” Polewarczyk said. “But it was late and everyone wanted to get home.”
He got to bed by about 2:30 Monday morning and reported to work at the family's shop, Pole's Automotive, by 7:30 a.m.
No rest for the winner.
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Polewarczyk will run in the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 22 that is part of the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup weekend and still hopes to land a ride in the K&N Pro Series East race that day.
He was at NHMS a couple of weeks ago for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup weekend, helping Londonderry's Steve Dickey, who made his Whelen Modified Tour debut.
Dickey, 30, started 33rd and finished 23rd in the race and said it's probably 50-50 whether he will be back to race in the Modified race at NHMS on Sept. 22.
“It was a great experience and I had a lot of great help and great sponsors,” Dickey said. “We didn't tear things up and that was a positive. I have a lot of learning to do. I pretty much did the setup on the car and that's not my forte. I was a little out to lunch on that.”
Dickey does most of his racing at Star (in Epping), Lee USA Speedway and Hudson and said if he does go back to NHMS for the Modified race he would like to be competitive.
“Hopefully I can go back with newer, better equipment,” he said. “I don't mind driving around once, but I don't want to drive around twice. The car was a little bit off, but we were actually on the lead lap to about lap 70 and then had a right front tire go down.”
Allen Lessels covers motor sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.