What started out as another season of racing turned into one of the most trying in Joey Doiron’s racing career. After suffering an injury outside of the cockpit in late June, Doiron has played the role of spectator for much of the season, but after surgery, recovery and a whole lot of patience the Berwick, ME driver is back just in time for one of the biggest short track events on the schedule, the Oxford 250.
Doiron has already put time in behind the wheel of his No. 73 Super Late Model this past weekend, but he is ready to return to major touring series competition starting with Friday’s practice at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).
“I’m excited. We went and raced last Saturday at Beech Ridge to just double check everything, didn’t really go to win the race but just get ready for this weekend,” Doiron told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Doiron is still technically on the mend, but that is not stopping him for getting back behind the wheel, despite the severity of the injury he sustained.
“I’d say (I’m) about 80 percent. I just got cleared to walk on it. Definitely a little sore, but I wouldn’t miss this race for anything, so I’m going to do what I have to do. It was kind of a freak accident at work. I was falling and somebody went to catch me and I rolled my ankle twice and it ended up ripping all the tendons off my ankle and fracturing my fibula. They had to do surgery and all that great stuff, but it’s all back together now.”
Doiron has spent much of his time in the garage with the race car, but his injury limited how much he could work on the car for a couple of weeks. In the time since then, Doiron had been able to get his hands dirty and believes his team will have a race-winning piece come Sunday afternoon.
“At first after it happened it was hard because all I could really do was sit back and watch how they were doing stuff, but I’ve been able to be more hands on the last couple of weeks and that’s how I like it. Been working hard at it, still plenty left, but I’m confident. We tested last Friday at Oxford. We were decent, not necessarily a winning car yet but I was happy with how it went. The driver can get a little better, but I think we should have a good shot.”
Since making his first PASS North start at Oxford in 2011, Doiron has been competitive in most the races he’s run, his best being a win in the 150-lap PASS season finale. His three 250 starts have seen brilliant performances from the 73 team. He’s the only driver to lead at least one lap in the last three Oxford 250s, but the luck of carrying the checkered flag has eluded Doiron.
“It’s a humbling race, we’ve been awful close. Last year was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We struggled Friday, Saturday, Sunday qualifying and used our provisional to get in the race. I don’t know what it was but as soon as the race started, we moved forward, got the lead and lead until after the pit stops when we blew up. It kind of takes the wind out of your sails after the two years before, 2014 we were side by side for second with 15 to go and the battery died, and the year before we ran second to Travis (Benjamin).”
With the frustration, comes experience and knowledge, which Doiron hopes he and his team can turn into a $25,000-plus victory on Sunday.
“Definitely have learned in the last couple of years in the race what you can and can’t do. I got to try to be a little more patient after the pit stop, no matter what happens. I know if we have a chance the car will be good enough at the end.”
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com