One big win can sometimes turn a race car driver’s season around. That was the case for Berwick, Maine’s Joey Doiron this past weekend. Doiron made the trip north of the border to New Brunswick’s Speedway 660 and re-entered the United States late Sunday night $17,700 richer after winning the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250.
Doiron battled fellow New England drivers Cassius Clark and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. throughout much of the 250-lap race. After a round of pit stops, Doiron won the race back through the field, taking the lead on lap 198 and pulling away for the win.
“The three of us were definitely the class of the field,” Doiron said. “Every restart we’d pull away about a straightaway on everybody else. I rode in third pretty much the whole first half of the race. I got to second and battled Cassius for a little bit but there really wasn’t any point in pushing it until the pit stop. I felt like it was going to come down to the three of us.
“Joey (Pole) ended up spinning out when there was a caution and that kind of took him out of the equation. It was going to come down to me and Cassius after the pit stop and it was going to be whoever could get ahead of who. I felt like if he got to the lead first he was going to be real tough to pass but I felt like if we got there we’d be able to pull away. Fortunate enough, we got through the pack a little sooner than he did.”
For Doiron, the win comes during a racing season that he would otherwise like to forget up to this point. Just as he was hitting his stride in the early summer months, Doiron was forced to the sideline with an injury suffered at work. He returned behind the wheel of the No. 73 two weeks ago at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) before entering the Oxford 250 one week ago.
“It’s definitely a huge deal,” Doiron said of his win Sunday night. “I felt like we didn’t really get the finish that we were capable of getting at the (Oxford) 250 the week before. I felt like we were probably the third fastest car behind Wayne and Travis, and our second set of tires were just terrible. It was kind of a letdown there, so it was nice to come back and redeem ourselves and finally get one of these pit stop races.”
By running both 250s in back-to-back weeks, Doiron ran a total of 500 laps in feature races in addition to the laps turned in qualifying and practice for each race. Even for a healthy driver, that task is a feat in itself. But for a driver still recovering from torn tendons and a fractured fibula, it’s even more impressive.
“Oxford wasn’t bad in the car because there’s not a lot of breaking there,” Doiron said of his foot injury. “It still hurts to walk on it. This week, that track had a lot more braking and I could definitely feel it a lot more then. I’ve definitely been able to notice that just by racing the past couple weeks, getting a lot more movement in it has helped. It’s healing a lot faster than they expected. It’s not hurting me, you’ve just got to battle through it sometimes.”
In addition to his driving duties, Doiron has also entered the foray of being a car owner this season. Now with a better understanding for the business side of racing, the 24-year-old racer has found an appreciation for big-money races like the one he won Sunday night.
“It’s definitely the biggest payday we’ve had even with the exchange rate and everything,” Doiron stated. “It’s still a little bit better than the year we finished second in the 250 and (the International 500) at Airborne we had last year.
“It’s huge. There’s not many big paying races that they have up here. We try to go to all of them that we can. You’re not in racing to make money, but when you have the opportunity to do it you’re kind of foolish not to go. I was disappointed that we weren’t able to go to Seekonk when I broke my leg, so it was nice to be able to head up to 660 and take part in the race.”
After winning one of the biggest races of his career, Doiron didn’t have a whole lot of time to celebrate. A long drive, a full week of work and another big race (the PASS 300 at Beech Ridge) lied ahead of the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 winner.
“We went through tech, loaded up and drove straight home for six hours. Go home and get some sleep, get back to work on Tuesday and then try to get ready to go win Beech Ridge.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: John A. Miller Photography