The 2016 racing was a year of change for Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. Following a full decade of running Late Models full time on the American-Canadian Tour, he focused his own driving efforts on the team’s Super Late Model program. Now, with his native New England stuck in the middle of Winter, “Joey Pole” seeks to get an early start on the 2017 season as he sets his GPS for Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) and the PASS Winter Meltdown on February 4.
“We’re looking forward to it, it’s pretty cold up here and the middle of the offseason in the North,” Polewarczyk told Speed51.com. “It’s going to be pretty cool to go down there. I feel like our Super Late Model program was going pretty well last year, so I can’t wait to go down and see how we stack up.”
This will be the first trip to Dillon for the Hudson, New Hampshire driver whose limited trips down South include the two ACT appearances at the World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) in 2011 and 2015, as well as scattered trips for Super and Pro Late Model contests, including an attempt at the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway (FL) in 2014.
Heading to Dillon, Polewarczyk is only worried about having a good time despite the lack of notes and experience his team has at the track.
“I’ve watched some videos on YouTube, but we’ll just get there, get practicing and learn it as we go,” he explained. “Hopefully we get acclimated quick. But it’s going to be a good time to get out of the snow and have some fun.”
After a decade of running the ACT and their spec Late Models fulltime, Joey Pole upped his SLM program from a few scattered starts a year to a semi-regular schedule in 2016. The season proved to be a success as he recorded his first three career wins in PASS North, while finishing fifth in the prestigious Oxford 250. It was a season full of highpoints in what Polewarczyk considers a breakout year.
“We focused so much on building ACT cars and running ACT races, we always just dabbled running Super Late Models, it wasn’t our main focus,” he said. “Last year we did things a little differently. We started our driver development deal with the ACT car and I focused on racing the Super Late Model. I feel like it was a breakthrough year. We were superfast, we got some wins, and most importantly, my comfort level working with the Super Late Models, bump-stops and all that stuff. I feel like I got better at it than I had in the past. This is definitely the most prepared we’ve ever been before to go down and do a Southern race.”
At present, the No. 97 team has not committed to any other Southern races, but plans to look at the schedule on a race-by-race basis, including possibly competing in the other two races in the southern region that comprise the PASS National championship. He is pretty sure that at one time or another, they will hit the road again.
“We’re not ruling it out, we’ll see how this one goes,” Polewarczyk explained. “If it goes well then maybe we’ll go after it. It’s just one race at a time right now, but I think you’ll see us down South more than once this year. I think it’s cool to go around and run with the guys you see on Speed51. Like last year, I got to race with Dalton Seargant a couple times, and you see his name all around. It’s cool to move around a little bit.”
Joey Pole is also planning to run another semi-fulltime schedule in PASS North for 2017 but will most likely not run the full schedule. He remains focused on the team’s ACT driver development program entering its second season. The team expects to announce the details of the program for 2017 in the coming weeks.
-Story by Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com