Saturday was a day that Joey Polewarczyk and his family have long worked for since becoming champion on the ACT Late Model Tour, becoming a Pro Stock/Super Late Model titlist. All Joey Pole needed in the season finale of the 2020 Granite State Pro Stock Series at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT) was a solid race run over 100 laps. If only it were that simple for the Hudson, New Hampshire native.
Starting second and leading early on, “Joey Pole” fell back into the middle of the Top 5, but eventually rose back up on multiple restarts until only one driver lay in front of him, Angelo Belsito.
Belsito, a Seekonk Speedway (MA) home driver, also has wins at the Speedbowl in his Legend Car days, and was hungry for his third win of 2020. Protecting the inside line, Polewarczyk found that he could run fast on the outside, and went on the prowl for his second win of the year, and fourth at Waterford after a trio of ACT Tour victories.
Just like a month ago at Star Speedway (NH), it was two drivers fighting for every inch, with Polewarczyk once again on the outside and Belsito on the inside this time instead of Derek Griffith. In the end, it was another side by side duel across the line, with Polewarczyk winning by 0.103 seconds.
“That was fun. A photo finish like that twice in one year, it was good, hard racing. Angelo ran me really hard but I respect the way he ran me. Wow, what a finish. What a day, winning a championship, winning the race in that fashion. It’s such an awesome track. I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless,” said Polewarczyk in victory lane.
With the attrition that had taken place throughout the field, Polewarczyk had been able to take the gloves off for the final battle.
“We could be a little bit riskier but really, with the way these cars are they get tighter as the race goes on. Angelo was probably a little bit better than us but if I could pinch him down there I’d have a shot. Earlier in the race I was hesitant to stay out there but I kept it up there at the end.”
For Belsito, there was great disappointment, but was also pleased that both cars made it to the end through all the hard racing over the final 10 laps.
“Joey did what he had to do there to win, he’s been doing this for a long time. I probably should’ve took the top but the bottom was paying off for me all night. I could’ve wrecked him but I’m a little bit cleaner than that. I wasn’t going to give it to him, he was ready to race for it so I tried my best to give him some respect. I knew where he was tight, he knew where I was tight and he gave me barely any room,” said Belsito after the race.
“At the end of the night I felt like we had the car to beat but all the cautions and the cars causing cautions, it’s just gotten old. All in all a good year, a phenomenal year for me. I didn’t think it would turn into this. I ran every race with you guys, I didn’t plan on it.”
David Darling came up short in his quest for a GSPSS season sweep at Waterford, finishing third. Casey Call wrapped up his Rookie of the Year season with a solid fourth, while two-time GSPSS champ Mike O’Sullivan came back from an early spin to finish fifth.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Tom Morris / GSPSS