Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. has had many sleepless nights thinking about what he could have done differently to win an American-Canadian Tour championship. Although his first career ACT title continues to elude him, Polewarczyk hasn’t had to think twice about what he’s done in non-points counting events when there is big money on the line.
Thus far in his career, Polewarczyk has garnered a strong reputation along the way for stealing the spotlight in some of the most prestigious races across the Northeast.
The 24-year-old driver has built an impressive resume that includes wins in prestigious events such as the Oxford 250, Milk Bowl, ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and last year’s inaugural ACT International held at Plattsburgh, New York’s Airborne Park Speedway.
Why has Polewarczyk been able to experience so much success in these types of big, non-points races?
If you ask him, he’ll tell you it’s because there is pressure lifted off of his shoulders.
“I think a lot of it is because I don’t put the pressure on myself,” Polewarczyk told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Honestly for me, it’s more relaxing. These are the prestigious races that really get a lot of recognition and for some reason we’ve really excelled at these types of races. I don’t necessarily have to worry about, if something happens, points and thinking about that all week. Not being able to sleep at night because I really want to win the championship.”
This weekend, Polewarczyk will head back to Plattsburgh, New York hoping to defend his ACT International crown and bring another $25,000 jumbo check back to his home state of New Hampshire.
“Last year was huge because it was the first one,” said Polewarczyk. “It’s a pretty prestigious race with no points on the line and a whole lot of money. It was pretty cool to win it and become the first winner of the event.”
A change in the length of segments from three 100-lap segments to a 50-75-75 format will throw another curveball at drivers as they compete for the $25,000 prize on Sunday afternoon. Polewarczyk expects drivers to be much more aggressive with the new format that encourages putting the pedal down and driving to the front.
“Joey Pole,” as he’s known by many in the racing community, plans to be “aggressively conservative” while attempting to get to the front during each segment on Sunday.
“This year it’s a little bit different the way the segments are, so I think it’s going to be a little bit tougher,” said the 2013 ACT International 500 winner. “You don’t have as much time to come from the back. It’s about picking the right spots to make passes where you know you can make a move.
“It’s a tough balance because you can’t bang the car up in the first or second segment and then have to start working on fixing body parts between segments. You don’t have a lot of time, so you have to be somewhat careful.”
Over the course of the last two seasons, Polewarczyk has claimed $70,500 for his wins in mid-July Late Model events. In July of 2012, the New Hampshire native claimed $45,500 for his win in the prestigious Oxford 250. He then backed that up last year by securing a $25,000 pay day in the inaugural ACT International.
Polewarczyk looks at Sunday’s race as a big opportunity for not only him, but all Late Model teams in the region, to help keep their racing budget in line for the rest of the season.
“It’s huge for us to be able to compete for this type of money,” said Polewarczyk. “We’ve been lucky enough two years in a row, with the 250 and then last year with the International, we’ve won those big races so it’s helped our budget to keep going for the whole year. Man, if we could do it again this year it would just be unbelievable.
“$25,000 for a Late Model team pays for a lot and definitely helps with a family team, hopefully we can do it again.”
– By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor. Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51