Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. appeared to be nearly untouchable during the early stages of the 150-lap American-Canadian Tour event at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday afternoon. His dominance lasted until the final 10 laps of the event when two-time ACT champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. made a charge towards the top spot that sent Polewarczyk, the defending ACT champion, into total defense mode.
After running the majority of the race in the second and third groove of the race track, Polewarzyk was forced to take his No. 97NH to the bottom of the track to hold off Helliwell in the closing stages. Changing his racing line during the later stages of the race wasn’t something Polewarcyk, Jr. was hoping he’d need to do, but he did it anyways and it paid off in the end with his 14th career American-Canadian Tour victory.
“That’s where I wanted to be (on the outside),” Polewarczyk told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I wanted to be on the high side but they kept telling me over the radio that I needed to run low. I think on a long run I may have been able to gap myself a little bit more but I was in total defense mode there at the end.
“On fresh tires after a restart with 12 laps to go, that’s not where I wanted to be just because I like a long run and like to be able to wind it up on the outside. I had to use the bottom there at the end and that’s not usually what I like to do here.”
Heliwell, who started the race from the ninth spot, made a steady charge through the field during the 150-lap opening event. He jumped up to the third spot by lap 80 and took advantage of a lap 137 to challenge Helliwell over the course of the last 10 laps.
“We were about even and I know he wouldn’t give up the bottom because I’m sure his old man was on the radio telling him that I was running the bottom all day,” Helliwell said. “I figured he’d maybe slow down just enough that I could stuff it out there. I got to the side of him, maybe to his right rear quarter panel and that was all I had. I was in a four-wheel drift all the way around. I had to settle back in and take second.”
Polewarczyk’s win at Oxford continues a hot streak at the track that he’s had since beginning his ACT career in 2004. In addition to picking up the $25,000-to-win Oxford 250 in 2012, he has three career ACT wins and seven top-five finishes at the track.
The Hudson, New Hampshire native isn’t quite sure exactly what it is that he likes so much about Oxford, but he knows the wins have certainly made it an enjoyable place to visit.
“It’s a flat track and you can really make the track work. You can go way up high or make the bottom work like Wayne was,” Polewarczyk said. “We made both lanes work kind of today. There are just some tracks you really take a liking to and this is definitely one of them.”
For those who just showed up in the grandstands on Sunday, they would probably say that Polewarczyk made it look easy. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for his team. After struggling with their ACT during Friday’s practice session, the team loaded up their car and took it back to their shop on Saturday. They worked on the car for countless hours to get it to where they wanted it to be for Sunday’s race.
“We weren’t great when we got here on Friday,” Polewarczyk stated. “When I tell you we worked on this thing from 7:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, we did. Obviously, that paid off.”
Nick Sweet attempted to make a bid at challenging Polewarczyk for the lead during the early stages before finishing in the final podium spot.
“I used it up too early probably,” Sweet said after the race. “Then that last restart I tried a little bit too hard. Even with these small engines I still spun the darn tires. It wasn’t as good as I needed it to be on the outside. Joey’s car was a lot better on the outside. I had to bottom feed all day long and I kind of lived down there.”
Emily Packard turned in one of the most impressive performances of the day by charging from the 20th starting spot to finish fourth. Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, Vermont rounded out the top-five.
The American-Canadian Tour returns to action for the Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway (NH) next Sunday, April 26. Fans can visit the Lee USA Speedway website at www.leeusaspeedway.com for more information. For those unable to make it to Lee, New Hampshire, Speed51.com will have live Trackside Now coverage.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
American-Canadian Tour 150 Unofficial Results
Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, Maine
April 19, 2015
|1||97NH||Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.||150|
|2||27NH||Wayne Helliwell, Jr.||150|
|12||28ME||Rowland Robinson, jr.||149|