"I’m real happy. When we came here to qualify, we knew that we had a good car. We went to a couple of ACT races and we wrecked, so we hoped to be able to come back and still have a good car. The car was good.”
But even more important than a good finish was the fact that Anzalone got to gain some valuable seat team.
“It’s a tough field and it was hot, but I had fun. And just to run the full 100 laps, we learned a lot.”
LAMBERTON’S #29 LUGS AROUND ON HOT NIGHT
It was a hot night at Lee for the ACT race and that took its toll on drivers and teams, with plenty of water and Gatorade consumed, as well as on cars like Mark Lamberton’s #29 machine.
ACT LEFTOVERS: LEE USA SPEEDWAY By Mike Twist
Lamberton, Joey Pole, Helliwell and More
HARCLEODE LEADS THE WAY FOR LEE REGULARS
With rules that mirror the ACT Late Model tour, the Lee USA Speedway Late Model division is always a good training ground for drivers and teams ready to tackle the tour.
In the past few years, there have always been a few weekly competitors who have fought a good fight against the ACT invaders as well. This time around, young Jeremy Harclerode was the top track regular, finishing in second place. Almost beating Ben Rowe made it a career night for the driver of the #51.
“It’s definitely the best that I’ve ever done,” said Harclerode. “Obviously finishing behind Ben Rowe, a PASS champion, is definitely good. It feels pretty good.
“I race here weekly, so I pretty much had all of my tire sizes from every week. I knew that we’d be pretty good. But the last few weeks, we’ve struggled a bit. I’ve been doing top fives, but nothing this good. Dale Shaw came down and helped me out today and he straightened out the car a little bit.”
TEEN TURNS HEADS AT LEE
Another impressive racer with a history at Lee was 17-year-old Massachusetts driver Mark Anzalone, Jr., who finished a solid seventh on Tuesday night.
Anzalone and his team recently made the step up from weekly racing at Lee to tackling the ACT tour.
“We decided to try and go Tour racing to get more experience and we love it,” said Anzalone. “We try to make as many races as we can, but it depends on what we have for sponsor money and how we do in each race. I love it. This is fun. We went to Canada for our last race and it was awesome. It’s really fun.”
Having a two-month rain delay between qualifying and the feature at Lee made things a little challenging for Anzalone, but it all worked out fine in the end.
Anzalone's #1 at Lee. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Lamberton ran a strong second for most of the race, but faded to third late in the event. That is where the New York driver finished the night.
“I don’t know what was going on, if it was vapor locking or what, but it was hard to go on the restarts,” said Lamberton. “Everyone was thinking that Ben was jumping on us, but it was because I would step on the gas and have nothing. The whole frontstretch the thing would skip and sputter. Down the backstretch, it was fine.”
Having a rash of late-race caution periods didn’t help Lamberton’s situation.
“I think that they hurt us because it would take a lap or two to get back going,” said Lamberton. “We needed to get the carburetor cleaned out or whatever it was. We had one with 15 to go, and they were three car-lengths behind us when it came out. I had a little bit of a rhythm going. So it hurt us.”
JOEY POLE SEES GREAT NIGHT FADE NEAR FINISH
The driver of the #97 car is named Joey Polewarczyk Jr., but he’s well known as simply “Joey Pole”. The young driver was almost able to make an even bigger name for himself at Lee when he was running solidly in the top 10 as the laps clicked down. But with only a dozen laps until the checkered flag, Joey Pole pulled off the track with a wounded racecar.
Lamberton(#29) tries to chase down Ben Rowe early in the race. (Jamie Williams Photo)
“The trailing arm bracket actually broke off,” said Polewarczyk. “It had broken off two laps before [dropping out] and I was just trying to baby it home. The car was just awesome and we wanted to finish that great run. It’s unfortunate, but there’s always next week.”
Despite the broken racecar, Pole and his team still left the track with their heads high.
“It really does give us confidence because we know that we can do it. We’re going to try and be there every week. We’ve got a good car, a good crew and a good set-up underneath it, so I just need to drive it.
“So far this year, everything has just gelled. Once we starting catching some breaks, hopefully we can start backing these runs up with good finishes.”
Pole was credited with the 29th finishing position after completing 88 laps.
LAST MINUTE CALL TURNS INTO GOOD RACE
On the day before the Lee race, Wayne Helliwell, Jr. had no idea that he would be in it. But a call from the #0(No) team changed that fact.
Johnny Clark had qualified the #0(No) car in May, but could not return for the race, so Helliwell got the nod to drive the car. He started shotgun on the field and finished 15th.
“Everything went pretty good,” said Helliwell. We came here to fill in for someone who couldn’t be here tonight, started last and pulled out a 15th-place finish without putting a scratch on the car. It was a pretty good night.
“I found out last night that I’d be driving it. “They did a great job setting the car up and we practiced it today and made it even a little bit better. If I drive it again, we’ll make it better still next time.”
It doesn’t matter if you are talking about ACT Late
Models, weekly Late Models, Pro Stocks, Modifieds, Super Modifieds or even Street Stocks. If it races at lee, Helliwell has probably driven it at some point and the Massachusetts driver said that switching types of cars really isn’t that hard to do.
“It’s really not that difficult,” said Helliwell. “Everybody who I driven for are great people and all of the cars, right down to the Supers and the Modifieds, are basically the same. You just drive, step on the gas and turn left.”
The #0 (No) car. (Lee USA Speedway / Michelle Lavigne Photo)
Harcleode's #51. (Lee USA Speedway / Michelle Lavigne Photo)
Joey Pole's #97. (Lee USA Speedway / Michelle Lavigne Photo)