Joey Pole Breaks Through to Win in ACT Late Models by Mike Twist
18-Year-Old Takes Lead from Cyr and Doesn't Look Back at Seekonk
Over the past year or so on the ACT Late Model tour, there has been a question that has kept pooping up. It involved young Joey Polewarczyk, commonly referred to by the easier to spell and pronounce “stage name” of Joey Pole, and it concerned predictions of his first Tour victory.
Cyr wasn’t the only veteran happy for Pole after the race. The victory was a very popular one in the pit area.
“I’ve got to congratulate Joey,” said recent Oxford 250 winner and fourth-place finisher at Seekonk Roger Brown. “He did an excellent job and those guys are well deserving of a win. All in all, it was a good night.”
“I’m glad for Joey Pole that he won it,” said Ryan Vanasse. “He’s a real good kid and if we can’t win, I’m glad that he could.”
Winning his first race, and having that kind of support, was a big deal to Pole.
“It means a lot,” said Pole. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I was counting down the laps. Every
time, I would think, ‘there’s 20 to go’, ‘there’s 15 to go’. Whenever I got a good lead, the yellow
would come out. It took me about two laps for the car to come in. The car was just awesome,
especially on the outside.”
Now Pole heads back to a place that he also describes as one of his favorite tracks – Oxford
Plains Speedway in Maine. He’ll compete there on Saturday night as the ACT Tour continues
their season and he’ll no doubt be a favorite to win. In fact, he’s a contender everywhere he
goes and for that the 18-year-old credits his team and not just his own abilities.
”It’s not just me,” said Pole. “I can adapt to different tracks, but it’s really because of this
whole crew. They can make the car perfect at each track. That makes my job a lot easier.
It’s set up and got to go. I don’t have to worry about the car, I can just find a line and go.”
Cyr finished second at Seekonk with Scott Payea, Brown and Kip Stockwell rounding out the
“The last two races have been really hard for us with bad luck and crashes,” said Pole. “This week, we spend every single night working on this car, setting it up and scaling it. We must have scaled the car at least 25 times. I would have only scaled it once, but my Dad is a little bit OCD. It worked. You can’t take that away.”
Pole earned his first victory on the Tour is a storybook manner. He went wheel-to-wheel with the six time and defending series champion to take the lead and never look back. Jean Paul Cyr led the first 61 laps, but Pole nosed by on the next lap and stayed out front from there.
“That was something else,” said Pole. “I was in fourth and I thought that I might be faster. My Dad told me that if I could go to the outside, to go for it. So I went out there. I would drift up high and then swoop in down low. It worked. Man, that was just awesome.”
Cyr was impressed
“I’m happy for Joey, there’s no doubt,” said Cyr after the race. “He made a really good run on us for the lead.”
Pole's #97 along with the #55 of Brent Dragon (51 Photos)
The question wasn’t if Joey Pole would win a race. With his talent and the performance of his #97 team both at high levels, that was almost a forgone conclusion. It wasn’t even when would Joey Pole win. It was obvious that first number-one was going to come sooner rather than later for the New Hampshire driver.
The biggest question was where would Joey Pole win? Every time that you would ask the young driver about a track, he’s quick to claim it to be one of his favorite places. Everywhere that he went, he would be quick. He scored the pole position for the prestigious Milk Bowl at Thunder Road last fall, he battled hard and clean with the legendary Mike Rowe at Oxford this spring and he finished a close second to Brent Dragon at White Mountain earlier this summer. Those three tracks aren’t easy places to contend for wins at, so it looked like Pole could get the job done anywhere.
Over the past few weeks though, Pole’s fortunes were anything but good. At Oxford’s TD Banknorth 250, he was quick and got caught in a heat race wreck that left him
unqualified for the race. The same exact thing happened again last week in the ACT show at Ste-Eustache, Quebec.
So after going home from two races, through little or no fault of his own, you might think that just having a decent run in the ACT Bay State 100 at Seekonk Speedway would have been good enough on Saturday night. Instead though, Pole answered the questions from above by winning the event in dominating fashion.
The keys to victory lane were equal parts driver talent and team preparation. Nobody in the #97 camp doubted themselves after their latest misfortunes and it all paid off at Seekonk.
Pole looks at the line-up before the race. Little did he know, then but he would be on top of the board after the 100-lap event was finished.