Joey Polewarczyk Jr.: ACT Late Model Tour – Milk Bowl Race Preview
Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, N.H., will try and keep his momentum rolling this weekend with the 48th annual Milk Bowl at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vt., on Saturday and Sunday, October 2-3. Polewarczyk enters the weekend off the biggest win of his career — the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 18. He is the track’s Late Model record holder at Thunder Road, having earned the Milk Bowl pole in 2006 with a lap of 12.935 seconds around the quarter-mile track — the first of three consecutive Milk Bowl poles earned by the No. 97 Ford Fusion in the event. Polewarczyk has one career victory at Thunder Road, having won the VT Governor’s Cup in 2009, and most recently he finished eighth in the Labor Day Classic 200 at the track last month.
WHO: Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H.
TEAM: No. 97 Pole’s Automotive/NH Precision Ford Fusion
BEST CAREER THUNDER ROAD FINISH: (1st (June 2009)
LAST RACE AT THUNDER ROAD: 8th (September 2010)
WHAT: 48th annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl
WHERE: Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (.250-mile oval)
FORMAT: Time Trials for heat racing starting position; 50-lap heat race to determine lineup for Milk Bowl’s 1st segment; Milk Bowl 3 segments — 50 laps, 75 laps following inversion, 75 laps following inversion.
WHEN: Qualifying: 1 p.m., Saturday, October 2; Race: 1 p.m., Sunday, October 3
ACT Late Model Tour
LAST RACE: September 18, 2nd annual ACT Invitational, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. (1st place)
NEXT RACE: October 10, ACT 150, Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn. (.333-mile oval)
POINTS POSITION: 2nd
JOEY, YOU MUST BE FEELING PRETTY GOOD HEADING INTO THE MILK BOWL.
This is huge for us. We’re definitely feeling really good after the last couple of races. Winning at Loudon was a huge deal, but even that event doesn’t have the history of the Milk Bowl. You know how big this race is.
It’s definitely different from everything else we do, with time trials, no points and just going for it. The purse isn’t too bad, either. It’s a big deal. We had a good day at the Labor Day Classic, and now we just need to finish that off.
WHAT’S CONTRIBUTED TO SUCH A STRONG SECOND HALF FROM YOUR TEAM?
I don’t know. Obviously, we struggled at the beginning of the year. We were down on power, but we got that straightened out and things turned for us. We worked harder than ever on setups, and now that we have what we need (from the engine), the car has been even better through the corners everywhere we go.
Even at Loudon, everyone came up and said, ‘You had great power.’ But really, if you go back and look at it, we passed everyone through the corners. That’s where we’ve been best everywhere. We’ve been lucky, too — and you need luck in racing. I guess the big guy up top finally said, ‘I think he’s had enough bad luck,’ and he gave us some good luck now.
HOW IMPORTANT A RACE IS THE MILK BOWL?
I don’t know if it has as much hype around it as the Oxford 250, but it’s right up there. It’s the toughest short track race in America — I really believe that, just because of the invert. Even if you finish well in the first segment, you have to come back through the field in the second segment without using all your stuff up.
Having those extra 25 laps in the last two segments this year, that’s going to change the layout of the whole thing. If you’re in a situation on the track where you shouldn’t force something — in a 50-lap segment, well, I’m going to do it anyway because you’ve got to go. But now with 75 laps, I think everyone can just be smarter about it.