Contributed by: ACT Staff
Good fortune and Thunder Road were two phrases that did not belong together in Joey’s vocabulary during the 2005 season. “My first trip to the track I came out of turn four too fast and the infamous Widow Maker sucked me in. The contact ripped the whole right front off the car and I ended up going to the pits on a wrecker.”
Pole continued, “During my rookie year we took our share of chunks out of the wall; so it was great to finally have a solid run at the tough track I look forward to having another one at the Labor Day race.”
The youngster’s luck certainly turned around on opening day at the Vermont speedplant as he qualified through a consolation race and started 19th in the Merchants Bank 150 feature event. Pole spent a lot of time during the 150 lap race learning about the ¼ mile asphalt oval. “Thunder Road is a tough track, during the opening race; I spent most of the race side-by-side with Dave Whitcomb.” He continued, “Whitcomb’s been racing at the track probably longer than I’ve been alive; he definitely knows how to get around there. I pulled in behind him to watch his line and that really helped me a lot.” Whitcomb’s credentials speak volumes as he won the American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model championship in 1992, Plattsburgh, NY’s Airborne Speedway crown in 1994 and Thunder Road’s title in 1995.
“There will be a lot of new faces at the Labor Day show and the competition will be tough but it’ll be another great learning experience,” Pole added.
During the off season the second generation driver found a computerized version of “The toughest short track in America”, which he downloaded to his auto racing game. He spent most of the winter practicing at these race tracks hoping to gain some seat time without ever having to strap into a car. “I think that the game helped me a lot at Thunder Road and I hope my past experience and more time spent with the game will help me at the Labor Day Classic.”
Pole started in a quarter midget at the age of eight, advancing to a mini cup (spending three years in each division). After winning a pair of championships in the mini cup division he moved on to a four-cylinder truck, which he raced weekly at Lee USA Speedway. The youngster’s father and crew thought that he needed more seasoning and decided to join the ACT Late Model Tour. “Since I’ve been an ACT driver, I’ve learned that it’s important to conserve your tires and energy during the long races. I’ve also learned that I will gain respect on the track by showing respect on the track. With his previous performance at Thunder Road, Pole demonstrated that he not only deserves respect, but also that he has a bright future ahead of him.