Contributed by: ACT Staff
Unbuckled: Getting To Know Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.
Driver of the #97 Pole’s Automotive Ford
Hometown: Hudson, NH
2012: Finished 4th Overall on the American Canadian Tour.
What are your favorite hobbies in the off-season?
My dad owns an automotive business that I work for all week. So I work on cars and I rebuild the racecars during the winter, but right now most of my time has been searching for a house with my fiancée, which I’m actually pretty excited about. It’s a big deal!
What do you do for work?
Automotive Technician. I pretty much just work on cars all day at Pole’s Automotive.
What is your biggest life accomplishment?The 2010 season I think. It was such a huge year for us. Winning the prestigious races that we’ve won, the Milk Bowl, the ACT Invitational, the Fall Foliage, it’s so huge. It’s hard to really rank them because they were all really special to me and the team in different ways. When you look back at it, it’s an amazing feeling to have accomplished all that.
Big Plans for 2013?
Running the ACT Tour of course, and we also have a super late model that we will run on off weekends. Our main focus will be ACT though. We might play around with some weekly stuff as well.
What is the state of your car currently?
The new body is on it, it’s ready to go. It’s going to look a lot different this year. We’ve always had the yellow numbers and the same kind of paint scheme. The car will still be black but it will look pretty different. The motor is refreshed, it’s pretty much ready to go I think. We just want the snow to stop so we can start doing some testing.
What race are you looking forward to the most in 2013?
Every one of them! Obviously the International 500 is going to be huge, but honestly for me, it’s the opening race every year. How that race goes, in my opinion, is what predicts the rest of the season. It’s very important to me.
What was the highlight of the 2012 season for you?
Definitely winning the Oxford 250. I know it’s the last year it was Late Models, but it just has so much history. I’ve been as a spectator and as a racer, so to be able to put our names on the list of drivers who have won it is really big.
Do you have a hero? Someone you idolize as a racecar driver or try to emulate?
I look up to my Dad. He was racing before me, and that’s how I got involved in it, but honestly as a driver someone I look up to and hope to be like is Wayne Helliwell, Jr. He used to drive my dad’s cars before I was even racing, and I was always around him every night in the garage. Just look at what he’s done, he races three times a weekend and wins just about every time he’s out. He might not have the money to make it to the ‘bigtime’, much like a lot of us, but he’s a hell of a racer.
Who is your biggest fan at the track?
My family is my biggest support, but there are two people that come here to the shop every week and follow us pretty much anywhere we go, their names are Irvin and Barbara Leonard. We work on their cars and they are customers. They love racing so they just follow us around on the ACT Tour in their camper. It’s great to have fans like that.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
A lot of people probably don’t know that I’m engaged to Austin Theriault’s sister. We met at the race track. We were parked next to Austin one race and Brittany and I saw each other and the rest is history, so they say. We started talking and things progressed from there and now she’s living with me and we’re getting married in August. I couldn’t be happier. I don’t think it’s changed the competitive level with Austin too much, he wants to beat me just like I want to beat him. You don’t think about that stuff on the track really. The other thing I think people may not know about me is that our cars are built me and my team. Beside the chassis, we do it all on our own after work. Just like every grassroots racer really. It’s good to be able to drive them and take them apart and put them back together again. You’ve got to love it to do it.
How did you start racing?
My Dad was doing it before I was born and I was always watching Wayne and everyone in the garage. Then my Dad bought me a go-kart when I was little, and I rode around in it all day long around our house. When I was seven I got in a quarter midget and started racing at the track, and then every spring and summer I’ve been slowly progressing up to where I am at today. From being around it so long, a lot of young people don’t realize how big the Milk Bowl is or how big events at Loudon are. I know how big they are because I grew up around them. It’s an amazing feeling to say we’ve won the Fall Foliage, the Oxford 250, the Milk Bowl, Loudon, etc.
Tell me about your family?
My Dad owns the shop and I work here with him and we’re around each other all day. It’s a good relationship, there are fights every now and then as in with any family. My mom works as a special educator in the next town over, my sister is a manager at Famous Footwear. My mom comes here and works when she gets out of her job, too. I couldn’t ask for a better family. Everyone is so supportive of what I do and they back me and attend every race. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d love to say you’ll see me at Daytona in the Sprint Cup Series, but without sponsorship it’s tough but that’s always been my goal. I’m 23 now, so I hope I’m still doing this in 5 years. I’m always going to be racing. We’ve won all these big races that people try their whole life to win, but hopefully we can get a couple more. No matter what I’ll race in ACT, and our goal is to win a championship. You can win lots of races, but I want to be able to say I’ve won an ACT Championship.