OXFORD — Joey Polewarczyk Jr. won his first TD Bank 250 by treating his throttle like an egg shell. But even he wouldn’t suggest he didn’t also need a few breaks.

I beg you not to let a bad pun cast doubt on just how good Polewarczhyk was on Sunday night. Because not only did he turn in the most dominant performance since the switch to late models in 2007, he did it with the finesse of a driver well beyond his 23 years.

If they ever get together to tell tales of their 250 championships, the likes of Eddie MacDonald, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will have to take a back seat to the newly-engaged ACT star from Hudson, N.H. In fact, there aren’t many alive who can say they even witnessed, let alone put on, a more impressive performance in the short track’s crown jewel.

Polewarczyk picked up a $45,000 check for leading 205 of the 250 laps and holding off Farmington’s Jeff Taylor over the last 30 or so laps to the checkered flag. Starting in the front row, Polewarczyk immediately overtook pole-sitter Ricky Rolfe and held the lead for the first 135 laps. A pit stop dropped him back to ninth, but the short-term setback for four new tires and fuel was well worth the long-term gain. 

“I told my guys when I came in, it doesn’t matter. We’ll lose more time trying to go fast and making a mistake. We’re not Sprint Cup Series pit crews here,” Polewarczyk said. “They did everything right. Everything stayed on and everything was tight. It was enough that we were able to get back to the front.”

“Once we took those tires, the car was probably the best it was all day,” he added.


Polewarczyk admitted he had to rein in his excitement over how good the car felt coming out of the pits, and saved himself before overtaking fellow Granite Stater Wayne Helliwell Jr. in lap 181. 

He never trailed again.

“I don’t think I was full-throttle that whole time,” he said. “I was just trying to be easy on it and just kept telling myself to act like it’s an egg shell.”

His gentle throttle foot served him well in what was probably the closest call of the night. T.J. Brackett took a spin at the start-finish line in lap 208, and Polewarczyk narrowly avoided what would have been a costly collision.

“It was very close,” he said. “I was trying to figure out which way he was going to go and I picked the wrong way. But I was able to slow down enough to avoid him.”

The mishap produced the third and final caution flag of the night.


Veteran OPS observers were hard-pressed to recall a more fluid 250 laps.

The absence of yellow meant heavy lapped traffic for a good chunk of the race and helped keep late-chargers like eventual third-place finisher Austin Theriault from finding an opening to the front.

“I knew once that caution came out at 208 we probably weren’t going to win because it wasn’t a caution-filled race, so we werent’ going to have enough time to get up to Joey and all of them,” Theriault said. “We were hoping for another caution. I don’t know if we were quicker than them, but we were coming. We were hoping for another caution.”

Chimed in Taylor, “I was hoping Joey had a flat.”

Polewarczyk didn’t have a flat. What he did have, fortunately, was a short memory.

It’s been a frustrating ACT season with a lot of woulda, coulda, shouldas and second-place finishes for Joey Pole.

“We’ve had a great car all year long, from the start of the year,” he said. “We’ve been right there every race. We just haven’t had the right things go our way to get a win.”

They went his way Sunday. But as you pick through your omelet this morning, don’t doubt for a second that Joey Polewarczyk created his own breaks.

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