WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Joey Polewarczyk Jr. will pay tribute to a stock car racing legend on May 20, when he returns to American-Canadian Tour Late Model competition in honor of the late Tom Curley.
Known to racing fans across the country as “Joey Pole,” the former champion will make his first ACT start of the season at the Spring Green 117 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt.
The Spring Green 117 marks the first ACT race held since Curley, the series’ founder and president, passed away on May 5 after a year-long fight with COPD.
Polewarczyk started his ACT career at age 14 after being granted a special age exemption by Curley; at the time he was the youngest driver in ACT history. Now approaching his 28th birthday, Polewarczyk is one of New England’s most popular and accomplished drivers.
He owns 19 ACT victories and the 2014 championship, as well as wins in the Pro All Stars Series and the Granite State Pro Stock Series. He has won the Oxford 250, the Vermont Milk Bowl, the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and several other prestigious races.
The New Hampshire native often credits lessons learned from Curley as a key to his success.
“I tore up a lot of equipment when I was first starting out, but Tom saw something in me and never gave up on me,” Polewarczyk said. “I remember the first time that he took me on a ride around the pit area for a private talk on his golf cart. I crashed with somebody in a heat race and I thought I had been wronged, but Tom explained to me how it was my fault for not being patient. He was right, and he taught me how to be a better racer.”
“Just last weekend I had an opportunity to take the lead in a PASS race, but I would have had to rough a couple of guys up. If it wasn’t for Tom’s advice years ago, I might have tried to make that move and we all probably would’ve wrecked our cars. He was very smart and he took care of us all as racers. It wasn’t just me, he helped everyone like that.”
Polewarczyk heads to Devil’s Bowl on Saturday with only one goal in mind: win the Spring Green 117 and dedicate the victory to Curley.
The half-mile layout has been good to Polewarczyk. In six starts at the track, he has finished outside the top four only once.
“My only intention is to go out and win that race for Tom. All of us drivers are there because of him, and we’re all racing this race for him,” Polewarczyk said. “I love Devil’s Bowl, too. I was there last year as a crew member and I really missed not being out there as a driver, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Devil’s Bowl Speedway will honor Curley with a pre-race tribute and a moment of silence prior to the Spring Green 117 on Saturday night, May 20.
The green flag waves for the Spring Green 117 at 6 p.m.
CREDIT: ACT Communications