LOUDON, N.H. — Joey Polewarczyk has a lot riding on his shoulders this weekend.

In his regular role on the American-Canadian Tour, the Hudson, N.H., youngster has only one top-ten finish to his credit and sits more than 100 points out of the lead after just four events. In his side gig on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, drivers five years his junior — and Polewarczyk just barely turned 21 three weeks ago — are winning races and landing development deals at the sport’s highest levels.

Luckily for Polewarczyk, though, he feels he has what he needs to be successful.

As one of the lead drivers in the new Ford Racing crate engine program in ACT this season, Polewarczyk came out the gate struggling. He slipped from fourth to 12th in the season opener at Thunder Road, then failed to qualify at Oxford. A tough hit in a stand-alone event at Lee USA Speedway stalled the team’s progress, but better finishes in the last two ACT Late Model Tour events have built his confidence.

“We’ve had a lot of bad luck, and there are some growing pains with the new Ford engine, but we’re getting back on track,” he said.

On Friday, Polewarczyk will reunite with car owner Dave Davis for the K&N East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, driving a car he finished sixth in during his debut at the 1.058-mile oval in September 2008. Saturday, the ACT Late Model Tour heads to White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., a track Polewarczyk has seen success at before.

“Dave Davis has great equipment, and I’m really excited to get back in that car,” Polewarczyk said. “To finish sixth in that car my first time out and know that it’s that good getting back into it, I think we can have a great finish this time, too. White Mountain is one of my favorite tracks and I think we can really turn things around there with a good finish, too.”

Two of Polewarczyk’s five career starts in the K&N division came at NHMS; he qualified fourth there last fall for car owner Mike Olsen and was running just outside the top-ten when a late-race incident sent him hard into the wall. In his debut with Davis, he slapped the wall on the second lap, but rallied to finish sixth. At White Mountain, Polewarczyk has three top-ten finishes including a runner-up showing in June 2007. His last two ACT starts included a strong run of 25th-to-8th at Lee USA and a 15th-place effort at Oxford last weekend.

“It’s tough to say if we can win at Loudon because there are so many high-dollar teams like Joe Gibbs Racing that are just dominating this year,” Polewarczyk said of the K&N Series. “I think personally, as the driver, I can win the race. The car is definitely good enough for top-ten or a top-five finish, and hopefully we’ll have a shot at [qualifying on] the pole. I’m definitely more comfortable than I was my first time at Loudon. My first race there I pummeled the wall on lap two. Now I’m going back there with a better idea of what to do and how to drive the track.

“We’re putting the pieces together [with the ACT team] and hopefully we can make a run over the rest of the year. We’ve had a bad year with luck not going our way, so hopefully that runs out soon.”

PHOTO: Joey Polewarczyk feels this weekend may turn his season around. (Photo by Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com)