PHOTO: Joey Polewarczyk keeps hoping he’s going to turn his disappointing season around. He was second-quick in practice for the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway — a race he won last year. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

LOUDON, N.H. —Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., used last year’s American-Canadian Tour Invitational victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as a launching pad to conclude his 2010 campaign with three consecutive wins.

However, the Hudson, N.H., native has had an unsatisfactory 2011 season to say the least. Polewarczyk has just four top-five finishes in 11 point-counting events and has yet to contend for a win.

“I really would [consider this year a disappointment],” Polewarczyk said. “We came into this year with high hopes. Last year we went on that winning streak and we were afraid to touch anything. The car was just so good and we were beating everybody, so why touch something that doesn’t need to be touched. We just stayed where we were at and everybody else stepped up to the next level.”

The 22 year-old’s perspective on the season would change with a win at NHMS in the third annual the ACT Invitational. He earned $5,300 after his efforts in the invite-only event after starting 27th in last year’s race.

“It would change everything,” Polewarczyk explained. “It really would. That’s the thing about racing; you have all these bad weeks and then you have one good week and it’s like, ‘Oh, we had a pretty good year that year.’ If we could win here, it would just carry the momentum into the Milk Bowl [at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt.] next weekend. But right now we’re focused on today.”

Polewarczyk recorded the second-fastest lap time in the final ACT practice session held Saturday morning. Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass., was just five one-hundredths of a second quicker.

“For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a car that should be right there at the end,” Polewarczyk said. It feels good to look at the charts and be up towards the top, especially at this race when you have 43 of the best drivers in New England. I can’t wait until later tonight.”

Polewarczyk will be joined by 42 other drivers from around the northeasten United States and eastern Canada in the 50-lap event, scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. He and MacDonald will each be looking for their second career ACT Invitational win, while the remainder of the field will look to make it three different winners in three events at the ‘Magic Mile.’