PHOTO: Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., ended a season long drought with a victory in the Rent-a-Wreck Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway (T.J. Ingerson/VMM Photo)

— by T.J. Ingerson

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — To say Joey Polewarczyk has had a disappointing 2011 season would be an understatement. After scoring the segment one victory and then the overall victory in the Goodyear Cup at New Smyrna Speedway in February, Polewarczyk has been held out of ACT victory lane, and only has four top five and six top ten finishes in 11 ACT point counting races. His only victory in the season came in an open competition race at the Canaan Fair Speedway in early June.

Polewarczyk, however, ended the 2011 American Canadian Tour season like he did a year before, with a win. Polewarczyk led a race high 89 laps en route to his first ACT victory of the season in the Rent-a-Wreck Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway.

“It’s amazing, it really is,” said Polewarczyk. “This might the happiest win I’ve ever had. Since the beginning of the year, it’s been a battle. We only had three guys crewing our car today. This is just really special to me today. We had a great car all day and it’s just an awesome feeling to bring home the win. It’s been a rough year for us and it makes you appreciate good days like this.”

The lead pack pitted for right side tires during a lap 131 caution period, including Polewarczyk and polesitter Randy Potter. That handed the lead to ACT Castrol Series Champion Patrick Laperle, a four time winner of the Fall Foliage. Laperle, who started 29th, used strategy to get to the lead. And once out front, it appeared his race.

Laperle led for the next 45 laps, surviving restarts in the inside lane, something that hadn’t been seen all day in the race’s previous six restarts. Laperle appeared to be in command, until he went down into turn one on lap 177, when his right front tire blew and caused him to fall off the pace, which gave the lead back to Polewarczyk.

A caution flew nearly the same time Laperle cut his tire for an unrelated incident, which allowed Potter to restart on the outside of Polewarczyk. Potter retook the lead after a brief battle, and seemed to be in position to take his first ACT victory since 2007.

However, Potter dipped his tires off the backstretch as the field on lap 187, which caused Potter to slow down to avoid wrecking his car. Polewarczyk was able to get by, and cruised to victory, his eighth ACT victory.

“It took this car three laps to get where it needed to be, and I knew on the inside Potter was going to have a good shot at it,” Polewarczyk said of the race with Potter. “I had to calm myself down and tell myself ‘I’ll get him, I’ll get him.’ I don’t know if he couldn’t see, but when he dipped his right sides off the track, that was my opportunity.”

“The sun was in my eyes and I just lost track of the edge of the backstretch,” explained Potter, who finished in the runner up position. “I was running as hard as I could to get everything I could out of [the car] to keep Joey [Polewarczyk] behind me. I hate to give [the win] away. They’re just so hard to win. I think we could have won that one. It’s disappointing.”

Turner, Me.’s Glen Luce finished in the third position for the second straight year in the season finale. Luce ran in the top ten for the majority of the race and was able to get by Wayne Helliwell, Jr., late in the race for third. Helliwell, of Dover, N.H., was forth, which was good enough to unofficially clinch second place in the American Canadian Tour Championship standings. Austin Theriault, of Fort Kent, Me., continued his stellar end to the season with another top five finish, placing fifth.

2011 American Canadian Tour Champion Brian Hoar finished sixth after starting deep in the field and being spun out around lap 40. D.J. Shaw raced in the top five for the majority of the race, before being involved in a wreck on lap 162. Shaw battled back to finish sixth, while Laperle, Ben Rowe, and Donald Theetge completed the unofficial top ten.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Rent-a-Wreck Fall Foliage 200
American-Canadian Tour — Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Saturday, October 08, 2011

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (3) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, N.H.
2. (1) Randy Potter, Groveton, N.H.
3. (7) Glen Luce, Turner, Me.
4. (18) Wayne Helliwell, Dover, N.H.
5. (5) Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, Me.
6. (20) Brian Hoar, Williston, Vt.
7. (4) D.J. Shaw, Center Conway, N.H.
8. (29) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Que.
9. (6) Ben Rowe, Turner, Me.
10. (27) Donald Theetge, Boischatel, Que.
11. (17) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, Vt.
12. (21) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, Vt.
13. (13) Patrick Cliche, St-Jean-Chrysostome, Que.
14. (19) Craig Bushey, Fairfax, Vt.
15. (2) Karl Allard, St. Felicien, Que.
16. (30) David Michaud, Ste-Annes-des-Plaines, Que.
17. (16) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
18. (15) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
19. (12) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Township, Me.
20. (31) Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt.
21. (24) Brandon White, Kahnawake, Que.
22. (34) Patrick Hamel, St-Edouard, Que.
23. (26) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
24. (33) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, Mass.
25. (25) Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, Vt.
26. (14) Mike Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
27. (11) Jonathan Urlin, London, Ont.
28. (23) Quinny Welch, Lancaster, N.H.
29. (9) John Donahue, Graniteville, Vt.
30. (8) Jean-Francois Dery, Quebec, Que.
31. (35) Dany Trepanier, St-Edouard, Que.
32. (32) Stephane Descoste, Oka, Que.
33. (36) # Dave Farrington, Jr., Jay, Me.
34. (28) Claude Leclerc, Lanoraie, Que.
35. (22) Eric Chase, Milton, Vt.
36. (10) Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, N.Y.