PHOTO: Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., races with Jeff White (#50) and Ben Ashline (#15) during the American-Canadian Tour event in May. Polewarczyk enters the 39th TD Bank 250 as one of the least talked about favorites. (Eric LaFleche/ photo)

–by Ricky St. Clair

OXFORD, Maine — Joey Polewarczyk Jr., was touted the unanimous pre-race TD Bank 250 favorite one year following his third place performance in the 2008 version of the 250.

Polewarczyk responded with a disappointing fifteenth-place run in the 36th edition of the “Mid-Summer Classic” after starting twelfth in the 43-car field.

The Hudson, N.H., native, though, is not entering this weekend’s racing card under a microscope, and is comfortable with flying under the radar.

“I really am (comfortable),” Polewarczyk said. “When you think back to ’09 after we had that good year in ‘08, we ended up winning the spring race at Oxford, and everyone was kind of pointing the finger at us. It naturally put more pressure on us to do good. As a driver, the car is in the track more than ever before. I’m more excited about this year comfort wise than I have been since ‘08 when we finished third.”

Over the off-season, the family-owned team acquired Nick Demers, formerly with RPM Motorsports, as their tire specialist. After the recent tire issues at Oxford Plains Speedway in the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) race two short months ago, Polewarczyk expects Demers to play a vital role on TD Bank 250 Sunday.

“Having (Nick) come on-board with us this year is huge,” Polewarczyk said. “It’s a big reason we’ve been running so well. When I’m coming in from practice, he’s telling us what the tires are doing and what we should do to compensate with what we’ve got.”

The 23-year-old hotshoe said there’s a lot more luck involved with the current race format than strategy needed for the entire duration of the weekend.

“The biggest thing is luck,” Polewarczyk said. “A lot of guys do different things with the tires. Some guys will buy five rights and three lefts, six rights and two lefts, or just bolt four on. It’s all going to depend on how the cautions fall for that other stuff to work.”

The current number two point man on the ACT carries confidence rolling into TD Bank 250 weekend after a second-place result in the Armed Forces 150 May 20.

“It’s like I’ve told a lot of people, we’ve never really started this strong,” Polewarczyk said. “When I think back to all of the races, we’ve had a genuine shot at winning each one. Once you have runs like that and not have the bad luck like we’re used to, our spirits are a lot higher.”

When asked if this was the year he’d end the funk and claim the prestigious 250 win, Polewarczyk’s answer was almost conservative.

“I really think it’s our best shot at it, but I’m not going to say ‘we’re going to win the race’ or anything like that,” Polewarczyk said. “I feel our team is ready and I’m more mature as a driver. This is a huge race and for me to win it would be amazing. I truly feel if everything lines up, it could be our year.”

TD Bank 250 qualifying begins at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, with the 39th TD Bank 250 taking place at approximately 6:30 p.m.