By TOM HERZIG, Contributing Writer
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, N.H., still looking uphill at the $25,000 ACT International 500 winner’s prize as the end of the 300-lap race neared, passed Patrick Laperle with 15 laps remaining to win the inaugural event before one of the largest crowds in Airborne Speedway history Sunday.
Polewarczyk Jr. outpointed 8-time ACT champion Brian Hoar by winning the first two 100-lap segments of the 300-lap event with Hoar close behind in 2nd place both times.
When Hoar took command halfway through the final segment and went on to win it, Polewarczyk Jr. needed to finish 2nd to win the overall event. With 30 laps remaining, Polewarczyk trailed second-place Patrick Laperle by six car-lengths. The final event points totals were Polewarczyk 4 points (1-1-2) to Hoar’s 5 points (2-2-1).
“It’s a very humbling feeling to win such a prestigious event,” Joey Pole said. “There’s only going to be one inaugural ACT 500 ever. It’s a helluva payday! I really had to hustle the car to get by Laperle. I could see he was getting free off the turns and I knew I really had to go.”
Polewarczyk led Hoar to the wire by four car-lengths to win the opening segment with Scott Payea of Milton, Vt. 3rd, Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Mass. 4th and Ray Parent of Tiverton, RI, 5th.
The second segment came to an abrupt halt at the drop of the green when Bucko Branham and Jimmy Linardy made contact on the front row with a 10-car chain reaction crash resulting. The incident quickly bumped Hoar, Polewarczyk Jr., Scott Payea and Eddie MacDonald, who ultimately finished 3rd overall, back into contention after having started near the rear of the 40-car field.
As round two wound down, Hoar and Polewarczyk swapped the lead repeatedly as starting on the outside of the front row on restarts became pivotal. Joey Pole got the last chance at being on the outside of Hoar on the final restart on lap 93.
“Brian was tough all day,” Polewarczyk said. “He had us covered in the last round, but earlier, whoever had the outside line had the best shot and it worked out for me.”
Payea had a 3-round score of 13 points (3-3-7) to claim 4th overall. Jean-Francois Dery of Quebec City, QC was 5th. Positions 6-10 went to Parent, Alex Labbe, Laperle, Wayne Helliwell Jr. and rookie Bobby Therrien.
Todd Stone of Middlebury won the $3,000-to-win Ernie’s Tools Modified Twin 50’s event besting Patrick Dupree of Saranac Lake and George Foley of Vermontville. Stone finished 3rd in the first 50-lap race and won the second for an overall winning score of four points.
Dupree chased Stone to the line in round two to earn runner-up honors. Foley got by Andy Heywood after a 20-lap battle to wind up 3rd overall.
Richie Turner of Milton won the Renegade Twin-25 event.