Fort Kent native Brittany Theriault was in Chicago on Sunday.
She had to work this weekend at Hu-Friedy, a manufacturer of dental instruments where she has an internship.
But where she wanted to be was 1,117 miles away in Oxford, Maine.
That was where her fiance, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., impressively won the 39th annual TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway Sunday night. Theriault’s younger brother, Austin, finished third.
“It was terrible. I sent my mom a text and told her I had never wanted to be somewhere more in my life [than Oxford],” said Brittany Theriault.
She followed the race on Speed51.com and by Twitter on Vermont Motorsports Magazine and when she found out her fiance won and her brother finished third, “I cried my eyes out.”
“But I’m sure I would have doing the same thing if I had actually been there,” Brittany said.
So who was she rooting for?
“That’s a question I wouldn’t ask her,” Polewarczyk said. “I’m sure she was cheering for both of us.”
She was noncommittal.
“I couldn’t pick one,” Theriault said. “Joey’s been racing longer than Austin. He’s been racing forever. Austin didn’t start until he was 12-13. Both have done very well this year.
“It’s Joey’s time. He deserves it, for sure,” said Brittany Theriault, who is five years older than her little brother and the same age as her fiance (23).
She has watched the two race together before and enjoys it.
“It’s always great when they’re racing against each other and they’re both in the top five. I can keep my eyes on one area of the track,” she said.
But if they aren’t racing close together, she said, “I usually keep my eyes on the one who is doing better.”
She may not have been on hand Sunday but she will watch them race on Saturday during a 150-lap American-Canadian Tour race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.
“I felt so terrible that I couldn’t be there on Sunday that I’m going to take a couple of days off and fly out to be there this weekend,” Brittany said.
Polewarczyk will fly out to Chicago to join her in August and they will drive home together to New Hampshire.
She will then begin looking for a job as a dental hygienist, as she earned a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta in Bangor.
For Polewarczyk, Sunday’s victory brought back some fond memories of Oxford.
Polewarczyk, a native of Hudson, N.H., remembers going to Oxford Plains Speedway when he was “6 or 7” with his family to watch the TD Bank 250.
“It was a big deal, a huge race. Everyone was all nerved up about it,” Polewarczyk said. “We camped out there for the weekend.
“My big thing was the go-kart track across the street. I could drive a go-kart. I remember people packing into the stands for the 250,” Polewarczyk said.
He is from a racing family.
His father, Joey Polewarczyk Sr., used to own a Super Late Model car and Wayne Helliwell Jr. used to drive it for him.
“We still went even after my dad didn’t have a car. We’d watch Wayne,” Polewarczyk said. “It was a tradition. It was an awesome experience.”
He said the highlight of his weekend back then, in addition to driving a go-kart, was watching the heat races on Sunday leading up to the 250.
“Now, as a driver, I just want to get them over with,” he said.
Polewarczyk said Sunday’s first 250 win, in which he led 205 of 250 laps to earn him a check for $45,500, capped a day in which “everything just worked out perfectly.
“We rented the track a week ago and spent five or six hours getting the car exactly the way we wanted it to be,” he said. “After that test, it sat in my dad’s shop. We didn’t touch it. The weather on the day we tested was almost identical to how it was for the race.”
That meant that the car set-up didn’t have to be altered, although they did change springs between the heat race and the 250.
Polewarczyk led the first 135 laps leading up to their four-tire pit stop and he eventually passed Helliwell Jr. to take the lead for good.
He said their dominant performance was surprising.
“It was amazing. That part hasn’t sunk in yet. The way we won it by leading all those laps and picking up the extra bonus money was crazy. I’m on cloud nine. It was just our weekend,” Polewarczyk said.
Distance Racing Products owner Jeff Taylor of Farmington, who built the chassis for Polewarczyk’s 2007 Ford, finished second.
Polewarczyk said purchasing the chassis from Taylor was “the best move we’ve ever made. We had heard a lot of good things about him. His cars were winning back then (2007).
“Jeff is so great to work with. He knows his stuff. He’s very smart about how he sets these cars up. I’m very thankful to him,” Polewarczyk said.
Polewarczyk pointed out that in 2010, he destroyed his car in a race and needed a front clip for it by the time the next race was held the next weekend.
“Jeff said, ‘bring it up here to my shop,’” Polewarczyk said. “We brought it up to him on a Saturday and he had it ready for us on Monday. That’s the type of guy he is. He’s a hard worker.”