By Jeff Pederson – Pedal Down Promotions
(PEDAL DOWN PROMOTIONS) November 1, 2017 – Aided by a strong surge of consistent showings over the second half of the 2017 racing campaign, the silver anniversary season for Paul Pokorski and his Pokorski Motorsports team was filled several memorable performances.
The team’s 25th season of racing competition got off to an inauspicious start on May 6, as an opening-lap accident in the first Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 360 Sprint Car A main of the season relegated Pokorski to a 22nd-place finish.
The incident also knocked the team’s primary 2016 Maxim out of commission for the next two races, prompting Pokorski to turn to his trusty 2011 J&J backup car.
“Crashing on opening night was rough for us,” Pokorski said. “We had to take the rear end of the car apart to get the frame fixed.”
After notching a third-place A-main showing at Plymouth on May 13, Pokorski notched his 10th career 360 Sprint Car A-main victory in flag-to-flag fashion on Pedal Down Promotions Night at The Plymouth Dirt Track on May 27.
It was also Pokorski’s first A-main victory since Aug. 14, 2015 at the now defunct Manitowoc Expo Speedway, as well as the 45th overall A-main victory of his 25-year open-wheel racing career (35 Winged Super Modified, 10 360 Sprint Car).
“Winning the A-main at Plymouth on Pedal Down Promotions Night, which is one of our key supporters, was a big highlight for us,” Pokorski said.
The team returned to Plymouth for the Brian Portschy Memorial Race on June 10 with its newly repaired Maxim and promptly racked up an impressive fourth-place finish in the A main, after an early incident forced Pokorski to restart the race 19th on lap 6.
The following night at Angell Park in Sun Prairie saw the team encounter a magneto issue, which kept it from competing in the A main.
“We had mag trouble during our first visit to Sun Prairie, which forced us to miss running the A main,” Pokorski said. “The troubles we had on opening night at Plymouth and in the first race at Angell Park really hurt our overall points result for the season.”
The mag issue lingered into the following Saturday at Plymouth, which forced the team to scratch from the entire program after hot laps.
Another highlight of the season came in the team’s next event at Spring Lake Speedway in Unity on June 23, which drew a standing-room-only crowd and a stellar field of 27 cars for the first Midwest Sprint Car Association event at the track since 2004.
Pokorski turned in an 11th place showing with the team’s J&J backup car at Spring Lake before more bad luck plagued the team the following night at Plymouth when an incident in the A-main ended the team’s night with a 20th-place finish.
After searching for a consistent setup during most of the month of July, Pokorski racked up a second-place A-main showing at Plymouth on July 29 to ignite a string of strong finishes to close out the season.
Pokorski closed out a streak of five consecutive top-10 A-main showings with a 10th-place finish at Angell Park on Aug. 13. Misfortune struck again at Plymouth on Aug. 19 when Pokorski got caught up in a five-car incident just yards from the finish line while dueling for position just outside of the top five. The accident relegated the 2014 MSA Masters Series champion to a 17th-place finish.
Pokorski came back to tally an eighth-place showing in A-main action at Plymouth on Sept. 9 and capped the 2017 campaign with a strong fourth-place finish in the PDTR and MSA season finale at The Plymouth Dirt Track on Sept. 30.
In 21 PDTR/MSA events, Pokorski posted one A-main victory (May 27), two heat race wins, six top-five A-main finishes and 12 top-10 A-main showings.
Pokorski also placed seventh overall in the Midwest Sprint Car Association (MSA) standings and wound up ninth in the Plymouth Dirt Track Racing 360 Sprint Car points race.
“Getting at least one A-main win is always a goal and we got that pretty early on,” Pokorski said. “That was good, but I would have liked to have gotten at least one more. Overall, our season points finish was a little disappointing.”
Even in his 25th season of competition, Pokorski said he still found himself learning new things at the track.
“Shock technology has really changed a lot over the last 10 years or so and we are always learning,” Pokorski said. “Scotty Neitzel at R&H racing helped us take another step forward with that this year. I think our dry slick set ups have come a long way because of it. The change is so significant that I’ve had to change my driving style a bit, which I’m still working on.”
With 2017 now in the rearview mirror, Pokorski and his crew are firmly focused on 2018 with the off-season maintenance program already well under way.
“It took some effort to repair things and some expense to replace what couldn’t be fixed this season,” Pokorski said. “We will spend the off season making sure we are better prepared in some weak spots. It’s a never-ending process of learning from mistakes.
“I felt we were getting better at the end of the year,” he said. “Everyone else seems to be improving as well, so we’ll have to keep working and not settle. We are hoping to build off what we learned near the end of 2017 and start strong instead of behind the 8 ball like we did this year.”
Pokorski acknowledged the efforts of his 2017 Pokorski Motorsports pit crew, including crew chief Dave Schultz, Randy Leamer, Dan Hoerig, Ian Schultz, Aaron Pederson, Alex Pokorski, Lynn Pokorski, Heather Pokorski, Sheila Leamer, Chuck Tuschl, Karin Tuschl and Melissa Schultz.
“I want to thank Dave Schultz, who’s always there to help,” Pokorski said. “Ian Schultz and Aaron Pederson have been fun to work with. They are two young men who will hopefully stay involved in the sport for a long time. I also want to thank by mom [Karin Tuschl] and stepdad [Chuck Tuschl] for their never-ending support, as well as Randy and Sheila Leamer for their help in the pits. I really have to thank my wife, Lynn, and my kids, Alex and Heather, for their help in the pits and throughout the year to support me in what I love to do.”
The Pokorski Motorsports sponsors for the 2017 season include: Acme Armature Works Inc., Goeden’s Auto Body, Goodwin Racing Engines, Jens, Reinbold & Pfeffer Family Funeral Services & Crematory, Kettle Moraine Landscaping, Novak’s Service Center, Pedal Down Promotions, Christel Sign, Tisler Salvage Inc. and The Cawley Company.
“I really appreciate the support of our sponsors again this year,” Pokorski said. “Several of our sponsors have been with us for many years and their support is greatly appreciated. I also want to give a special ‘thank you’ to Acme Armature Works, who just joined us this year.”
Pokorski Motorsports is currently seeking sponsors for the 2018 season. For more information, on how to become involved in Pokorski Motorsports, contact Paul Pokorski at Pokorski4@gmail.com.
Pokorski Motorsports Sponsor Showcase – Novak’s Service Center
Pokorski Motorsports will like to acknowledge the support of long-time sponsor Novak’s Service Center of Manitowoc, which is celebrating its 45th year in business in 2017.
Novak’s Service Center is a locally-owned, two-bay auto repair center, which has been serving customers in the Lakeshore area since 1972. Located at 1320 Washington St. in Manitowoc, Novak’s Service Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Pedal Down Promotions is a full-service public relations and media services company devoted to helping its clients effectively communicate with targeted audiences through press releases, newsletters, profile and feature articles, website and social media content development, printed media, editing and layout, graphic design and book publishing services.
2017 Pokorski Motorsports By The Numbers
Total Events – 22
MSA events – 21
IRA events – 1
A Main Victories – 1
Top Five A Main Finishes – 6
Top 10 A Main Finishes – 12
Heat Race Victories – 2