“David Polenz Ready to get Back on Track” 10/30/15 by Andy Marquis/Race22.com

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Charles Parker Allstate Agency teams with DPR for the 2015 Season.

 

Last time David Polenz was a regular fixture in Late Model Stock Car racing, the Twilight Saga was the hot topic in pop culture and Casey Anthony was the most hated person in America.

After winning the track championship at Old Dominion Speedway in 2011, David Polenz hoped he would be going places. However, circumstances outside of his control changed his path. Following his championship triumph, his biggest supporter, Joe Murphy, passed away and his sponsorship money dried up (with new management). His racing became limited and success even more limited since the track he had the most success at closed down.

Now, the 24-year-old from Pattenburg, New Jersey is hoping to revitalize his racing career as he makes his first start in over a year in the Late Model Stock Car portion of Saturday night’s Liberty University 300 presented by Southern National Motorsports Park, the final event of the inaugural Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Tour.

“The nerves don’t get to me,” Polenz said confidently. “I’m excited though. I get a little nervous the first time I sat in that car a couple weeks ago. We got to run 40 laps at Hickory before we had motor issues. We got all the bugs out, car felt really good. I’m just excited to get behind the wheel. It’s been too long since we ran consistently.”

For Polenz, his main focus has shifted from focusing solely on the racecar to focusing on marketing himself to attract sponsorship dollars.

“Looking for sponsors,” Polenz remarked. “That’s the main thing. That’s mainly what I’ve done with this time off is bringing money into the door. I’ve changed the program around from a race team first to a marketing team first where we build our sponsors through local events and car shows and stuff like that.”

The lack of funding alone did not sideline Polenz. Old Dominion Speedway, which was the track that gave birth to Late Model Stock Car racing, was very different from most other tracks. For many years, Old Dominion raced on eight inch Hoosier Tires but that rule changed in 2011. Old Dominion ran different shocks and also ran different carburetors.

When the track closed at the conclusion of the 2012 season, Polenz found that racing at other tracks such as Southern National Motorsports Park, where most of Old Dominion’s competitors flocked to, was significantly different than the slick and slippery track in Manassas, Virginia.

“Part of why we haven’t been able to race is because of the changes from Old Dominion to other races. Old Dominion, you had to run different shocks, different carbs, two barrels and stuff like that. The cool part was, we had that stuff and could run a two tire program so that was awesome and saved us a lot of money. We had been there so long and built our program we had sponsor money coming through the door.

“When Joe Murphy passed away, someone else came in who wasn’t as enthusiastic about racing. Joe understood the marketing benefits of everything but I didn’t understand at the time what we needed to do to grow our sponsors … Me, growing with maturity and age, I’ve learned what it takes. Putting more in the marketing program is important. Can’t race without dollars.”

Polenz’s 2011 championship was certainly the highlight of his career at the track he, his sister (Jessie) and his cousin (Ryan) all raced at. After that championship, Polenz hoped he would be going places. However, that was not to be. In 2013 and 2014, Polenz’s racing became limited. In fact, he found himself helping out other teams just to make a little money and stay in the sport that he loved. He worked as a pit crew member for other drivers in races such as the Snowball Derby. Despite that, he never gave up on racing.

Polenz’s last win, to date, came on September 1, 2012 at Old Dominion Speedway and his most recent start in a Late Model Stock Car race was on August 16, 2014 at Southern National Motorsports Park. He scored a sixth place finish in the second of two twin feature races.

“It was emotional to win that championship,” Polenz remarked. “It means a lot, especially running a 1999 chassis. We ran a crate motor, old conventional setup. Interesting story to me when we go to a place like Southern National and Hickory where these guys have hot licks stuff.

Heading into Saturday night, Polenz is as confident as he always is racing against a stacked field of most of Late Model Stock Car racing’s elite racers. He hopes to have a strong run and make a statement – a statement that could attract sponsors.

“CARS Tour is a big race,” Polenz commented. “I’ll be satisfied running in the top half of the field. Main goal is to run towards the front of that. My shock guy, my motor guy and are Dave Moon still helping me. We haven’t changed anything with the racecar other than shocks and springs.”

While Polenz is confident, he knows that this race will be different than the races he ran at Old Dominion. Though, while the race is different, Polenz is sticking to the fundamentals he is most comfortable with.

“It’s definitely unknown territory to me,” Polenz explained. “Never ran against guys with bump-stops there. We might lose before we’re there but I’ve always been comfortable on a conventional setup. If you can perfect a conventional setup, you can run just as good as someone with bump-stops. That’s part of it. I do all my own work now in my shop and I have a group of advisers that I go to that make decisions and adjustments and things like that.”

Next year, Polenz hopes to be a lot more active in racing, especially with the multi-purpose Dominion Raceway motorsports complex opening up to essentially replace the Old Dominion Speedway racetrack that has since been transformed into a housing development. Along with racing at Dominion Raceway, Polenz also hopes to race full-time in the CARS Tour in 2016 and make the field at the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway and the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

“I’d love to run a full CARS Tour,” Polenz elaborated. “We could get some sponsors and make that happen. I’ve really been wanting to run Myrtle Beach again and venture out and make a ace at Martinsville would be very enjoyable. We’d do more testing before we went because we want to run big races. If this weekend goes well and we run top-10, that will be good for me. If we run top 10 that’s good because it says we can run good if we work on it. This car’s had success at every track we’ve taken it to. I feel pretty confident going into this weekend.”

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