SCARBOROUGH — It wasn’t winning. It wasn’t leading the race. It wasn’t even finishing in the top five. For Joey Polewarczyk Jr., simply finishing all 150 laps Saturday night was as good as it gets for one of the region’s most accomplished race car drivers.

Polewarczyk, of Hudson, New Hampshire, led the final 46 laps at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway for his first Pro All Stars Series victory of the season, winning the PASS 150 by holding off determined efforts from both Curtis Gerry of Waterboro and Mike Hopkins of Hermon over the closing laps.

“You have no idea how good this feels,” Polewarczyk said, standing in victory lane.

After twice previously having a car fast enough to win, engine failures ended days early for Polewarczyk, who won three PASS races a year ago. He was leading at Oxford in April when his No. 97 gave out, and again at Thunder Road in May he was in contention when the engine blew. He went to races in both North Carolina and Michigan over the last month, each time the rear end transmission unable to last the entire race distance.

The 2012 Oxford 250 winner and a former American-Canadian Tour race winner at Beech Ridge, Polewarczyk admitted the pressure had begun to build.

“Lately, when we’ve been going to races, I went in with the mindset of ‘what’s going to go wrong today?’ because that’s the kind of year it’s been,” said Polewarczyk, the 2014 ACT champion, who now has four career PASS wins. “We came in today with a good attitude that things were going to turn around. I was hoping to win… Man, I can’t even tell you the stress off my shoulders right now. It’s been a rough year, but this makes up for it, for sure.”

There was pressure from outside sources, too, for Polewarczyk on Saturday.

He took the lead on a lap 105 restart from outside pole-sitter Ben Rowe, scooting around the high side off of turn four to have cleared Rowe’s car by the time he reached the start finish line. A rash of caution flags inside a 10-lap window from laps 100-110 gave Hopkins, Gerry and others cracks at Polewarczyk’s lead, but he was able to get ahead each time with a quick jump at the drop of the green flag and then scoot his machine into his preferred outside lane.

Gerry, the 2016 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway champion won won the Firecracker 50 at the track last Sunday, pulled all the way up to Polewarczyk’s door over the final few laps but couldn’t pull off the pass.

“I was very close. If I was to use him up a little bit, I could have gotten by him but I don’t race that way,” Gerry said. “I was better on the bottom, even though I couldn’t make the pass.”

Hopkins, too, saw his bid thwarted by a lack of grip and a right front tire that was slowly going flat.

“When you have to come from 14th (starting position), you have to burn your stuff up to get to the front,” Hopkins said. “In all of these races this year we’ve been really good on the short runs and then the car goes extremely tight.”

And with both of those drivers yielding the high lane to Polewarczyk, the 28-year-old driver was happy to have it and drive to a 0.192-second margin of victory.

“I wanted to be on the top,” Polewarczyk said. “I told my (spotter) on the radio, ‘If you say clear, I’m going to go.’ That was my plan, to try and drive it in deep so I could wash up the track. I’d give them the bottom, that was fine. It worked out. Tonight, it all just worked out for us, which was nice.”

Polewarczyk started fifth in the 26-car field and never fell outside of the top five. He got some track position on the only restart in the first half of the race, on lap 29, moving into second where he could eventually begin to put pressure on Rowe at the front of the field. He continued dogging the Turner driver over the middle third of the race — even getting alongside the four-time series champion when Rowe wiggled in lapped traffic, but he smartly settled in and let the race unfold.

Rowe, shuffled as far back as eighth with 40 laps to go, rallied back to finish fourth. Bobby Timmons of Windham, making his first start of the season at the track, finished fifth.

PASS point leaders Glen Luce and D.J. Shaw didn’t have the best of nights, rallying through some late carnage to finish seventh and 10th, respectively. Shaw started 25th on the grid.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC