Contributed by: ACT Staff
One of the elder statesmen of the “New Breed” is 26 year-old Roger Brown. Brown, from Lancaster, the 2003 ACT Tour Rookie of the Year, found his stride in 2005, turning in four top-5 finishes including a pair of runner-up efforts. The young hotshoe reports that he’s got a new car primed and ready to bring his assault at Thunder Road’s season opening Merchants Bank 150, Sunday, April 30.
Twenty-seven year-old Mike Collins of Strafford, NH, tested the ACT Tour waters, and at back-to-back events raced his way into the top ten at tracks he’d never previously raced on. Collins has upped the ante and will attempt the full Tour schedule in 2006.
If consistency was the name of the game, Milton, Vermont’s Scott Payea would be near the top of the list. Only one driver, 2005 Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr had a better finishing average than last season’s top freshman runner (5.1 to 7.6). Additionally, Payea, 24, was one of just seven drivers to qualify for all 10 ACT Tour feature races in 2005.
The highlight to 23 year-old Ryan Vanasse’s first season with the ACT Tour was a fourth place finish in front of his hometown crowd at Seekonk (MA) Speedway. The Warwick, RI youngster cut his racing teeth at the one-third mile oval dubbed the “Cement Palace” and showed the ACT Tour faithful the way around the Bay State oval. With a season of ACT Touring under his belt, young Vanasse states that he’ll be more comfortable at most of the tracks on the 2006 schedule and is excited to tackle Sanair’s tri-oval.
In spite of is age, Polewarczyk, an honor student from Hudson, NH, has several years of racing competition under his belt. After getting his feet wet on the local Late Model scene in 2004, his family based team made the transition to the touring Late Model series. In the New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl season ending event at Thunder Road (Barre, VT), “Joey Pole” hit his stride at the high banked quarter-mile oval. The driver, who will turn 17 years old 30 days after the Merchants Bank 150, raced his way in to the 42nd annual event by finishing fourth in the second of three Triple-50 Qualifiers.
Twenty-two year-old Marc Curtis from Leicester, MA qualified for three ACT Tour events in his inaugural ACT Late Model season. Curtis, who was used to the horsepower needed at the 5/8ths mile Thompson (CT) Speedway, showed steady improvement with the ZZ4 “crate motor” utilized by ACT. Like Vanasse, Curtis is looking forward to the familiarity of returning to tracks this year.
Other young lions to watch for in the future include Granite State residents Dan Colby (Lyman), Mike Jurkowski (Claremont), and Bobby Baillargeon (Nottingham) as well as 17 year-old Mark Anzalone from Malden, MA who will compete as a Rookie of the Year contender in 2006.