The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) stock car series makes its first trip in several years to the super fast 5/8ths mile Circuit Ste-Croix (Ste-Croix, Qc), Saturday for a 100 lap event. And while the names of many of the Tours drivers will be familiar to the local fans, ACTs recent influx of young, new talent will introduce some 10-12 drivers to the track for the first time.

Ryan Vanasse, a 23 year-old driver from Warwick, RI will have one of the longest distances to travel but he feels hes prepared for the trip as well as for the race on the unfamiliar track. I used to race at Thompson (Speedway in CT) which is also a 5/8ths mile track, he recently remarked, So Ive been on longer, faster tracks before. Ive been doing some research and understand that Ste-Croix has a different shape to it compared to Thompson, which is like a paperclip. Weve worked hard over the winter to get prepared, I hope it pays off.

Joe Becker from Jeffersonville, VT is hoping he can draw a comparison between Plattsburgh, New Yorks Airborne Speedway, a half-mile track he favors and Ste-Croix. From what Ive been told, its easy to overdrive the Ste-Croix track in a Late Model. Thats typical of Airborne in a Sportsman car, he explained. Im hoping that it will be similar for me, that I can use what Ive learned from Airborne and transfer it to the 5/8ths track. I raced at Sanair several years ago in a Sportsman, I was a bit surprised, wasnt at all prepared for the speed. Im better prepared for that possibility now since Ive been to so many different tracks with the ACT Tour, the 33 year-old racer finished.

One of the youngest racers who will attempt to qualify for the Ste-Croix 100 will be 16 year-old Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson, NH. Joey Pole, as hes called, reports that hes found a downloadable computer racing game of the Circuit Ste-Croix racetrack that hes been practicing on all winter. Im not saying that its going to insure Ill do well or even qualify, but it certainly cant hurt, the young hot shoe explained, At least Ill have seen a little of what the tracks like. It helped me at Thunder Road. Following the ACT Tour Merchants Bank 150 opener on April 30, Polewarczyk began a conditioning program after finding himself running out of steam part way through the 150 lap race on the high-banked, mile Barre, VT oval. When I realized I was getting tired I pulled down to the inside to rest a bit. As a young driver Ive got to earn respect from the veterans and making stupid mistakes because Im tired is not the way to do it. My goal is to qualify for all 12 races and learn from each event.

AJ Begin, 37, of Merrimac, MA is one of the mature newcomers with the ACT Tour in 2006. Begin tested the Tour waters in 2005, finding the temperature just right. I found my experience with the Tour last year a very positive one. From the outset my team and I were accepted and treated as fairly as any other (team). When I proved that I could hold my own on the race track I earned their respect. Im happy to be a part of the Tour. The traveling is something my wife and I are enjoying and we all like the opportunity of trying new tracks. As for Ste-Croix, I dont have a lot of big track experience, but Ive done some research and I can follow the veterans when we get there to find the line, he remarked.

One of the ACT Tour veterans who looks forward to returning to the Ste-Croix speedplant is Jamie Fisher from Shelburne, VT. Fisher, a former Late Model Champion from Thunder Road remarked that keeping the brakes cool on the cars could be a problem for the teams whod not previously been to a track as large as Ste-Croix. Were adding extra fresh air ducts to make sure the brakes stay cool, he explained. Its also easy to drive in to the corners too deep, you carry so much speed off the straights. Overdriving and brakes will likely be the two things to watch for. One the plus side, there is plenty of pavement and room to pass, we can race two-wide all the way around. Fisher finished, As for the drivers whove never been to Ste-Croix before, Id say that Roger Brown is one who will probably adapt quickly, hes pretty fearless and he runs well at Airborne.

Post time for Saturdays Ste-Croix 100 is 5:00 pm.