Contributed by: ACT Staff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ACT-121906-1
WATERBURY, VT - Seventeen year-old Joey "Pole" Polewarczyk from Hudson, NH is the lone driver to appear on both of the ACT Tour's season end special award ballots. In his second year of ACT action, the Granite State competitor finished the 2006 season with an impressive third place in Thunder Road's historic Milk Bowl after he stunned the competition by establishing a new Late Model track record and winning the Booth Brothers Pole Award. The youngster's name is on both the "Most Improved" and "Sportsmanship" ballots.
Final ballots for several season-ending awards are in the mail to licensed competitors and officials. The ballots were formulated following a preliminary nominating ballot distributed earlier this year. Drivers who received the most nominations in the various categories are on the final ballot. Licensed ACT Late Model Tour, and ACT Sportsman drivers, as well as those competing weekly at Barre, Vermont's Thunder Road, can vote for their peers.
Twelve different names appeared on nominating ballots for the Late Model "Most Improved Driver" award, with those receiving the highest number of mentions transferring to the final ballot. Making the final cut are drivers representing three different states. Roger Brown from Lancaster, NH, the 2003 ACT Tour Rookie of the Year has captured the attention of his fellow competitors since he graduated to a Late Model, having appeared on the Most Improved ballot in each of the past four years. Brown posted his second career Tour win in 2006 with a victory at Seekonk (MA) Speedway en route to fourth in the standings was the award's recipient last year. Vermont's David Chagnon had a career best season during weekly competition at Thunder Road which included four top 10 finishes. Mark Lamberton from Mooers Forks, NY ran his first full season with the ACT Tour with impressive results. The veteran racer and former Airborne Raceway Late Model Champion finished fifth in the final tally. Polewarczyk is the final nominee.
Past recipients of the Late Model Most Improved Driver Award include Steve Fisher, Trampas Demers, Chad Wheeler (twice), Phil Scott and multi-time Thunder Road Late Model King of the Road, Cris Michaud (twice), among others.
Five names are listed on the Late Model "Sportsmanship" award ballot. Massachusetts racer, A.J. Begin scored his first nomination in the category. Last year he was nominated as a candidate for the most improved award. Ron Henry the 2004 and 2005 Late Model Sportsmanship Award winner is on the ballot for a third consecutive year as is current and a multi-time ACT Tour Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT. The Sportsmanship award is one of the few honors Cyr has never won. Brent Dragon, the award's 2003 winner is back on the ballot. Polewarczyk rounds out the nominees. In addition to Henry and Dragon, other Sportsmanship Award winners include Dave Whitcomb, Dave Wilcox, Herb Drugg, and Eric Williams, to name a few.
Four of the 15 driver names submitted appear on the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division's "Most Improved Driver" award final ballot. The nominees are among the divisions "young guns" and all finished among the top 11 in season-long points at Thunder Road.
Scott Coburn, a fourth year racer from Barre, VT, caught the attention of his fellow competitors for a second consecutive year to make the ballot. A pair of Northfield, VT sophomore racers, Jeff French and Matt While, also received nods. And second generation racer, Brendan Moodie, who was third in the point standings, is in the running for the first time in his career. Recent recipients for the NAPA Sportsmen Most Improved award, which dates back to 1990, include Brian Delphia (2005), Chris Gendreau, Steve Bennett, Robin Wood, and Doug Murphy.
Moodie, from N Wolcott, VT, is the lone driver in the NAPA Sportsman class to be on the ballot for both season ending awards. Joining the 21 year-old racer on the Sportsmanship Award ballot is another second generation competitor, Justin Hart from Williamstown. Hart's father Alex was the recipient of the 1989 Sportsmanship Award. Also in the running are a pair of veterans, Chuck Beede, the 1985 "King of the Road" and 2006 Sportsman Series title holder and Chris Gendreau, last year's award winner. Other previous winners include Kerry Henry, Chip Grenier, Joe Steffen (twice), as well as some 15 others since its inception in 1985.
Thunder Road's Allen Lumber Street Stock division will select from four names of the 24 submitted for the Ed Carroll Memorial Award ballot for sportsmanship. The award's 2004 recipient, veteran racer Gary Mullen from Tunbridge, VT has again made the cut. The balance of the field is made up of youngsters including 18 year-old Joe Hodgdon from Craftsbury, Plainfield's Tim Potter, 20 and 26 year-old Shawn Sicard. All of the competitors finished among the top ten in points. The Ed Carroll Memorial Award was instituted in 2002 following the passing of long-time ACT official Ed Carroll.
Completed ballots can be returned by mail (P.O. Box 296, Waterbury, VT 05676) or sent by fax (802-244-1616). All ballots must be received by the ACT/Thunder Road office no later than Tuesday, January 2.
The 2006 ACT and Thunder Road Banquet is set for Saturday, January 13 at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center.