Late Model stock car drivers will get their first super-speedway experience next year, as the 1-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH hosts the inaugural American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 weekend, September 18-20, 2009. The ACT/NHMS event will have a purse of more than $65,000 for invited and approved teams that attend the historic, groundbreaking event for Late Model stock car racing.
“New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been looking for a way to support the short track industry throughout the Northeast and Québec/Ontario markets. ACT offers the perfect conduit to help us meet our marketing goal,” said NHMS Vice President and General Manager Jerry Gappens.
“New Hampshire Motor Speedway is giving short track fans and teams throughout the Northeast and Canada a wonderful opportunity,” said ACT President Tom Curley.
The ACT Invitational race will be a 50-lap all-star event with 36 starters. Each 2009 race winner on the U.S.-based ACT Late Model Tour and the Québec/Ontario-based Série ACT-Castrol as of Sept. 18, 2009 will be awarded a guaranteed starting spot at NHMS, along with a $500 bonus for each win, contingent upon participation at the NHMS event.
Three non-championship events will also be NHMS qualifying races with a $500 NHMS bonus: the CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup 100 at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in Barre, VT, the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, ME, and the Coors Light 200 “Showdown at Chaudière” all-star race at Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jonction, QC on Sat., August 29.
Other invitees will be 2009 champions and/or point leaders as of Sept. 18, 2009 on the ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT-Castrol, as well as at the following ACT-affiliated short tracks: Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, Oxford Plains Speedway, Lee USA (NH) Speedway, Twin State Speedway (Claremont, NH), White Mountain Motorsports Park (N. Woodstock, NH), Seekonk (MA) Speedway, Waterford (CT) Speedbowl, Capital City Speedway (Ottawa, ON), and Kawartha Speedway (Peterborough, ON). Provisional starting spots will be awarded to fill the field to 36 cars, if needed.
“Short track racing is grass roots racing, and is the engine that drives the entire stock car industry,” said Curley. “Jerry Gappens and his NHMS team are to be commended during these challenging times with their proactive, innovative ideas to be inclusive of the region’s short tracks. Obviously, the American-Canadian Tour teams and fans, along with their affiliate Late Model tracks, are very excited and appreciative about this opportunity.”
“This is great news for Late Model racing as a whole,” said ACT Late Model Tour veteran Brent Dragon of Milton, VT. “Racing at Loudon is something I think all drivers in this region want to do, and now we’ve all got even more motivation to win races. Being at New Hampshire Motor Speedway brings this group to a whole new level.”
“I’m very proud of the fact that ACT is going to New Hampshire,” said Donald Theetge of Québec City, the 2006 Série ACT-Castrol champion. “It will be great for our drivers, our fans, and it would be a great thing to win a race in front of those Sprint Cup teams. I know I’m going to try everything I can to get in that race and win it.”
A strategic marketing plan will be created for race fans throughout the northeastern U.S. and Canada to make attending the event affordable and give fans more action and value for their ticket money. Promotions will be held in all major markets of the region, including the Canadian metro areas of Montréal, Ottawa, Québec City, and eastern Toronto, and U.S. metro areas including Providence, Portland, Boston, Hartford, Burlington, VT, Manchester, NH, Plattsburgh, NY, and more.
“It’s our intention to give the best short track teams in the region a chance to compete at the premier super-speedway in the northeast,” said Gappens. “In addition, it will also help to encourage more passionate short track race fans to visit our speedway during our mega-event NASCAR race weekends.”
The Série ACT-Castrol 2009 schedule was released at the annual Banquet of Champions in Drummondville, QC last Saturday night. The 2009 ACT Late Model Tour schedule will be released in the coming days. For more information, call ACT at (802) 244-6963 or visit www.acttour.com, or call New Hampshire Motor Speedway at (603) 783-4931 or visit www.nhms.com.