ACT TOUR ANNOUNCES $250,000 ‘MONEY MONTH’ FOR LATE MODEL TEAMS
The American Canadian Tour (ACT) announced today that over a 30-day period from August 29th through September 27th there would be purses posted of over a quarter million dollars for Late Model race teams in the Northeast and Canada.
Starting with the Coors Light Showdown of Champions event at the 1/3-mile banked Autodrome Chaudiere in the Beauce region outside Quebec City, the top eleven (11) US ACT Tour teams will go head to head with the top (11) ACT Castrol Serie teams. The winner of the event gets the grand prize of $5,000 from the $35,000 in posted purse. Everyone is guaranteed $1,000 minimum, but this year, promoter Michel Lessard has posted a ‘kicker’. The winning ‘team’, be it the US or Castrol team, will share equal portions of an added $5,500.00. The $500 bonus per member will go to the team whose 11 total finishes outpoint the other team. The biggest names in ACT racing from both sides of the border will be attending the second edition of the Showdown. Patrick Laperle barely beat defending ACT Castrol Champion, Alexandre Gingras, in the inaugural 200-lap event in 2008.
The Americans won the overall title as a team last year. Ironically, former Castrol Champions Patrick Laperle of Montreal and Donald Theetge from Quebec City both helped the US team win as they raced on the ACT US Tour in 2008. This year they are locked in a tight battle for the ACT Castrol Serie championship in Quebec and Ontario and will be representing the Canadian team during the classic.
Next up in the marathon ‘ACT Money Month’ will be a return to Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont for the 47th annual running of the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic. A record purse and prize posting of $45,000 has been offered. Renowned car builder and car owner Pete Duto entered Brad Leighton from Center Harbor, NH in last year’s Classic. In one of the most memorable come-back races in the long history of Thunder Road, Leighton crashed twice in the event but came back to win $10,000 and the first place trophy. He will be back to defend the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic in 2009.
One of the most anticipated events of the year is up next for the Late Model teams. The long awaited return of the Fall Foliage 300 is back on the ACT schedule in 2009. The newly renovated and redesigned Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY will again host the historic ‘300’ weekend with a posted purse of $40,000. This fall classic event was held in many forms and different numbers of laps. The inaugural event was held in 1972 and was won by Bobby Dragon of Milton, VT. Catamount continued the tradition of a big fall event until it closed in 1987. After the closing of Catamount, the race moved to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME for a three-year stop. Buzzie Bezanson of Plaistow, NH surprised all present with a no pit stop ‘300’ win in 1989. Two of the greatest Late Model drivers in New England racing history won the other two Beech Ridge events, Robbie Crouch from Tampa, FL in 1988, and “Dynamite” Dave Dion from Hudson, NH won in 1990. The race moved to Airborne Raceway for the next ten years. A one and only stop for the ‘300’ took place at Thunder Road in 2003, where Ryan Moore, in his only year racing the ACT Tour, was the surprise winner. The Fall Foliage 300 returned to Airborne the following year and has found its home there since 2004. The most recent ACT winners included Airborne and ACT Champions Brent Dragon and Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT, and Quebec’s great Patrick Laperle. Under the leadership of present owner Steve Fuller and promoter Mike Perotte, the outstanding DIRT driver Kenny Tremont, Jr.has won all three Fall Foliage extra distance events in a Modified on the ½-mile asphalt speedway. The ACT Tour returns in 2009 after a three-year absence.
The championship month will continue with what has become the most talked-about event in Northeastern Late Model racing of any kind this season. The inaugural ACT INVITATIONAL at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway will take place on Saturday, September 19. No championship title points, no pressure, just an historic day for Late Model racers throughout the region, as they race for $65,000 and a name in the NHMS record books. This year-long promotion will be the racing career highlight for many of the lucky 36 invitees. It is sure to be a highlight for the many short track fans that take in the atmosphere of the first NASCAR Chase event weekend held each September at NHMS.
Finally, the $250,000 month will fittingly come to a close with the ‘grand-daddy’ event of them all, the 47th Annual Chittenden Milk Bowl. Thunder Road will bring the curtain down on its 50th season with a $10,000-to-win, $70,000 Milk Bowl. The gloves are sure to come off at this year’s Milk Bowl. For the first time in recent memory this event will be strictly for the money, the glory, the right to kiss the cow --- with no points for either Thunder Road teams or ACT Tour teams. The three-segment format of the Milk Bowl provides the ultimate equal playing field for the ACT competitors. You don’t have to win all three segments, you just need to race every lap like it is the white flag lap, and have a whole bunch of luck.
The ACT Late Models have reached the top of the Northeastern-racing scene. Promoters have recognized them as the best in the business, and tracks from throughout the Northeast and Quebec are rewarding them with the ACT $250,000 Money Month of racing. The real winners will be the fans.