The much anticipated ACT INVITATIONAL list is just one spot from completion with today’s announcement of the next seven drivers to be asked to join the field of 28 teams that have already accepted invitations to participate at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) ‘Magic Mile’ on Saturday, September 19, 2009.
“This has been a whole lot more difficult than I had anticipated”, said Tom Curley, President of the American Canadian Tour (ACT), the sanctioning body that will host the INVITATIONAL in conjunction with the first of the NASCAR Sprint Cup “Chase for the Cup” weekends that is being held at NHMS on September 18-20.”I have had a ‘short list’ sitting on my desk and traveling with me for over a week. I knew there would be four spots reserved for track champions (Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine and three New Hampshire tracks ---Lee USA, White Mountain Motorsport Park and Twin State Speedway). That left me with 8 solid choices on my list and only four spots available. The toughest part of this process was trying to find reasons not to invite any of the 8 teams I had put on the list. I started looking for reasons why to invite the final teams. The final 36 teams will make some history for Late Model racing. It is my hope that others will get an opportunity to race at NHMS in the future because of their efforts”, continued Curley.
The following will be receiving invitations to the historic event at NHMS:
Travis Adams --- Adams has captured the Oxford Plains Speedway point championship for the fourth straight year. He is a five-time champion of the famous New England speedway, and with his accomplishment, will rank up with the great champions before him. Travis Adams will forever be mentioned in the same company as Mike Rowe, Al Hammond, and Jeff Taylor. He will now represent Oxford in the ACT INVITATIONAL. The invite was especially meaningful to the #03 team. Travis Adams lost his dad just before the 2009 season. They changed some plans and headed back to Oxford because that is where his dad would have wanted him to go. Travis said in victory lane last Saturday night, “Dad got what he would have wanted, the Oxford Championship in an ACT legal car --- I got what I wanted with an invitation to race in the ACT INVITATIONAL at New Hampshire Motor Speedway”.
Guy Caron --- The Goshen, New Hampshire Late Model driver was dominant in his quest for the Twin State title in the first season of the Speedway taking on the ACT rules package. Caron participated in the test and tune session at NHMS last month and was comfortable and impressive right from the early test sessions. Caron will join fellow Granite State competitor Wayne Helliwell, Jr., who will represent the Lee USA Speedway at the INVITATIONAL. Helliwell has a seemingly overwhelming lead going into the final two weeks of competition over Brian Kruczek, from near-by Newmarket, NH. When asked ‘what if’ Kruczek were to overtake Helliwell, which is mathematically possible, Curley said, “I guess we would have to consider a change in the format and add his name. Brian did a great job at the test and I would not have a second thought about adding him, if we found ourselves in that situation. I just think it is only fair to let the Helliwell team know they are in, so they can prepare for the NHMS experience while still chasing the title”. Curley went on to say “Actually, we are taking a bit of a gamble by making these announcements before this weekend’s Fall Foliage 300 at the new Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY. If we had a surprise winner who could be approved, I guess we would have to look at that in the same way. Like I said earlier, this has been a whole lot more difficult than I had originally envisioned”.
The final track championship is too close to call at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Quinny Welch leads veteran Stacy Cahoon by a mere six points after they battled last Saturday night. There are two races left in the WMMP championship chase, and in all likelihood, it will not be decided until the eve of the ACT INVITATIONAL. Both teams tested well at NHMS and one will not only win the title, but will secure the 36th spot in the INVITATIONAL at Loudon on Saturday, September 19th.
A veteran of over 50 years of winning races and championships will receive his invite to the INVITATIONAL. Joey Laquerre from Barre, VT has been ‘King of the Road’ at Thunder Road and has raced just about every kind of stock car at nearly every track in the Northeast over a storied career. Laquerre was pretty much singularly responsible for helping ACT and Goodyear develop the 8” slick that is now being used throughout North America. He has mentored many younger drivers such as Joey Pole, his own sons, and has a goal of racing at Thunder Road against his grandsons before he hangs up his helmet. Laquerre tested at New Hampshire last month and proved that age has not slowed him down. He was one of the fastest cars at the track over the two days, ironically, the 66-year-old Laquerre raced with Brandon Watson from Ontario for several practice sessions, and both were clocked as two of the quicker drivers. Watson is 16 years old and was on the original list of invitees to come back to New Hampshire.
The only Ford in the field will be driven by three-time Thunder Road track champion Cris Michaud, from Williamstown, VT. Michaud was the original R&D driver for ACT on the GM crate motor program back in 1999. When asked if he would take on the Ford project, he didn’t hesitate this past spring. Although his original goal was to try and win the 50th season championship at his home track, Thunder Road, Michaud gave up some of that effort to work on the Ford crate. He finished third, only losing the title by 53 points to 7-time ACT Champion Jean Paul Cyr, but he made some history of his own when he piloted the first ACT crate Ford motor to victory at Thunder Road this past July.
The Pine Tree state will send another favorite son and veteran race driver to the ‘magic mile’ in less than two weeks. Glen Luce from Turner, Maine was a former Pro Stock racer who went full-time with ACT in 2008. Luce brings strong credentials to NHMS, especially with his impressive outings at the longer and faster tracks that the American Canadian Tour visits on an annual basis. The veteran of Maine ovals has adapted well to the long distance races. His strength seems to be on the longer and faster tracks. He will get to test that at the 160-mile per hour New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19th.
The group that makes up the ACT INVITATIONAL will have a balance of the veteran stars and the young teams that have proven capable of competing on the big stages of short track in our region. Nick Sweet, from Barre, VT will join the all-star line-up. Sweet has proven to be one of the most popular drivers to come out of the ACT system over the past couple years. This family team, led by Shayne Sweet, Nick’s father, has been consistently a top threat to win races almost since his Late Model team was created in 2008. Sweet tested extremely well at Loudon last month, and will join an impressive cast of young guns comprised of Joey Pole of Hudson, NH, Shawn Martin of Turner, ME, Watson from Ontario, Joey Doiron from Berwick, ME, and Tim Jordan from Plainfield, CT.
ACT INVITATIONAL Invited Teams:
Car# State Name Hometown Track/Series
6 VT Cris Michaud Williamstown, VT ACT/TR
7 ME Glen Luce Turner, ME ACT
8 NH Guy Caron Goshen, NH Twin State
9 ON Brandon Watson Stayner, ON Kawartha Downs
10 NH Ben Rowe Turner, ME ACT
11 VT Jean Paul Cyr Milton, VT Thunder Road
11 RI Ryan Vanesse Warwick, RI Seekonk
14 VT Phil Scott Middlesex, VT Thunder Road
14 ON Sean Kennedy Dunrobin, On Capital City
15 VT Joey Laquerre Barre, VT ACT/TR
17 MA Eddie MacDonald Rowley, MA ACT
18 VT Jamie Fisher Shelburne, VT ACT/TR
21 QC Jean Francois Dery Quebec City, QC ACT Castrol
26 VT John Donahue Graniteville, VT ACT/TR
27 MA Wayne Helliwell, Jr Dracut, MA Lee USA
35 CT Bruce Thomas Groton, CT Waterford
37 VT Brian Hoar Williston, VT ACT
40 VT Eric Chase Milton, VT ACT/TR
44 VT Dave Pembroke Montpelier, VT Thunder Road
47 CT Tim Jordan Plainfield, CT Waterford
48 QC Karl Allard Ste Felicien, QC ACT Castrol
51 ME Ricky Rolfe Albany Twnshp, ME ACT
55 VT Brent Dragon Milton, VT ACT
55 NH Brad Leighton Center Harbor, NH ACT
71 ON Dan McHattie Cavan, On Kawartha Downs
73 ME Joey Doiron Berwick, ME ACT
80 QC Donald Theetge Quebec, City, QC ACT Castrol
88 VT Nick Sweet Barre, VT ACT/TR
89 VT Scott Payea Milton, VT ACT
91 QC Patrick Laperle Montreal, QC ACT Castrol
94 ME Shawn Martin Turner, ME Oxford Plains
97 NH Joey Polewarczyk Hudson, NH ACT
03 ME Travis Adams Canton, ME Oxford Plains
02 NH Randy Potter Groveton, NH ACT
04 ME TJ Watson Cundy’s Harbor, ME Wiscasset
The ACT INVITATIONAL will take place at 5:30 on Saturday, September 19, 2009. Tickets for NASCAR ‘Chase’ weekend, including the ACT INVITATIONAL can be purchased by logging on to www.nhms.com.