The field is set for the inaugural American Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational to be held this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon, NH. The 36-car field for the historic first-ever Late Model stock car race is filled with the best short track drivers in the Northeastern US and provinces of Quebec and Ontario, Canada. The $65,000 event is slated to take green at 5:30 Saturday afternoon, following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ‘Heluva Good! 200’.
ACT teams from throughout the Northeast have spent the past six months battling each other for a coveted spot in what will be the most unique racing opportunity most have had in their careers.
Veteran racer from Barre, VT, Joey Laquerre said, “This has to be the highpoint of my 50-plus years of racing. I had so much fun at the ‘test and tune’ (over 50 ACT teams were invited to a test session at NHMS in August) and I really wanted to get an invitation to this race. I hope this will be good for the future of Late Model racing. I think it is just great for the young kids like Joey ‘Pole’ (Polewarczyk), those two 16- and 17-year olds, (Brandon Watson from Stayner, ON and Joey Doiron from Berwick, ME). They are the future, but I wish I could be starting all over again with them. They are going to have a lot of fun racing in the next ten years or so”. Laquerre was a former Thunder Road Track Champion and has raced at just about every track in New England for over 5 decades, in just about every kind of stock car.
The starting grid for the ACT Invitational will have twenty-four former and present Track Champions and Series Champions. Three of the hottest drivers in ACT racing represent each of the Touring Series which the sanctioning body manages.
Montreal’s Patrick Laperle has the most wins entering the Invitational, with four (4). Laperle is contending to win his second Série ACT Castrol Championship on Sunday, following the NHMS event. He is chasing two-time Castrol Série Champion Donald Theetge from Quebec City, who leads the Series by 33 points going into the 300 lap finale at Autodrome Ste. Eustache outside of Montreal. Laperle will receive a $2,000 bonus for his 4 Invitational wins.
Veteran driver Brent Dragon from Milton, VT enters the Invitational with three qualifier wins and is coming off an impressive third place finish after starting twelfth at the Fall Foliage 300 at the Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh last Sunday afternoon. Dragon battled eventual winner Laperle for over 100 laps in the final half of the event, swapping the official lead a half dozen times. Laperle won the 300-lap event, but only after running out of fuel while pitting during the final caution, on lap 255.
Former NHMS Track Champion, and now full-time ACT competitor, Brian Hoar of Williston, VT took over the ACT Tour point lead following the Fall Foliage 300. Hoar leads Scott Payea, of Milton, VT by 28 points going into the final event of the campaign at Oxford Plains Speedway on October 11th. “I really am not thinking about the ACT title with the Invitational in front of us. When I was racing on the old NASCAR Busch East Series, this was a place I just loved to come to. Being named as the NHMS Track Champion ranks right up there with my five ACT titles. I can’t wait until 5:30 on Saturday, and I think fans are going to have some fun also. During the testing we found out that these cars can draft, carry big speed through the corners, and that the outside lane is the place to be. That should provide a good combination for putting on a great show. MY RPM team is pumped up and ready”, said Hoar.
Nine tracks from throughout the Northeast and Canada will be sending their 2009 champions to the ACT Invitational, along with 6 other past track champions from throughout the region. There are 4 ACT TOUR Champions entered, 3 Serie Castrol Champions and a multi-time PASS Super Late Model Champion.
“The starting field for this event will be the very best 36-car field in the 25-year history of ACT racing. These teams all deserve to be here based on what they have accomplished either in the Qualifiers or in their racing careers, and we are proud to have them represent ACT and Late Model racing. We are grateful to Jerry (Gappens, Vice President and Executive Manager of NHMS), Bob Bahre (founder and former owner of NHMS and lifelong supporter of short track racing) and the entire NHMS staff for their support and confidence in short track racing in our region”, said Tom Curley, President of the American Canadian Tour. “I am especially happy to have such a great mix of veteran teams and new young stars who will get the chance to have this experience. I guess it is now time to ‘start the engines’ and let them get after each other”, concluded Curley.The ACT Invitational will take place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of the weekend-long NASCAR ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup’ activities. The Invitational will post at 5:30 on Saturday, September 19, 2009 and will be run over a distance of 50 miles. Information for tickets can be obtained by contacting the ticket office at NHMS or their web site at www.nhms.com