ACT
25 Years of ACT Racing

1989 CHAMPION – RUSS URLIN

We continue the countdown to the 25th Anniversary Season of American Canadian Tour racing with a review of the

1989 season. The 1989 season saw a changing of the guards on the ACT Coors Tour. With defending champion Robbie Crouch running a limited schedule, seven of the twenty-one events, the door was wide open for a new driver to step into the limelight. London, Ontario’s Russ Urlin, in just his sophomore season on the Tour, took advantage of the opportunity. He dominated the 1989 season winning the Coors Tour Championship, the GM National Stock Car Series Championship and the STP Canadian Challenge Championship. Below is a section from the 1990 ACT Media Guide recapping his dominant season:

“Russ Urlin became the first Canadian to win the American-Canadian Tour championship, a feat he accomplished with three races remaining on the 1989 schedule. This was the earliest that a championship had ever been decided. The 37 year-old London, Ontario resident picked up where five-time champion, Robbie Crouch left off, in dominating the Series.

En route to the title, Urlin won seven events, including three in a row, which tied Crouch’s consecutive win record. He put together a remarkable finish record, never placing out of the top 10 (his worst was a seventh) in 21 starts. Until the final event, Urlin had competed in every lap of every race. At Thunder Road’s Partstown 200, he went down one

lap, giving him an impressive laps completed statistic of 3296 of a possible 3297, or 99.9%.
Perhaps the most splendid fact about Urlin’s 1989 season was the amount of money won by the Thompson Moving/Motion/Budget driver, a whopping $114,600! Urlin eclipsed Crouch’s 1984 mark of $103,276 in seven fewer events, indicating just how much the American-Canadian Tour has grown.
Commenting about his championship season, Urlin said, “We had the opportunities in 1989 because luck was on our side.” He also attributed his success to a well prepared race car.
Urlin’s first victory came in the second race of the season, the Norseman Resorts 200 at Beech Ridge. Ironically, Urlin had won his first ACT race as a rookie in the race event one year earlier.
A fourth place finish one week later, at Sanair, put the eventual champion in the point lead, a position he would never relinquish. The London based team had one of the shortest drives, at some ten minutes, to the Tour’s first ever event at the ½ mile Delaware Speedway Park. While the traveling distance was short, the butterflies were long. The team looked for a strong performance in front of the hometown crowd in the 200 lap feature. A brand new, never raced before Hanley-built Chevrolet Camaro lengthened the odds on the favorite.
Right out of the box, the Camaro proved to be fast. He won the time trials, establishing the mark to beat on the semi-banked oval. The Motion 200 speed trial was the first of four consecutive trials for Urlin. Just like a good Hollywood script, the hometown boy made good, winning the Motion 200 (his sponsor’s event), in front of the largest crowd in the track’s history.
A victory came a few weeks later at the repaved Unity Raceway, making Urlin the only Tour driver to win on the 1/3 mile, former horse track. Several top finishes followed the Motor Supply/Dan Wolfe Ford win, before the champion returned to the winner’s circle.
The tight ¼ mile ‘Cement Palace’, Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway was next in the win column. The tight River Glade oval near Moncton, New Brunswick started off Urlin’s consecutive win streak at the end of July. A hard fought victory in the Coors 200 on the big Sanair Super Speedway tri-oval was number two, followed by the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup at Lee USA, his final visit to the winner’s circle.”

1989 QUICK FACTS
Largest Purse…………………………………………………..$108,591, Hotel du Jardin 300
Number of Drivers on Tour………………………………………………………………………159
Number of Events………………………………………………………………………………………21
Number of Race Winners…………………………………………………………………………..10
Winner of Most Races……………………………………………………………..….Russ Urlin, 7
Number of Race Leaders………………………………………………121 among 33 drivers
Most Laps Led…..……………………………………………………………………..452, Russ Urlin
Most Top 5 Finishes……………………………………………………………………19, Russ Urlin
Most Top 10 Finishes………………………………………………………………….21, Russ Urlin
Longest Race…………………………….Coors 200, Sanair Super Speedway (178 Miles)
Most Money Won……………………………………………………………$114, 600, Russ Urlin

1989 Top Ten
1. Russ Urlin                         2099
2. Dave Dion                        1860
3. Jean-Paul Cabana          1837
4. Paul Richardson             1817
5. Kevin Lepage                  1651
6. Buzzie Bezanson            1610
7. Claude Leclerc                1603
8. Gord Bennett                  1524
9. Barney McRae                1471
10. Ralph Nason                 1456