Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT NEWCOMERS GIVE A NEW LOOK TO 2010 TOUR
Fans at the opening events on the 2010 American Canadian Tour (ACT) will see a host of veteran returning drivers, along with lots of new teams—the most diverse group the popular regional Tour has seen since it started touring in 1996.
Five former ACT regulars from the past rejoin the 2010 Tour -- Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Ontario are each sending teams who could have an immediate impact on the 2010 Tour season.
Seven-time Champion Jean-Paul Cyr from Milton, VT will drive for former racer, and now car owner, Gary Caron. “I am anxious to get things started this season. Winning the Thunder Road (TR) title last year was a huge goal, and I really enjoyed the weekly racing at TR, but I missed the longer distance races. The Tour has changed a lot since my last Championship run in 2007. I like the challenge of racing with guys like Brian (Hoar), Brent(Dragon), Joey Pole and Randy Potter. I am excited about working with Gary and Kyle Caron,” said Cyr.
Cyr will also have to contend with another veteran of earlier days on the ACT, Mark Lamberton from Mooers Forks, NY will be driving a team car for the Richard I. Green team (RIG) out of Enosburg Falls, VT. Long time RIG driver Joey Becker will crew the Lamberton effort, while Lamberton crews for Becker at Thunder Road. “We have really tried to give the boys whatever they need to be competitive this season,” said an excited Rick Green at the practice session held at Thunder Road a week ago. Lamberton is known as a ‘long track’ specialist, but after results from the TR test, it appears the RIG investment during the off-season has paid off. Becker, with the sister car to Lamberton, was the fastest and most stable car all day long.
Experience will not be lacking when Derek Lynch from Warkworth, ON pulls into the pits at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY this weekend. Lynch was just 16 years old when he ran the old ACT Pro Stock Tour in 1988. He was mentored by two of the most notable racers of that time: Jr. Hanley and Robbie Crouch. Lynch was 10th on the all-time ACT money earned list in only 6 full years of racing - earning nearly $300,000. He also won races at Thunder Road and he won the Oxford 250 in 1994. Lynch moved on to race for a number of years on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (formerly Busch East) and recently has spent several seasons racing throughout Canada on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
One of the biggest surprises in 2009 was when Jeff Zuidema from North Brookfield, MA showed up at an ACT event. This multi-time Champion at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut has joined forces with veteran car owner Dave Maynard for the 2010 campaign. The team has a new car and new motor program for 2010. Zuidema is an all-star driver who has total focus on the ACT for 2010. With some limited experience racing ACT in 2009, the 42MA team hopes to challenge for some wins and a top finish in 2010.
Travis Adams from Canton, ME will join fellow Maine teams Glen Luce and Ricky Rolfe on the Tour this season. Adams has won the Oxford Plains Speedway (OPS) Championship a total of five (5) times, with four consecutive titles for the past four seasons. “We really want to try the Tour,” said Adams. “It will be a whole lot different, but our team has always enjoyed the challenge racing brings. We realize there is a big learning curve for us, but it is time for us to leave the comfort of ‘home’ (Oxford). At this point, I guess I am most looking forward to getting back to OPS in May and June,” laughed Adams. The colorful Adams team might just take full advantage of experience gained in the longer-distance ACT Tour events, when the TD Bank 250 comes around with the 2010 edition this July 18th at Oxford Plains.
The biggest battle of the summer season might just be the ACT Rookie of the Year title. A total of six drivers will test each other in the quest for the title. Bradley Babb from Windham, ME, is a skilled 17 year old chauffeur who raced at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway under the guidance of former ACT Pro Stock driver and his father, Bobby Babb. Babb will be behind the wheel of the Sallie Bolduc 60 NH machine. Other Maine entrants are 18 year old Dave Farrington, Jr. from Jay and 16 year old Austin Theriault of Fort Kent. Twin State Speedway young gun, Chris Riendeau from Ascutney, VT made two ACT events in 2009 and will also compete for the coveted Rookie title. He will be joined by another Twin State regular in Aaron Fellows of Croydon, NH. The final Rookie contender is David Paya from Milton, VT. Paya has raced at Airborne Speedway and Thunder Road in the past and competed in minimum select ACT events in 2009.
“There are another half dozen teams that have entered the first several events and will ‘test’ the waters to see what it has to offer”, said ACT statistician Nick Bigelow. Maine entries include T.J. Watson from Cundy’s Harbor, a regular at the Wiscasset Speedway and a participant at the first ACT Invitational held last September at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. New Hampshire native Bryan Town has also entered the first races on the 2010 schedule.
The Tour opens for the first ever appearance at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Sunday, April 25th. Teams will return to the home of the ACT Late Models, Thunder Road International Speedbowl, for the opening of its 2010 season with the 12th annual Merchants Bank 150 weekend on May 1-2.