2012 ACT Season Opener
Tuesday, March 13 2012 @ 09:02 AM EDT
Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT AND LEE USA HAVE LONG HISTORY
2012 Opening Day New Hampshire Governor’s Cup up next
In 1986 Beaver Dragon from Milton, VT won the opening event at the newly restored Lee USA New Hampshire speed plant.
“Red” and Judy MacDonald had just purchased the facility and called on the newly created American Canadian Tour (ACT) to open the track in the Spring of 1986. Later that season, the seven-time ACT Champion Robbie Crouch from Tampa, FL would win the first New Hampshire Governor’s Cup. Crouch backed that win up with a consecutive Governor’s Cup win in 1988.
Another ACT Champion, Russ Urlin, from London, Ontario won back-to-back at Lee in 1989 and 1990. Other notable winners at Lee during the ACT Pro Stock era were: Paul Richardson, Dave Dion, Kevin Lepage, and Ralph Nason.
When the present American Canadian Tour, featuring the Late Model teams throughout the Northeast took over the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup in 2003, Patrick Laperle from St Denis, Quebec won the Late Model renewal of the event. A surprise Canadian driver from Ontario, former CASCAR and present NASCAR Canadian Tire champion, DJ Kennington won the 2004 version in his only race ever contested on the ACT. Thunder Road three time champion Chris Michaud won in 2005. A string of five more different drivers have won the New Hampshire Governors Cup 150 over the past five seasons including: Ben Rowe, Turner ME, Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. (Pole), Hudson, NH; two more New Hampshire natives, Brad Leighton, and when a Lee weekly racer surprised a huge crowd Miles Chipman won in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The defending champion is the all-time winningest driver of ACT events and tour championships, Brian Hoar of Williston, VT who finally won in 2011.
The 2012 edition of the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup has a very good chance to continue the first-time winner streak since 2003. Wayne Helliwell, Jr., runner-up to Hoar in 2011 is a multi-time track champion at Lee USA. In his first full season of competing on the ACT US he finished an impressive second for the season-long point championship. Most observers would tag Helliwell as the favorite to continue the ‘new winner streak’ at Lee in 2012. Helliwell led 89 laps of the event in 2011 and is coming off both another Lee track championship, and his outstanding 2011 season with ACT. Austin Theriault, the sensational teenaged racer from Fort Kent, ME has raced down South during the off-season for Brad Keslowski Racing as a development driver. Strong top ten finishes, and a very successful second half on the American Canadian Tour in 2011, also make Theriault a good candidate to continue the first-time winner streak at the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup in 2012. ACT veteran Randy Potter of Groveton, NH, and Quinny Welch, multi-time White Mountain Motorsport Park champion hope to bring the Cup back to New Hampshire in 2012. Along with Hoar, veteran Brent Dragon has never missed a Late Model start and will attempt to be the first-time winner, while returning the Cup to Vermont. Two Maine top contenders Ricky Rolfe and Glen Luce have also entered the season opener and will look for their first Lee USA wins.
The traditional ACT opening event expects over forty (40) teams to attempt to qualify for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 which will take place on Sunday, April 15, 2012. A voluntary practice day is scheduled for all teams on Saturday, April 14, 2012 to give teams a chance to shake out new cars, new rules, and prepare for what is usually one of the most competitive and exciting races of the season.
For ticket pricing and gate opening times go to www.leeusaspeedway.com.