Contributed by: ACT Staff
Regarding Tom Curley-2013 ACT-2013 ACT Castrol-ACT International 500 and 2013 Thunder Road
First, I would like to thank you for all of the well wishes I have received from so many concerned about my recent health issues. The many emails, phone calls, text messages, prayers and thoughts have been very much appreciated. I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank Darla who has been with me for every hour of the past three weeks and continues to care for me as I recover.
I wanted to take this opportunity to review for all our ACT and Thunder Road race teams exactly what has been done over the past three months since the 50th Milk Bowl finally closed our season, and to hopefully provide a positive platform for everyone to become excited, positive, and energized about the upcoming race season.
1. QUEBEC ACT CASTROL SERIES:
As some of you know, I spent nearly 6 weeks in the immediate post season negotiating with Quebec promoters after the sale of Autodrome Chaudiere. The potential of having the Quebec teams split into PASS type Late Models and an unsustainable marketing plan, particularly in the Quebec City region, would have changed ACT type Late Model racing on both sides of the border dramatically. Fortunately, the ACT promoters were very supportive, a group of ACT Castrol teams provided tremendous support, and we were able to work out compromises among all parties. We actually have developed an outstanding program for fans, teams and promoters for the coming year. When the entries begin coming out in a few weeks I think teams from both sides of the border will be very happy with 2013 plans.
2. Oxford Purchase
The next major issue we faced was the loss of the Oxford 250 when the track was sold. We also lost an ACT Tour event, more importantly, the potential loss of many Maine team relationships, with some of our finest growth area teams over the past 5 years, was in jeopardy. We immediately dealt with this issue in two ways:
First, the announcement that ACT would run a July 250-type race with comparable purse money of over $100,000.00 and a very unique format for ACT Late Models at Airborne Speedway, which has proven to be one of our most competitive and fun tracks for teams and fans to attend. Mike Perrotte never hesitated to help with this project. There are no better assets in this business than solid and respectful relationships.
Second, we decided to significantly expand the 2013 schedule with the addition of events at deserving ACT affiliate tracks that have supported the ACT Late Model program.
Finally, Thompson Speedway, arguably the best short track (5/8th of a mile) in New England joined the ACT Late Model rules program. Most of you know this has been a personal dream of mine to have Thompson involved, and now we are about to work on an event for ACT Late Models for addition to the 2013 schedule.
3. GOODYEAR TIRES
The next major Fall issue was dealing with negotiations regarding Goodyear Tires for all our accounts. Goodyear Racing Division fought upper management during 2012 who basically sent instructions to ‘wind down’ the short track racing programs across North America. Once again ‘relationships’ became an important aspect of the ACT history with working on behalf of our teams and tracks. We were one of the first companies to be contacted when the final decision came out of corporate Goodyear regarding their short track programs. We reached an agreement that Goodyear would build NEW tires for the ACT accounts during 2013.We still have to find a Tiger Tire, but all our weekly and touring divisions will be on new Goodyear inventory for the coming season. In fact, tires have been ordered and are currently in production.
We drove back to Vermont and I repacked and headed to northwest Indiana for a very interesting and informative meeting with Hoosier Tires (again, in spite of not having used Hoosiers since the 1980’s we had always maintained relationships with them and with American Racer)
The day after the Hoosier meetings, I drove to Pittsburgh for a meeting with American Racer.
Following that meeting I drove to Charlotte, NC to meet Ken and we held a meeting to discuss the sale of Thunder Road. Ken and I have been diligent about our Thunder Road negotiations for the past several years. It is very important to both of us that we put TR in the hands of the right organization. This was simply one more potential that we were exploring, and we continue to look for the right deal and right fit for the future of TR, it fans and competitors. We realize it is time, and fortunately, we are not in a position to have to make any kind of ‘panic sale’.
Following the meeting in Charlotte, I drove directly back to Maine, and spent one day XMAS shopping (I am sure that is how I got so sick and will end any kind of shopping for me in the future---certificates and cash from here on!!!!)
Following the holidays I had scheduled rules meetings for the Tigers and Street Stocks. My hope was to get some input on those divisions from some of the participants, discuss those ideas with tech people and see how we could make those divisions less expensive. In addition, I wanted a plan in place for the new Rough Rider Division
The Late Model rules were for the most part not going to change.
2 INTERNATIONAL 500
I was really looking forward to getting entry and early promotion out on the International 500 during January. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was, and continue to be, about this huge promotion for this summer. It will be good for fans, teams and ACT racing…unfortunately, that, along with rules was placed on hold around January 1st. I held a meeting for Tigers, made notes but that was the last business thing that has happened in a month, which brings me to a personal update on what happened to me.
I feel obligated to teams, promoters, and any other interested parties to be very honest and up front with you regarding what happened to my health. I have always tried to be honest with you about our racing interests, our goals and ambitions on your behalf as a company, and have always had a great deal of respect for you as race people. I also feel very fortunate that I have made some lifelong relationships and friendships that as I have become older; I have become even more appreciative of.
Here is what happened.
· I received my flu shot in September as I am certainly on the short list of ‘must have’ because 1) I will be 70 years old in a few more months and 2) I have COPD
· I started feeling crappy on January 1st..in fact, because of my extensive travel schedule, we had both my car and Darla’s car in Maine and elected to leave one there since I didn’t feel like driving back to Vermont on New Year’s Day
· I continued to have a violent cough and started having chills and sweats on the 3rd
· Darla insisted that I see the Doctor on Friday the 4th and I was given a “Z-Pac” antibiotic package to take for the next five days. I also was given a chest X-Ray and was told that I might possibly have ‘whooping cough” and that the Z-Pac would stop any contagion, but possibly the coughing would last up to another 30 days…at this time I was having problems pulling cartilage with each violent cough---I did go back to Barre and slept
· On Saturday, I felt better and needed to be in Maine for a Monday morning meeting so decided to go over by myself
· Monday I had my morning meeting and called Darla at the office and told her I felt lousy and was going to stay home and sleep another day
(prednisone) which has always worked well for my lung disease in the past
o Think of it as hitting the widow-maker at Thunder Road because you blew your motor and that caused the wreck that twisted your chassis all up
o I am in the process of getting the engine rebuilt and hope to have the chassis ready for our annual trip to Aruba in March
I missed the first Banquet out of over 100 I have attended in the 35 years and I regret not being able to honor all the champions in ACT
I am going to miss the TR Banquet and congratulate everyone for the exceptional year you provided us. I will think of all of you and toast you with some of the junk Darla makes me drink on a continual basis.
Ken and I will continue to seek out the best solution for Thunder Road’s future.
I had already started adding new officials to both the Tour and TR before I got sick and will continue to seek out new help to keep our companies vibrant and leaders in the industry.