INFO UPDATED MEMO: Regarding Tom Curley/2013 ACT & Thunder Road

Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 09:14 PM EST

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.



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.

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. 


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.
In December I drove to Pensacola to attend the Snowball Derby. It was on my bucket list of things ‘to do’ and I had some ‘relationship’ promoters from across the country I wanted to meet with. After the Derby, Darla and I hopped over to Puerto Rico from Florida for a 10-day vacation.

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!!!!)

1       RULES

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.


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.

·       Most of you know that I was diagnosed with (COPD) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder---in short, untreatable lung disease which results in shortness of breath, but under proper management, you can still maintain a decent quality of life, which I have for the past 4 years although many of you have seen me slow down a little
·      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 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
·        Sunday Jan 6th I did not feel great and tried to sleep most of the day
·        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
·        I returned to VT on Tuesday and contacted my COPD specialist who ordered another dose of antibiotics along with a dose of steroids
 (prednisone) which has always worked well for my lung disease in the past
·        I called Darla at 4am on Thursday the 10th of Jan…I had chills…sweats…had not slept because of the continued violent coughing…she wanted to go to the hospital but I said the doctor said it might last another 30 days---(sometimes stubborn is dumb!!)
·        During that day,Thursday Jan. 10 I dozed in a chair, but never slept as the coughing persisted at my house at TR
·        At 1:45 am Friday morning, having not slept for more than a total of 2 or 3 hours in three days or more I finally told Darla I needed to go to the hospital
·        By 7:05 am on Friday Jan 11, I had been intubated and put on a respirator, had a central line inserted through my neck and was in the ICU unit at the Central VT hospital…[Darla has related everything from about 2:15am Friday morning until mid-day Tuesday Jan 15]
·        The diagnosis was a combination of A) Severe case of Pneumonia; B) a raging Staph Infection which they could not detect how to treat and held a 40% mortality rate, even without the pneumonia. Darla was told to contact my daughter in Ontario and any other family she thought necessary. Darla was in the ICU unit with me for 36 hours straight before she finally went to the waiting room for a few hours’ sleep
·        My treatment was to put multiple amounts of antibiotics through the central line in hopes that one of about three different might find and kill off the Staph infection
·        I was very fortunate that the aggressive treatment apparently began to track down the infection—I was also very fortunate that I had my Lung specialist with me throughout the entire ordeal, as the pneumonia was also being treated and with my weak lungs it took a lot of skilled decision-making to keep me going
·        I finally had the intubation tube taken out of my throat on Tuesday, Jan 15 and was transferred to the main floor unit
·        I remained in the hospital under constant monitoring with 24-hour per day intravenous antibiotic s, breathing nebulizers 4 times a day, and a variety of other treatments until I was released Tuesday night Jan 22nd
·        I had multiple respiratory caretakers while in the hospital, am on oxygen 24 hours per day, continue to take big loads of antibiotics and have blood work done each day . My care calls for rehab of lungs…can actually walk without a walker for 20 or thirty feet at present
·        I have another week of antibiotics and then the big news I am waiting for will follow, when they can verify that the raging infection has been eradicated. (This particular strand of Staph infection can attack any or all of your vital organs including heart, brain, kidneys, liver, etc., and was present in my bloodstream).
·        Finally, I think we have fought this thing off, but it is going to take some time to rehab and feel race-ready
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
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.
Some things will change with my involvement on a 7 day-a-week, 16-18 hour day schedule in 2013, but I am looking forward to the Lee opener, plan to be around both Tours and TR this coming season.

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.
The tire business is in good shape and I have some very dedicated people to help make sure tracks have satisfactory service.

Again, I appreciate all your concerns and am very excited to get back to work---what the hell else do I have to do now except sit here and work on administrative things which usually are being done last minute.
This has all the makings of being a great race season in 2013 and I am excited and enthused about all our possibilities.

I will keep you updated, and as strength comes back over the next month will be around to see some of you. Until then the office is on a part-time schedule, but will take care of any needs Monday through Thursday for the next 6 weeks.

I feel very lucky, am appreciative of Darla and her care, and am honored by having all the great relationships this business has provided me with-- teams, promoters, industrial manufacturers, and fans.

I look forward to the first opportunity to get into a temper tantrum--- remember my sickness has still left me with a strong heart and with a few more breaths, engage in any potential ‘heated discussions’ we might seek each other out for over the coming season.

Even if I had not survived this difficult time, I would have had no regrets as I have had a ‘great ride’. I am blessed to be able to look forward to many more with you guys.