Vermont Drivers Hope to Make ACT International a Local Affair
The third American-Canadian Tour (ACT) International 500 on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 at Plattsburgh, NY's Airborne Park Speedway is already drawing the top Late Model talent from around the Northeast United States and Canada. Hudson, NH's Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and St-Denis, QC's Patrick Laperle were victorious in the first two Internationals, but this year a large field of drivers from ACT's home state of Vermont will try to capture one or both of the 200-lap, $10,000-to-win events for the ACT Late Models and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models.
Williston, VT's Brian Hoar is an early favorite in both the ACT and PASS events. The eight-time ACT Tour Champion finished second and fourth in the first two ACT Internationals. Hoar has an ACT Tour–record eight wins at the ½-mile oval, with the most recent in May 2013.
“To win any race is a big deal, and of course to win one or both of the races at the International would be cool,” Hoar said. “They're both big races – it's the first time PASS is there, and we've been going after the ACT race. We've come close and had a good car the past couple years but have come up short, so winning it would be a big day.”
Fellow Vermonter Bobby Therrien will join Hoar in doing double-duty, along with Laperle, defending ACT Tour Champion Joey Polewarczyk Jr., two-time Série ACT Champion Donald Theetge.
“Physically it's going to be demanding, both for the crew and for me,” Hoar said of running both events. “You also take your focus from one car and split it between two cars, and that makes it even more challenging.”
East Montpelier, VT's Emily Packard will also challenge for the ACT Late Model win. The 18-year-old ranks seventh in ACT Tour points and will try to replicate her success from the similarly-configured Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT.
Barre's Nick Sweet leads a contingent of weekly Thunder Road Late Model drivers into the International. Sweet came up just short of the International prize in 2014 after being overtaken by Laperle in the final circuits.
Sweet has been locked in a fierce battle this summer for the “King of the Road” title while also competing on the ACT Tour for Eric Chase. After winning a record-tying fourth Vermont Governor's Cup this past Thursday, July 9, Sweet is ready to turn his focus to Airborne.
“It's be nice to do well in the International,” Sweet said. “We've got to get some work done and hopefully have a good run there. That's one thing we've really got to focus on. It'd be nice to win that thing.”
Sweet will be joined by Graniteville's John Donahue, who currently ranks fourth in the Thunder Road Late Model point standings. Former Airborne Late Model Champion David Whitcomb and veteran Chase will make the trek, as will Boomer Morris and second-year competitor Jason Allen. Longtime Thunder Road regular Brooks Clark will also contend for the International win after running a limited 2015 schedule to date.
“It would just show the talent level at Thunder Road if one of our guys wins,” Sweet said. “The talent here is phenomenal. All the guys that run around here all year long are fun to race against, and it doesn't get any better than that.”
The ACT International 500 at Plattsburgh, NY's Airborne Park Speedway is Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19. The ACT Late Models and PASS Super Late Models will both run 200-lap, $10,000-to-win events. Open wheel fans will also enjoy Quebec's RevStar Sprint Car Speedsters and Slingshots. Qualifying for all divisions is on Saturday, July 18 at 6:30pm, with features beginning at 1:00pm on Sunday, July 19. General admission is $40 for a two-day ticket, $20 for Saturday only, and $35 for Sunday only. Reserved seats are $60 for two days or $50 for Sunday only.