Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT Awards American Racer Three Stars for Oxford Plains 150
The American Racer Three Star program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at American-Canadian Tour (ACT) U.S. Tour events. There are no specific criteria for deciding who might receive the award of a free American Racer Tire (value $125.00), but a special effort by a team, exceptional race, just plain old hard luck, or any other accepted reason is used to decide the award recipients.
The Three Stars are chosen by ACT officials and will receive certificates for use of a free American Racer tire at a race of their choosing during the 2015 season.
OXFORD PLAINS SPEEDWAYOXFORD PLAINS 150
The ACT Tour returned to action this past Saturday, July 25 with its second visit of the year to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. The race was postponed nearly a month from its original date, but defending Tour Champion Joey Polewarczyk Jr. and young star Brad Babb made up for the wait with a scintillating battle for the win over the race’s final 20 laps. The battle ended when the two made contact with four laps to go, with Babb eventually spinning in turn two and “Joey Pole” going on to his fourth win of the year.
But quality racing was also happening behind the lead duo. As many as six cars dueled for the fourth position in the race’s middle stages, including Eddie MacDonald, Travis Stearns, Jimmy Hebert, and Emily Packard. Meanwhile, rising star Dillon Moltz and two-time ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. methodically worked their way up from the 16th and 17th starting positions, eventually crossing the finish line second and fifth, respectively. There were a number of candidates for the Three Star Awards, and after due consideration, the winners are as follows:
*Brad Babb, Windham, ME - #15NH – Brad Babb scored an upset win this past May by capturing the Merchants Bank 150 at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road, and he showed on Saturday that this performance was no fluke. Babb got underneath Joey Polewarczyk Jr. on lap 112 of the 150-lap event and seemed poised for his second ACT win. But Pole stayed in Babb’s shadow, and the gloves eventually came off as both drivers gunned for the victory – Babb looking to triumph in his home state, and Pole trying to gain ground in the ACT Tour championship hunt.
The battle came to a head when the two got together on the frontstretch with four laps remaining. Babb slid up the track in turn one and appeared to regain control, but spun exiting turn two. It was a heartbreaking result for the Joey Laquerre–owned team as they ended up 11th in the final rundown. But it was nonetheless a statement race for Babb and his team, proving they can consistently run with the best of the ACT Tour. Babb thus receives a Star Award for his effort.
*Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT - #58VT – Hebert opened 2015 with a fifth-place finish at Oxford and seemed poised for another strong year. But the season quickly spiraled into a rash of crashes and mechanical failures, with the #58VT team falling as low as 13th in points. They showed signs of life with a 10th-place finish in the non-point ACT International at New York’s Airborne Park Speedway, but a return trip to Oxford was ultimately what the doctor ordered.
Hebert started 10th and remained in the top-10 for the entire event, being part of a tight battle for fourth place on back in the middle stages. After dodging a pair of late spins, Hebert found himself in third for the race’s final restart. Unfortunately, Hebert got pinned behind a lapped car and was edged at the line by Bobby Therrien as a result. Still, a fourth-place finish shows the team is still capable of contending and could spark a second-half surge. For digging in and refusing to concede the season, the Larry Hebert–owned receives a Star Award.
*Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, ME - #28ME – 2015 had been a down year for this small family-run team entering the Oxford Plains 150. After posting four top-10 finishes in each of the previous two seasons, Robinson had just one in the first half of 2015. The team used the time following the initial Oxford postponement to regroup, and showed signs of rebounding on Saturday.
Robinson started fourth after earning a +4 in his qualifying heat and was strong early in the main event before dropping back in the middle stages. But he remained on the lead lap during two long green-flag runs, and while other drivers pitted for adjustments or were felled by incidents, Robinson kept on trucking and brought home a season-best seventh-place finish. The result moved Robinson back into the top-10 of both the ACT Tour point standings and the Bond Auto Parts New Champions standings. The team brings its first Star Award of the season into the Tour’s next event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, where they look to build on last year’s sixth-place result.
The ACT Tour returns to Maine with its annual visit to Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 8. Joey Pole holds a seven-point lead over Wayne Helliwell Jr. in the championship battle, while just 16 markers separate third-place Brad Babb from seventh-place Nick Sweet, who won last year’s event at the 1/3-mile oval. Post time is 7:00pm.