Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT Awards Final Stars of 2015 for Thompson World Series
The American Racer Three Star program is designed to recognize three non-podium teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at American-Canadian Tour (ACT) U.S. Tour and select ACT-sanctioned 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 future ACT event.
THOMPSON MOTOR SPEEDWAY
WORLD SERIES 100
ACT made its first visit to Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway in 23 years – and the inaugural trip under the ACT Late Model Tour banner – this past Saturday, October 17 for its 2015 season finale as part of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by XtraMart. A field of 35 cars participated in qualifying with 33 starting the World Series 100, and the event saw numerous twists and turns. Rowley, MA’s Eddie MacDonald and Waterford, CT’s Dillon Moltz both appeared to have the race in hand at various stages. But the engine in MacDonald’s Hancock Electric Chevy expired with 25 laps remaining, and an incident on a lap-92 restart eliminated Moltz along with Joey Polewarczyk Jr. – taking “Joey Pole’s” slim championship hopes with them.
The mantle was thus passed to Williston, VT’s Brian Hoar, who easily held off the field for an emotional 42nd career ACT victory in what turned out to be his final race. Behind him, Dover, NH’s Wayne Helliwell Jr. did exactly what he needed to do to clinch his third ACT Late Model Tour Championship. But there were numerous stories to follow throughout the field, with ACT newcomers and established racers alike fighting for points and pride to close out 2015. The American Racer Stars of the Race are:
*William Wall, Shewsbury, MA – #4MA – William Wall made the jump to ACT-type Late Models in 2015 after a 15-year racing career which has included Microsprints, NEMA Midgets, and the Thompson Limited Sportsmen. Wall finished a respectable 7th in points in weekly Thompson competition and made his ACT debut on Saturday. He made an impression right away in the Wall Trucking Chevy, driving from fifth to second in his heat and earning the 6th starting spot in the main event.
Wall then drove a quiet but stellar feature, remaining on the lead lap through a long green-flag run while holding his own against drivers such as newly-crowned ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. and top-5 point driver Brandon Atkins. After avoiding a pair of late incidents, Wall took home an 8th-place finish – the highest of any Thompson regular. The #4MA team receives a Star Award for a strong ACT debut which showed they’ll be ones to watch in future Late Model competition.
*Emily Packard, E. Montpelier, VT – #9ME – Packard arrived at Thompson with a prime opportunity to finish fourth in ACT Tour points for the second consecutive year – but the opportunity was nearly dashed before high noon. Allan King lost control in turn one in Saturday morning’s final practice and Packard had nowhere to go, punching out the radiator and significantly damaging the nose on the Northstar Fireworks Ford.
The team thrashed to make repairs for qualifying and eventually earned the 13th starting position. From there, Packard did what she’s done so often in the past two years: adapt quickly to a new track. Packard fought tooth-and-nail the whole race, eventually coming home 10th and securing that overall fourth spot. Although the #9ME team was unable to finally break into ACT Victory Lane this year, finishing fourth in points twice before your 19th birthday is no small feat. Packard receives a Star Award for showing her breakout 2014 campaign was no fluke.
*Mark Jenison, Warwick, RI – #22RI – Mark Jenison made his second career ACT Tour appearance at Thompson after failing to qualify at Beech Ridge in August. The weekend began inauspiciously on Friday as Jenison got into the turn 2 wall on his third lap of practice. Then on Saturday, he climbed up Jeff Smith’s door coming down the frontstretch in his heat race, with the incident sweeping up Jimmy Linardy as well.
But then something clicked for the Monro Service Center team. Jenison charged back to finish fifth in the qualifier – which, after starting 10th, was enough to give him the outside pole in the feature. The #22RI then backed up his performance in the main event, picking up a few donuts but otherwise staying competitive and out of trouble. When the checkered flag flew, Jenison had earned a wholly unexpected 9th-place finish. Jenison receives his first Star Award for turning his weekend around and making positive strides for his racing future.
*Special Award: Brian Hoar, Williston, VT – #37VT – There’s no question that Brian Hoar is the most accomplished driver in ACT Late Model Tour history. No driver has more championships (8), wins (42), or laps led (2,677) – and few others are even close. But Brian Hoar the racer pales in comparison to Brian Hoar the person. He has always deflected credit when he wins, been graceful in defeat, made time for every interview, and remained loyal to those who have helped him along the way. Simply put, ACT could not have asked for a better representative.
Hoar announced following the World Series 100 that he is stepping away from the driver’s seat to spend more time with his family and pursue interests outside of racing. The announcement surprised many people, but it was only fitting he made it in Victory Lane – “The King” was abdicating the throne while at the top of his game. We would like to give a special “Lifetime Star” Award to Brian Hoar for everything he has contributed towards ACT’s success in the past 23 years, and we wish him the best with his future endeavors.
The 2015 ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT seasons have both reached their conclusion. Banquet dates and times will be announced.