ACT Set to Embark on Milestone Seasons
The 2016 American-Canadian Tour (ACT) season begins in just a month’s time on Sunday, April 10, when the ACT Late Model Tour travels to Lee USA Speedway for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150. The annual event will kick off a milestone season for ACT in both the United States and Canada.
The upcoming season will mark the 25th year of competition for the ACT Late Model Tour, which was created in 1992. Meanwhile, the Quebec-based Série ACT is entering its 10th season, having been born in 2007 out of the former Série National Late Model Sportsman division.
Both Tours continue to be among the most sought-after racing series in the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada. ACT will visit 15 different race tracks during the 2016 season, traveling from the banks of the St. Lawrence River to the eastern shores of Long Island Sound. The 13-race U.S. Tour schedule will be contested at 11 different tracks, matching the most in Tour history. Nearly 160 different drivers attempted to qualify for at least one ACT-sanctioned event in 2015, and with a number of changes and additions to the schedule in 2016, that number may grow even larger.
Four doubleheaders with the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models highlight the 2016 schedule. The two series will again be part of the season opener for Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday, April 17. Additional doubleheader dates include the “Showdown in the Mountains” at N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday, July 23; a 100-lap ACT event on Saturday, August 27 as part of Oxford 250 Weekend; and the New England 500 weekend at Scarborough, ME’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18. The final doubleheader also marks the return of the Fall Foliage 200 to Beech Ridge for the first time since 1989.
The Southern New England Tripleheader is another exciting new addition. The three-race series begins at Connecticut’s New-London Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, May 21, before traveling to Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, July 16. The Tripleheader concludes with the ACT season finale at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 15, as part of the World Series of Speedway Racing.
The eight-race Série ACT schedule kicks off Saturday, May 21 and features multiple trips to Autodrome St-Eustache, Autodrome Montmagny, and Vallée-Jct.’s Autodrome Chaudiere. Special events for both series include the 8th Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 24 and the 54th Vermont Milk Bowl presented by Northfield Savings Bank at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road on Saturday and Sunday, October 1 and 2.
Both Tour championships are expected to be hotly contested during their milestone seasons. Defending ACT Late Model Tour Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. of Dover, NH and his Bruce Bernhardt–led team will seek their fourth ACT title. They will be challenged by Windham, ME’s Brad Babb, a two-time winner in 2015, and Colchester, VT’s Scott Payea, who returns to full-time ACT competition with RPM Motorsports. New Hampshire’s Kyle Welch and New York’s Brandon Atkins showed substantial improvement in their sophomore ACT seasons and will look to become title contenders. The ACT youth movement of recent years will also continue, with up-and-coming teenagers Ryan Olsen and Devin O’Connell ready to run for Rookie of the Year.
Série ACT Champion Dany Trépanier of St-Edouard, QC stated in a recent interview that he plans to defend his title. Notable contenders include Boischatel, QC’s Donald Theetge, who will seek his first Série ACT title since 2009. Ageless veteran Claude Leclerc, former Rookie of the Year Dave Coursol, Gaetan Gaudreault, and Patrick Boyer are among others who have filed full-season entries.
The 25th season for the ACT Late Model Tour begins Sunday, April 10 with the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway. A full practice day is scheduled for Saturday, April 9.