Contributed by: ACT Staff
The American Racer Three Star program will continue in 2016. The program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at ACT US 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 other accepted reason to give the award is used to decide the recipients.
The three stars are chosen by officials and winners will receive certificates for the use of a free American Racer tire at a future Tour race of their choosing during 2016.
The awarding of the stars does not allow for anybody in the top three to receive the recognition.
The Speedway 51 that Joey Laquerre and his team have built over the past year is not just a tribute to grandson L’il Joey, but a detailed labor of love for the Laquerre family. Few short tracks have been refurbished over the past decade in the manner this facility has been. The pits may just be the best in the east, the fencing is second to none, and overall the staff’s presentation of their facility is first class. A very different event for ACT than those of the past took place with a flag-to-flag, 36-minute, 150-lap race! The win by Eddie MacDonald shows just how good this Rollie Lachance/MacDonald partnership really is. They were at best mediocre during the practice sessions, not much better for qualifying, but in typical “Outlaw” fashion, when the chips were on the table, they had it figured out. For purist race fans, it was artful to watch this veteran dominate the quarter mile bullring. For the ‘slam/bam thrill-seekers’, they will have to wait for another day. Congratulations to the 17MA on their second win of the season and closing the gap on point leader Nick Sweet, who settled for second on that night. With nearly a month off now, the ACT teams will look forward to another bullring challenge, the famous “Cement Palace” built by one of New England’s most famous pioneers of stock car racing, and mentor to many of us in our early careers, Anthony Vendetti.
SPEEDWAY 51 THREE STARS
RYAN OLSEN, North Haverhill, NH— 61NH — The NAPA Auto team from North Haverhill, guided by the Polewarczyk crew, have had lots of moments when they looked like a “break-out” rookie team during the first half of the 2016 campaign on the ACT US. Having never raced at any of the first 7 tracks visited, Speedway 51 seemed to fit their style as Ryan recorded his best finish of the season in a 151-lap race that was over in just 36 minutes, with no yellows. His top ten finish should be just the confidence builder needed to send this team into the second half of the season. Joining the Polewarczyk team in the 2016 effort should provide a good foundation for this young team to gain traction toward a season goal of winning the Rookie of the Year honors, but also a top ten in points. With the torrid pace of the race, Ryan held on to the lead lap until the last handful of laps. He finished 8th -- the highest finish of a Rookie this season. Heading to Seekonk with this momentum, and then to his home track, White Mountain Motorsports Park in No. Woodstock, NH on July 23rd. It seems likely that this team is now positioned to have a great finishing push to the end of the season. Congratulations to the 61NH team for their dedication, and for maintaining a positive attitude throughout the first half of the year.
DOUG LALEME, Bethlehem, NH—74NH— It seems appropriate to award a “hard luck” award to a team that entered their first-ever ACT event at Speedway 51 and experienced about the worst situation you can have as a racer and race team. On lap one of the first heat, before entering turn two, the 74NH looked like a tire got cut and the car crashed hard into the wall…done for the day. Not one lap of racing. No fault of the driver. This is about as lousy a day at the race track as you can experience, and for that reason it seems appropriate that the Laleme team receive at least recognition for the effort and courage to step out an attempt to qualify for a 151-lap ACT event for the first time. Hopefully, the damage was not too great, and ACT will see them along the trail.
BRANDON ATKINS, Ausable Forks, NY –4NY – It appears that about every couple of races this team ends up getting an American Racer Star of the Week performance award! Brandon Atkins is that good a racer and his team is a veteran team that prepares the car well enough for him to be a top five contender nearly every week. He had a dominant heat race, coming from dead last at “51” and started on the feature pole for his efforts. Based on his Speedway 51 history, he was immediately cast as a favorite to win the race when it started and he did not disappoint. Brandon is veteran enough to know that MacDonald, Helliwell, Therrien, Sweet and a few others also get around the ¼ mile bullring pretty successfully. He took command early and eventually settled for a solid fourth place after a 151-lap gallop without a caution. What is so interesting is that this young determined driver performs as well on the shorter ¼ mile tracks as he does on the ½ miles. In his brief career he has impressive finishes on both size tracks. For two years in a row he has been to the front at “51”, and nobody will be surprised when he finally gets that breakout first win on the ACT 2016 campaign. Until then, he will likely continue to chalk up American Racer Star of the Race awards, as he is clearly the leader over the past three years in that category. The best bet here is he would gladly change all that for a win sooner than later. Most fence sitters, and other race teams, feel it is certainly within reach for Brandon and his dedicated crew. Another outstanding performance by Brandon Atkins makes him an American Racer Star of the Race award winner at Speedway 51 this past weekend.