Contributed by: ACT Staff
Happy Holidays! It has been a while since I have written a Curley’s Corner to the ACT competitors and various interested people. There are lots of “off-season” rumors floating around, so I thought this would be a good time to let everyone know what is planned following the 2016 season.
First, my health has remained pretty consistent since last March, which was my last stay in the hospital. My condition is progressive, so it will continually deteriorate, but reality tells us that happens eventually to all of us! After going back to the control tower at Thunder Road during August and September this past summer, health-wise things seemed to have stabilized. Any excessive exertion is still difficult with my breathing, but other than that, “Life is Good”.
I am grateful for all the support the ACT officials, Fitzy, Garrett, and the entire staff have given during this difficult past couple years. Tina and Marvin have held down the office, and as racers, you know how important it is to have a support team behind you. As most know, Darla has done double duty taking care of my health needs and keeping ACT headed in the right direction. The entire ACT crew has kept things going in an efficient, dedicated, and positive direction. ACT and Thunder Road have been fortunate to have such a dedicated crew from the office staff, back gate, front gate, and all the officials that have made the ACT organization so capable of hopefully helping to make your racing experience at Thunder Road and on the two Tours successful.
2017 ACT US SEASON
I am excited and looking forward to the 2017 race season. This will be my 40th year in the business, and plans are now that this will be my final full season. I am very much looking forward to this coming race season. Plans are tentatively for a 9 or 10 race US Touring schedule, plus the 9th annual NHMS Invitational. We hope to release the ACT schedule the week of Thanksgiving. We do know, for the 26th time, LEE USA will open the ACT season in April 2017. We had an average of 29.8 cars attend the point- counting events and filled the 43 car NHMS Invitational field, which provided one of the best races of the year on the mile track. The 2016 season was a major accomplishment and testament to the LM teams who have endorsed our package of rules, as there are few if any other LM type touring divisions or weekly divisions that can boast the numbers and quality of teams we are fortunate to have supporting our programs. The expansion and growth of the Southern New England Late Model teams has also proven to be a growing addition to the ACT Late Model program, with healthy fields of cars at our Southern New England tracks.
2017 SERIE ACT QC SEASON
After completing a very successful 2016, the Quebec teams are looking stronger than ever for the coming season. With a strong veteran leadership and number of new teams, the coming season for the SERIE ACT is looking at building off the 2016 growth they enjoyed.
2017 THUNDER ROAD
SALE- There are rumors circulating about the sale of Thunder Road to a couple of different groups. Here are the facts. Ken and I own Thunder Road in equal shares. We have been interested in selling Thunder Road to the right buyers for the past several years. Both of us are clearly getting past the age when it would be irresponsible not to sell our interests after finding the right mix and management team. I, for one, will want a very clear definition of who will take over the management of TR. At this point, there is a staff that is in place that has done a very good job, in fact, an exceptional job since I got sick a couple years ago. I also know that it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to run a race track like Thunder Road, especially from a management and administrative perspective. A new ownership package is certainly going to happen eventually, but Ken and I are still committed to having the right ownership in place before we would turn over the property, and/or racing operation.
STAFF-DIVISIONS- 2017 is scheduled, staffed, and ready for another year of racing, with emphasis on retaining the best Late Model weekly racing in the country. We enjoyed some of the greatest Championship Point chases in the long history of TR. LM car counts turned out to be an average of over 24 teams throughout the 2016 season—clearly one of the most competitive and healthy premiere divisions in the country; a continued effort to make sure the rebuilding of the Tiger Division remains a high priority with no rules changes; a Tiger race format that was popular with both the competitors and the fans. There is also an on-going discussion this Fall with a couple of other tracks about a possible “mini-tour” for Tigers, which we would possibly like to see take place in 2017.
Let me conclude this edition of Curley’s Corner with a personal regret that I have had over the past couple of years. Some of the best times I had for nearly 40 years was the access to stop by your trailers or pit areas and have a few words with you before, sometimes during, and generally after the races. With my recent health problems, and expected continuation of health deterioration, it will continue to be a loss not to be able to enjoy the “first time” winner’s circle celebrations or exceptional performances,but I still have the same feelings and appreciation for the positive enthusiasm and skill level you bring to our sport.
Keep it up and have a terrific 2017 season.