The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) is ready to crown its 2018 champion. The title will be decided at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 13 as part of the 56th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing. With a full slate of Thompson Late Model standouts and regional stars expected to take on the ACT Late Model Tour’s best in the World Series 75, the season finale could get dicey for the top contenders.
Colchester, VT’s Scott Payea sits on the verge of his second straight ACT championship. The veteran has been nearly as impressive this year as he was in winning his first title. With two wins and a perfect record of top-10 finishes for RPM Racing, he has consistently been at or near the front every time out.
But Payea’s advantage is not as comfortable as it was in 2017. He enters the event 26 points ahead of Rowley, MA’s Eddie MacDonald and 40 points up on Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert. With a maximum of 125 points possible at every ACT event, it is still a three-man dance for the title.
Furthermore, “Eddie Mac” is one of the drivers to beat every time out at Thompson. He was dominant en route to victory in last year’s World Series 75. MacDonald also earned a win at Thompson in 2005 in what was then known as the NASCAR Busch North Series.
Payea and Hebert are no slouches at Thompson themselves. The two have combined for three top-5 finishes in four starts at the historic 5/8-mile oval. Therefore, all three know they will need to be on point to bring home a well-earned championship.
For Payea, the math is simple. If he finishes third in Saturday’s main event, he will be the champion no matter what anyone else does. The scenarios are more complicated for his challengers. Even if MacDonald or Hebert wins the feature and earns all possible bonus points, they will still need others to stumble. But big comebacks have happened before, and fans will be on the edge of their seats to see if one can happen again.
The trio will have to contend with more than just each other. Since being added to the ACT schedule in 2015, Thompson has regularly drawn one of the season’s largest fields. Many locals run the event following their own season finale on Friday. Invaders from around the region also make the trip for the last big ACT-type Late Model event on the calendar.
This year will be no different. All the biggest names of the ACT Late Model Tour are expected to be at Thompson, including Lebanon, NH standout Rich Dubeau, championship-winning brothers Corey and Bryan Mason of New Hampshire, and ACT rookie point leader Dylan Payea of Milton, VT. Oxford, MA’s Brian Tagg is the one Tour regular with significant local experience that could come into play.
Former ACT Champion Nick Sweet of Barre, VT will also head to Thompson. Sweet has suffered bad wrecks his last two times in a Late Model and hopes to end the year on a more positive note. Fayston, VT’s Brooks Clark will run the event in a major test for ACT’s new GM 602 crate engine option. Former NHMS ACT Invitational winner Woody Pitkat of Bellingam, MA headlines the local challengers.
Meanwhile, several Quebec racers will haul down to Connecticut. Current NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Alex Labbé of St-Albert, QC will take advantage of an off-weekend from his national touring slate to reunite with Larue Motorsports. Lanoraie, QC veteran Claude Leclerc looks to finish off a strong season on U.S. soil while 2017 Série ACT Champion Jonathan Bouvrette of Blainville, QC has stated he will be at the event.
The World Series 75 goes green on Saturday, October 13 as part of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing. The 3-day event from Friday, October 12 to Sunday, October 14 features 18 divisions and touring series, many of which will also be deciding their 2018 champions.
Qualifying for Saturday’s program will begin at approximately 2:20pm. A 3-day World Series general admission ticket is $55 for adults and $50 for seniors, veterans, and active duty military. Kids ages 12 and under are admitted free.