After finally breaking through for his first American-Canadian Tour (ACT) championship in 2017, Colchester’s Scott Payea is ready to return to the fold in 2018. Payea and his Rick Paya–led RPM Motorsports/Harrison Redi-Mix team will begin their title defense at the season-opening New Hampshire Governor’s Cup on Sunday, April 15 at Lee USA Speedway.
Payea is coming off one the best ACT seasons in recent memory. The veteran won five of the nine events in 2017, including a series-record four straight. The effort earned him the championship after previously finishing second in the standings four times.
“We’re all excited to get going,” Payea said. “I don’t even want to think about trying to live up to last season though. It was pretty much a dream season. We’re just going to go back out with the same focus each race, work hard, and hopefully have the best car each week.”
Over the past two years, Payea and RPM Racing have been one of the most formidable Late Model teams in the Northeast. They have posted eight wins together, with their first coming at Lee USA in the 2016 New Hampshire Governor’s Cup.
“Our relationship just keeps getting better and stronger,” Payea said. “We clicked right away the first year and picked up some wins. Then last year everything just came together. The more we all work together, the better our communication gets. People know what their roles are and the crew knows what I need with the car. It’s a pretty natural relationship.”
Payea will be looking for his second win at Lee on April 15. His team was one of the first to enter the upcoming ACT Late Model Tour season and will look to begin the 10-race schedule on a high note.
“In this schedule, each race is important,” he said. “We just want to start off with a solid run and build on that each race.”
He will have plenty of competition at Lee and during the season-long championship battle. Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert and Lebanon, NH’s Rich Dubeau will both return to the ACT Late Model Tour after finishing in the top-5 in points in 2017. Steuben, ME’s Rowland Robinson, Jr. had the best ACT season of his career this past year and will look to become a serious title contender.
Others who have filed full-season entries include former New Hampshire Governor’s Cup winner Miles Chipman and sophomore Connecticut racer Ray Christian III. New Hampshire brothers Corey and Bryan Mason, both former Late Model champions at Speedway 51, are among the new drivers who have entered for the full season. A large contingent of Série ACT competitors are expected at the season opener as well.
ACT will open its 33rd season of competition with the 28th New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 15. Qualifying begins at 1:15pm for an afternoon of racing that also includes the R&R Late Model Sportsmen and Northeast Classic Lites. The pits will open at 8:00 and the front gates will open at 9:00am. An optional practice day is scheduled for Saturday, April 14.