After a weekend off to catch its breath, the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) gets right back to action this Saturday, June 2 at Groveton, NH’s Speedway 51 powered by the Autosaver Group. The Caron Fabrication 151 is the first of two visits to the ¼-mile speed plant in 2018, meaning that “Grovetona” will play a big role in the ACT championship battle.
With three events in the books, a trio of the top Late Model drivers in the Northeast are closely bunched together atop the standings. Defending ACT Champion Scott Payea of Milton, VT sits at the head of the pack after a 5th-place finish at Oxford Plains Speedway on May 20. While that would be considered a great day for many drivers, in Payea’s case, it allowed his two closest competitors to gain some ground in the title hunt.
Rowley, MA’s Eddie MacDonald was the victor at Oxford. Not only did the win add $5,000 to the bank account of the Roland LaChance Jr.-led team, but it also helped MacDonald pull within seven points of Payea in the standings. Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert followed MacDonald across the line and is nipping at his heels in the points as well. Hebert sits third overall, 20 points back of Payea and 13 behind MacDonald.
“The ACT Late Model Tour has a lot of great drivers, and they’re showing it early,” ACT co-owner Cris Michaud said. “We’ve had a different winner at every race, and when a lot of drivers are running well, it’s hard to for them to separate from each other. We think this is the precursor to a great season-long battle.”
Another pack of drivers sits within striking distance of the leaders, and any of them could get into the title hunt as well with the right breaks. Nottingham, NH’s Miles Chipman is off to the best start of his ACT career and sits fourth in the standings. Groveton, NH’s Corey Mason is just behind him in fifth as the Tour heads to the track where he was the 2017 North Country Ford Late Model Champion.
Matt White and Rich Dubeau are sixth and seventh, respectively, as each has a pair of early top-10 finishes to their name. Chip Grenier has been recovering nicely from a rough season opener and now resides eighth overall.
A large ACT rookie class is staging their own duel as well. Milton, VT’s Dylan Payea, the cousin of Scott Payea, has come out of the gate strong for the Rookie of the Year crown. But Christopher Pelkey, T.J. Moreshead, and Reilly Lanphear are among the drivers in position to capitalize should Payea stumble.
Both the championship and Rookie of the Year chases will go their next round on the tight Groveton high banks this Saturday, June 2 with a 6:00pm post time. Speedway 51’s Perras Ace Hardware Tiger Sportsmen, Caron Fabrication Street Stocks, and Claudette & Dean's Place Daredevils plus the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Association join the ACT Late Model Tour. The pit gates open at 12:00pm and the front gates open at 1:00pm. Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors/military members, $10 for teens ages 12-16, and free for kids ages 11 and under.