After finally kicking off the 2018 season this past Sunday, the American-Canadian Tour will be right back in action just six days later. The New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway this Saturday, May 12 will continue a busy early-season stretch for ACT teams created by multiple postponements. As such, their mettle will be tested as they set up their summer-long charge for the ACT Late Model Tour championship.
While the top teams should have no trouble getting back in the ring following Sunday’s Community Bank 150, the latest arena will present its own unique challenges. The 3/8-mile speedway is known for being tough on drivers and equipment, especially over 150 laps of green-flag racing. Should anyone slip up or grow overconfident, Lee USA Speedway has a way of bringing them down to earth.
“A lot of it is going to come down to making those final adjustments to the changes in the track,” Lebanon, NH’s Rich Dubeau said. “The track can change a lot during the day. Another big thing I’ve noticed at Lee is that tire management is big. It’s one of those tracks where tires really fall off at the end. Getting a good qualifying spot and being able to save some rubber is huge there.”
All the ACT stars of the Northeastern United States and Quebec will be on hand this Saturday to try and tame the southern New Hampshire oval. Defending champion Scott Payea of Colchester, VT comes off a strong runner-up finish at Thunder Road. The effort put him at the top of the list of drivers chasing this year’s ACT championship. Thunder Road winner Jason Corliss is not expected to be at Lee.
Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert fought Corliss for much of the event and rebounded from a flat tire late to sit within a few points of Payea in the early standings. Rowley, MA’s Eddie MacDonald fought handling issues for much of the day but salvaged a top-10 finish to avoid falling behind the 8-ball. All three are previous winners at Lee and will be eager to do so again.
Conversely, several top dogs will be looking to bounce back after struggling this past Sunday. Bobby Therrien, Dubeau, and both Mason brothers failed to finish at Thunder Road after various troubles, while Jonathan Bouvrette and Miles Chipman ended up multiple laps off the pace. All will be searching for a strong run to recharge their Tour efforts. Meanwhile, ACT rookies such as Dylan Payea and Christopher Pelkey will try to make their own mark.
Qualifying for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup begins at 2:00pm this Saturday, May 12. The ACT Late Model Tour will be joined by Lee’s R&R Tool Store Late Model Sportsmen and a special appearance from the PASS Modifieds. The pits open at 8:00am and practice begins at 12:00pm. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for juniors ages 13-15 and free for kids 12 and under. An optional Test & Tune Day for ACT and for Lee’s weekly racing classes is scheduled for Friday, May 11 from 4:00pm to 9:00pm.