The second half of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) season takes off this Saturday, July 14 at Groveton, NH’s Speedway 51. After spending the past few weeks on an early-summer break, Scott Payea, Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald, Jimmy Hebert, and the rest of ACT’s top stars are expected to renew their battle for the ACT Late Model Tour championship at the J.P. Sicard/Kingdom Gravel 151.
With five events in the books, Colchester, VT’s Payea is the frontrunner to become a back-to-back ACT champion. But MacDonald, Hebert, Rich Dubeau, and others haven’t given up on their title hopes just yet. Williamstown, VT’s Hebert and Rowley, MA’s MacDonald will be looking for redemption after both were swept up in a mid-race crash during the Tour’s first visit to Speedway 51. And they know they need to be in position to capitalize should Payea encounter a similar misfortune.
“We think our chances are pretty good on Saturday,” Hebert said. “Things went well at Waterford after we rebuilt the car. We’ve been working on a few little tweaks to make it last better for a long run, and hopefully all goes well. We just need to go out and try and win some races and regain the points we lost last time we were at Groveton. If it wasn’t for that wreck, we’d still be right there with Scott. Me and Eddie have each had a bad race, and he hasn’t yet! Hopefully we can string together some good finishes and make up some ground.”
A host of other racers will be ready to begin their second half on a high note as well. MacDonald has an ACT victory at Speedway 51 and is a threat to win every time out. Dubeau came close to scoring an elusive first ACT victory last month at Speedway 51, leading a number of laps in the middle stages before ending up third.
Mason brothers Corey and Bryan, both multi-time Speedway 51 track champions and current top-10 point runners with ACT, are sure to be factors as well. Groveton, NH’s Corey Mason, who is also Hebert’s father-in-law, finished fourth in the first visit to Speedway 51. Stark, NH’s Bryan Mason posted a season-best 5th-place at New London-Waterford last time out.
But as history at Speedway 51 has shown, an unexpected driver could steal the spotlight. Rookies Dylan Payea of Milton, VT and Christopher Pelkey of Barre, VT have both made gains throughout the season and may be ready to take the next step. Graniteville, VT’s Chip Grenier was the runner-up in the 2017 Speedway 51 Late Model standings and has been solid much of the year. Or a racer who isn’t on anyone’s radar could stand in Victory Lane at night’s end.
Post time for the J.P. Sicard/Kingdom Gravel 151 at Speedway 51 is 6:00pm this Saturday, July 14. The track’s Perra’s Ace Hardware Tiger Sportsmen, Caron Fabrication Street Stocks, Claudette and Dean’s Daredevils, and White Mountain Community College Cyclones are also on the card. The pits will open for ACT Late Model teams at 12:00pm and the front gates will open at 2:00pm. Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and military, $10 for young adults ages 12-16 and free for kids ages 11 and under.