Location: N. Woodstock, NH
Track: ¼-mile high-banked oval
# of ACT Races Held: 28
Most Wins: Jean-Paul Cyr, 4
A Brief History of White Mountain Motorsports Park
While WMMP celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018, it was, in fact, the 26th year that racing had been held at the speedway. The track first opened its doors in May 1993 and made a splash right in it’s first year of competition. NASCAR Winston Cup racer Dick Trickle raced at WMMP on July 10, and on September 5, the NASCAR Busch North Series helped celebrate the new facility with a 150-lap event that was added to the schedule mid-season. (The race was won by Bobby Dragon in dominating fashion.) WMMP was the brainchild of Donnie Avery, who – like many race track founders – decided to turn his passion for racing into an actual track. The tight high-banked ¼-mile oval that resulted sits right outside Lincoln, NH, nestled in the foothills of the popular Kancamagus Highway scenic area.
While the oval remains the only track at the facility – making the “Motorsports Park” name a bit of a misnomer – WMMP quickly became known for bringing in almost every major racing series in the Northeast. While the Busch North Series would only make one more visit (a 1994 event won by Tom Rosati), other series quickly picked up the slack. The track was a frequent stop for the short-lived Northeast Pro Stock Association (which rose out of the ashes of the ACT Pro Stock Tour), and it also held multiple annual events for the PRO Truck Tour during its four-year run. (It helped that Donnie’s son David was the series champion in its final year.) When the Pro All Stars Series was formed in 2001, it immediately picked up multiple dates at WMMP and has been a near-constant presence ever since. They’ve also hosted the PASS Modifieds and Sportsmen, the Modified Racing Series, the North East Mini Stock Tour, the Granite State Pro Stock Series…we could go on, but this is a “brief” history.
This came on top of regular Saturday night racing every summer. The Late Models were established early on as the headline division at WMMP and remain so to this day. Many track legends have been made, including 7-time champion Quinny Welch, 5-time champion Stacy Cahoon, and 2-time champion Glenn Martel. Other divisions have ebbed and flowed over the years. For much of its history, the track had two 8-cylinder “middle” divisions – the Super Streets and Strictly Stocks. In the mid-2000s, the Super Streets transitioned to the Tiger Sportsman, and in 2016, the two Tigers and Strictly Stocks were merged into a single division. One of the track’s biggest contributions to regional racing, however, has been the Kids Trucks that were founded in 2002 for 11-16 year olds. The division has been where a number of top Late Model and Tiger competitors got their start in full-body stock car racing.
All the while, Donnie Avery and his wife Teri operated the track throughout its first 25 years of action. In the early 2010, David Avery’s driving career wound down, and he and his wife Mandi became more involved in the day-to-day operations. However, the family’s business, Avery Sweeping, was taking up more and more of their time. In November 2018, the Avery’s sold the track to Cris Michaud and Pat Malone, who were already owners of Vermont’s Thunder Road Speedbowl and the traveling American-Canadian Tour. They will operate the speedway beginning in 2019, which includes multiple visits from the ACT Late Model Tour, PASS North Series, and North East Mini Stock Tour. Modifieds and Legend Cars will also come to WMMP with two visits from the new Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge.
Random Track Fact: White Mountain Motorsports Park is the newest asphalt auto racing facility constructed in New England that remains open. The Canaan Fair Speedway asphalt track opened three years later in 1996, but closed (along with the dirt track) following the 2013 season. WMMP was the newest auto racing facility period in the region until NHMX opened a dirt track in Lempster, NH in 2018.
ACT at WMMP
Although WMMP opened with a bang, it was several years before ACT made its first trip. The NASCAR Busch North Series visited the track during its first two years of existence, and the series was a bitter rival to the ACT Pro Stock Tour at the time. As a result, many tracks would book “either, but not both”. Hope emerged for a visit once the Busch North Series went elsewhere and the ACT Late Model Tour (neé ACT Late Model Sportsman Series) began to solidify itself as the top-level ACT series. In 1998, with the series finally ready to expand significantly beyond its Thunder Road-Airborne base, ACT made its first trip to WMMP. Brian Hoar won the first 150-lap event on September 6 en route to his second straight championship.
Every year since then, the ACT Late Model Tour has made at least one visit to WMMP. On several occasions, two dates were on the calendar. (WMMP also hosted events on the ACT Tiger Sportsman Tour throughout the 2000s.) The events have typically been held between mid-June and early-August, making it one of the most reliable stops for ACT. Events at WMMP are also typically among the most highly-attended of the season. This is thanks in part to the track switching to the ACT rules package for their weekly Late Models in the early 2000s. While the track initially would hold a weekly Late Model feature along with the ACT event, they eventually switched to a single larger race where the weekly stars took on the touring invaders. In recent years, these events also counted for points towards the season-long championship, further bolstering the field – and the degree of difficulty to get in.
Along the way, drivers from across the Northeast have carried the checkered flag at WMMP. Jean-Paul Cyr established himself as the man to beat during his run of five straight championships from 2003-2007. He still has the most ACT wins (4) and laps led (309) of anybody at the track. (He also famously finished 3rd in the June 30, 2007 event after demolishing his car during a heat race.) Former ACT champions Brian Hoar, Wayne Helliwell Jr., and Scott Payea also have multiple wins at the speedway. But it has also been the site for a few surprise winners. Bobby Therrien carried the checkered flag at WMMP as a rookie in 2013. The following year, former Oxford Plains Speedway champion Jeff White held off Helliwell and Travis Fadden for his first win outside Maine. This past year, Jimmy Hebert beat out Payea after the two swapped the lead four times in the final 10 laps.
In 2019, ACT makes two stops in North Woodstock. They will help open the WMMP season on Saturday, May 11 with the Spring Green 119. It will be the first time the Spring Green has ever been held at WMMP and is a revival of the historic event last run in 2016. Then on Saturday, August 3, the track will be the site of a 250-lap, $10,000-to-win extravaganza. The event was first held in September 2018 as part of WMMP’s 25th anniversary celebration and has now been added to the ACT Late Model Tour schedule.
Random ACT Fact: No WMMP Late Model regular has ever won an ACT event at the track. The closest anyone has come in 28 tries was when Brockton Davis finished second in 2013.
ACT’s Future at WMMP
White Mountain Motorsports Park is going into its 22nd consecutive year on the ACT Late Model Tour schedule. And with the track and series now under the same ownership, it seems a safe bet for it to remain a part of the series. Teams and fans alike have loved making the trip down the Kancamagus Highway every summer, and they will surely have many more opportunities to do so in the years to come.