The American-Canadian Tour begins its 26th season of ACT Late Model competition this Sunday at Lee USA Speedway (NH). To get you prepared for the new season, Speed51.com’s resident “Stat Boy” Elgin Traylor takes a look at the upcoming season “by the numbers.”
2: Second-year driver Dillon Moltz will be one to watch after he scored a win at White Mountain Motorsports Park last year and finished fourth in points.
2 pm: ACT Late Model fans are counting down the the minutes and hours until 2 p.m. on Sunday when the season will officially start. The whole show is normally done before dark, so if you go don’t stand in line for the hot dog stand too long because you might miss something on the track.
6: A year ago there were a total of six lead changes among five drivers in the 150-lap race. Look for more of the same this coming Sunday at Lee USA.
10: Scott Payea had all winter to think about coming up 10 points short of his first career ACT title. This marks the fourth time that Payea has finished second in points. The total number of points he has lost by equals 141 over four season. He lost the title by one in 2008. Perhaps this is finally the year he adds an ACT championship to his resume.
16: Another Scott, Scott Dragon, will begin the year at Lee with hopes of chasing the full tour schedule in 2017. Dragon, last year’s Thunder Road “King of the Road,” has not completed the full ACT schedule since 2003.
26: This will be the 26th season of racing for the ACT Late Models. Over the years, well over 750 drivers have run laps with the series in the United States and Canada.
40: Claude Leclerc begins his 40th season behind the wheel of a race car and along the way he has run over 500 ACT events between the old Pro Stock days and the current Late Model days.
47: Todd Davis led 47 laps a year ago in what might have been his first ACT win. Davis has 32 career starts and only a pair of top-five runs. He ended up 12th in last year’s New Hampshire Governor’s Cup and hopes to run well again this year.
66: Jason Corliss will take the next step in his racing career this year with the jump to the American-Canadian Tour. Corliss finished third in the Late Model point standings last year at Thunder Road and is a former winner of the Memorial Day Classic at the historic Vermont track.
88: Nick Sweet was on top of the world at the end of the 2016 season. Three wins led him to the ACT Tour title and then he capped it off with third win in the Vermont Milk Bowl at Thunder Road. Now Sweet has moved on to run some Pro All Stars Series event in 2017.
150: The ACT feature will be 150 laps on Sunday at Lee.
1125: The 2017 ACT season will consist of 1125 laps, not counting the Devil’s Bowl weekend distance which has not yet been announced. They key to the championship will be completing all the laps. Last year, Nick Sweet finished every lap while Scott Payea failed to finish two laps, one at Oxford in the season opener and one at Beech Ridge.
The First & the Last: Another driver to keep an eye on is Bobby Therrien. After winning the first race of the season at Oxford (ME) and the season finale at Thompson (CT), we look to see what more he can do with those races in between. He could be a title contender if the cards are right and they take shape out of the gate.
More Upsets?: Miles Chipman and Jimmy Hebert are two examples of what some would call “upsets” as winners at Lee during the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup. For both it was their first win in the series.
This is Why I’m Hot: Former New Hampshire Governor’s Cup winner Eddie MacDonald rolls into Lee on a hot streak having won the PASS opener at Thompson a few weeks back. For Eddie Mac, Lee — a track his parents own Red and Judy MacDonald own — is like a second home.
Oh Canada: A press release distributed by ACT officials indicated that at least six Canadian teams, including 2014 Serie ACT champion Alex Labbe, will be heading to Lee USA Speedway this weekend for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup. Could the cup be going north of the boarder?
Give Me Five: Last year the points battle was intense as the top five drivers all scored top 10 finishes in 10 or more of the 13 events. In the end, the top-three drivers all had 11 top 10 finishes with the top five’s coming at almost the same clip.
Past New Hampshire Governor’s Cup Winners
2016 Scott Payea
2015 Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
2014 Eddie MacDonald
2013 Jimmy Hebert
2012 Brian Hoar
2011 Brian Hoar
2010 Miles Chipman
2009 Brad Leighton
2008 Joey Pole
-By Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Alan Ward