After 12 years, seven full seasons and four championship runner-up finishes, Scott Payea finally made it to the head table at the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) banquet this past November as he celebrated his first ACT championship after an immaculate performance in 2017.
“It’s been a long time coming and it certainly feels good. We’ve been close to it many times. We were just so happy to finally get the title under our belt,” Payea told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
In his second season with RPM Motorsports, the all Vermont combination carried the momentum from a three-win 2016 season into 2017, resulting in a five-win year with eight top-five finishes on the nine-race schedule.
Despite winning over 50 percent of the season’s events, the competition remained difficult for Payea and company right to the very last lap at Thompson in October.
“It was pretty cool, but even with a phenomenal season it wasn’t easy. Dillon Moltz was right there all year. Even at the last race, the championship wasn’t locked up until the very end,” Payea stated. “You have guys coming in through the year like Eddie MacDonald, who’s always tough to beat. There’s always four or five guys that show up at each race and have a shot at winning. We did not walk away with anything; we fought hard, we wrecked a couple of times, came back and was able to get some wins from early spins.”
As for Payea’s favorite moment of the year, it is actually four different ones; consecutive wins at Devil’s Bowl (VT), Thunder Road (VT), White Mountain (NH), and Seekonk (MA) in the spring and early summer.
“There’s so many good (memories); the winning four in a row was a pretty awesome feat to break that record, that was pretty cool.”
Payea would also go on to win again at Thunder Road in the Labor Day Classic, sweeping ACT races in 2017 at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” all in tribute to ACT founder and fellow Vermont statesman Tom Curley who passed away in May.
“If there was anything that was missing from our championship run it was Tom’s big smile at the end of the races, and he certainly would have been there at the end of the year. Thunder Road is my home track, to win there is always very enjoyable.”
Like Curley before them, new Thunder Road owners Cris Michaud and Pat Malone will also run ACT from 2018 on. Like all other drivers, Payea is excited for what the two will bring to the table.
“The competition in ACT continues to be strong, Cris and Pat have made quite the impact to Thunder Road this year and brought a lot of excitement to the track and hopefully they can bring it to the tour this year.”
While 2018 is still up in the air officially for Payea and RPM, he expects to be back for more wins in the New Year.
“We’re still working on our schedules, as soon as we get things in order will put out an announcement. I don’t want to spoil anything too soon or say that we’re going to do something that we might not yet.”
Be sure to stay with Speed51.com in the coming weeks for more.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com