Waterbury, VT – The opening race of 2016 racing season will have several young guns looking to make a good first impression competing against the top Late Model drivers in the Northeast.
The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) head to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway Sunday, April 17 for the first ACT/PASS doubleheader of the 2016 season, featuring 100 laps for the ACT Late Models and 150 laps for the PASS North Super Late Models. The event is the 67th season opener for the historic 3/8-mile speedway.
Vermont’s Emily Packard, Brandon Atkins of New York and New Hampshire’s Kyle Welch and Ryan Olsen look to be contenders at several tracks this year wheeling late models on the American Canadian Tour. The 21-year-old and under group has had various success the last two racing seasons and all look to carry the ACT checkered flag in 2016.
Packard, who finished fourth in points in 2015, is the only one of the four drivers that will not run the entire ACT schedule. The 19 year-old full time college student will run nine ACT events and is excited to start the season at Oxford. “We had some really good runs there and I really enjoy racing there”said Packard. “Last year was my first time there, so it was unknown as to how we would run. We had a great race, coming from 20th to 4th, and pressuring 3rd place at the end.” Packard should be considered as one of the favorites on Sunday as 2014 ACT Champion Joey Polewarczyk Jr. has signed on to work on the car and help the team. Joey “Pole” took home the checkers at both Oxford events last season.
Atkins, of Au Sable Forks, NY, finished fifth in ACT Late Model points in 2015 and is looking to visit victory lane for the first time in 2016. The SUNY Plattsburgh student finished 11th at the opening event last year after starting 21st and is looking forward to running the entire ACT schedule. “I think the Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne was the highlight for me” said Atkins referring to the 2015 season. “After replacing most of the front end following the heat and starting in the back, coming home fifth meant a lot to the team. It helped lead to another fifth at Thompson to finish the season”.
The 21 year-old Welch already has a victory, winning at Speedway 51 in 2014, but is looking to improve a hard luck 2015 season, finishing eighth in points. “Our speed every week was something I was really proud of” explained Welch. “We had a lot of bad luck in 2015 but in racing you’re going to have years like that”. With a full season entry and a little bit of good luck, don’t be surprised to see Welch visit victory lane again in 2016.
North Haverill, NH will once again be yielding a young racer looking to make his mark in the Northeast as Ryan Olsen competes full time in ACT. The 19 year old, driving for Joey Pole Racing, is the son of former two-time NASCAR North Champion Mike Olsen and great-grandson of the beloved New England Racers Hall of Famer, the late Stub Fadden. Olsen, who ran the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2015, will have a ton of racing knowledge at his beckon call as he runs for the 2016 ACT Rookie of the Year.
Post time for the Oxford 100 and the first ACT/PASS doubleheader of 2016 is 2:00pm on Sunday, April 17. The pits open at 7:30pm with the main grandstands at 9:30am. Admission is $30 for adults and $15 for juniors ages 6-12.
-American Canadian Tour Press Release
-Photo Credit: Lindsay Ellison Photography