Brian Hoar spent Saturday afternoon at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) as a self-described “wreck.” After 22 years of competing on the American-Canadian Tour, the eight-time series champion was about to take a step away from racing. Until Saturday night only a few people very close to him knew that.
Like he had done 41 times previously, the Williston, Vermont driver pulled into victory lane before informing the rest of the world of his life-changing decision.
“I’m going to be stepping away from the driver’s seat.”
Hoar took over the lead from Dillon Moltz on lap 93 of the 100-lap ACT event and from there the only thing he needed to fight off were the tears. Hoar held on to claim his record 42nd career ACT win and one of the more emotional wins of his storied career.
“I’m going to be honest with you, on the white flag lap I started balling,” Hoar said after the race. “(Spotter) Rick (Paya) is like, ‘You’ve just got one more corner’ and all I can think is don’t hit the wall coming off of turn two right now because I’m having trouble seeing. I was pretty emotional, I’ve been a wreck all day. I think I’m better now, I think I needed to get it out of myself because it’s not an easy decision. Put me behind the wheel and I love it.”
Hoar’s decision to call it quits comes at a time when family is of the upmost importance. Two years ago he made the decision to scale back his efforts while picking and choosing races, but even that type of schedule required hours upon hours of time spent away from family.
“I’ve got two daughters that are teenagers, one of them just got into high school, and that’s a big part of it,” Hoar explained. “I’ve been doing it a long time and I’ve got a lot of other things I want to do as well. To be honest with you, I love boats. Four or five years ago I got back into boats for the first time in 20 years really. I love it. I’m going to spend more time on a boat next summer. I’ve got a speed boat and I’m going to have some fun with it.”
Making the decision may have been one of the easiest parts of the process for Hoar; informing his team was certainly the most difficult. He struggled to find a way to tell his crew until Saturday morning.
Once he informed the RPM Motorsports team of his decision, it was game on just like any other race. Hoar methodically worked his way up into the top-three in the early stages while capitalizing on a few restarts to put himself in a position to win.
Eddie MacDonald suffered engine problems while leading with less than 25 laps to go and Dillon Moltz got sideways which started a chain-reaction crash on a late race restart to give Hoar the opportunity he needed to pounce.
Just like he has done throughout his career, he took advantage of the hand dealt to him to add “World Series winner” to his resume that already has him being called the most storied driver in ACT history.
“You don’t start off doing this to do that, it is just one of those deals were I was lucky enough to be surrounded be really great people for all of my career,” Hoar said when asked about his legacy. “That’s how we got here. Some of it is luck, just like tonight, but having good people and working our tails off and staying motivated, that was back with my team and now with the Rick Paya team. It’s pretty cool.
“Records are made to be broken, but I’m pretty happy with the career I have had. All I wanted to do coming into the end of this year was to try to get another win. I don’t mean not to have it handed to me, but to legitimately take the checkered on the track. This couldn’t be a more special way to do that.”
In addition to the eight ACT championship and 42 ACT wins, Hoar boasted his resume one year ago by becoming the first driver from Vermont to qualify for the prestigious Snowball Derby. He also qualified for the All American 400 and finished fifth in the Winchester 400, all among the crown jewel Late Model events in the country.
Through the years, though, Hoar has remained faithful to the ACT staff that hails out of Waterbury, Vermont. It’s only right that he ends his career in one of the places he frequented most: ACT victory lane.
“The American-Canadian Tour has meant a lot to me, I’ve been here since 1990 with Tom Curley. I’m pretty loyal to that ACT badge and really appreciate what they’ve done for auto racing.
“It’s been a lot of good years for me and it means a lot to have it end like this.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com