Groveton, NH — Newmarket, NH’s Bryan Kruczek could not be stopped on his way to a wire-to-wire win in the Gardiner & June Leavitt Memorial 150 at Groveton, NH’s Riverside Speedway on Saturday, August 15. The veteran held off a fierce challenge from ACT point leader Jimmy Hebert down the stretch to take the victory and become the fifth different winner in five American-Canadian Tour (ACT) events this season.
Kruczek, who had gotten off to a tough start in his first full ACT Late Model Tour season, earned the pole for the main event under ACT’s unique “plus-minus” system. However, it was no walk in the park for Kruczek and his Bobby Webber Jr. Racing team. First, the polesitter had to face the heat from defending Pro All Stars Series Champion D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH.
Shaw first caught up to Kruczek at the first caution on lap 26 for Derek Ming’s spin. The duo rubbed a little before and after the event’s second caution on lap 32, which occurred when Reilly Lanphear cut a tire on the backstretch and Tom Carey III suffered a broken suspension trying to avoid her stopped car.
However, both leaders were able to keep their cars straight. Graniteville, VT’s Stephen Donahue then caught Kruczek and Shaw near the 50-lap mark, making it a three-car tango for the top spot. Shaw made multiple bids to the inside of Kruczek as they navigated slower traffic, but Kruczek was able to pin him each time and hold onto the point.
The race then took a turn on lap 87 when Shaw suddenly came to a halt in turn two with a flat tire, bringing out the third caution. Donahue inherited the second spot with Williamstown, VT’s Hebert moving into third. The trio then broke away from the field with Kruczek continuing to show the way.
Hebert got around Donahue for the runner-up position on lap 117, and seven circuits later, it was Donahue falling by the wayside with a broken wheel that drew the fourth and final yellow. In the 26-lap sprint that followed, Hebert threw everything but the kitchen sink at Kruczek trying to steal the victory away.
But Kruczek withstood the pressure to take his first win of the year and the third of his ACT career. In the process, he became the first driver since Joey Polewarzcyk in 2015 to lead every lap of an ACT event. Kruczek is now the second driver to go wire-to-wire in an ACT event at Riverside Speedway, joining Jim Cilley in 1996.
Hebert retained his point lead by finishing on the podium for the fourth time in five events. E. Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn got bounced around early but came on strong at the end to finish third and match his career-best ACT finish. Shaw roared through the field over the final … laps to take fourth and keep the championship battle close. West Burke, VT’s Jesse Switser also had a career-best effort in ACT competition as he came home fifth.
Center Conway, NH’s Gabe Brown took sixth in the car normally piloted by Christopher Pelkey. Stark, NH’s Shawn Swallow was the highest-finishing Riverside Speedway regular in seventh. Marcel J. Gravel, Bryan Mason, and Randy Potter rounded out the top-10.
The ACT Late Model Tour returns to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, August 29 at 4:30pm. The Oxford Plains 150 headlines a “Night Before the 250” card that also includes the PASS Modifieds, Oxford Street Stocks, Northeast Classic Lites, and Wicked Good Vintage Racers. The full event will be broadcast via pay-per-view for $20 on Speed51 TV at www.speed51.com/oxford250/. Spectator attendance is permitted at this time due to state health and safety guidelines.
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
GARDINER & JUNE LEAVITT MEMORIAL 150
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
- ( 1 ) Bryan Kruczek ( 19NH ) , Newmarket, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 10 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 4 ) Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E.Bridgewater, MA , 150 Laps
- ( 2 ) D.J. Shaw ( 04VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 17 ) Jesse Switser ( 25NH ) , W. Burke, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 7 ) Gabe Brown ( 64VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 5 ) Shawn Swallow ( 04NH ) , Stark, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 8 ) #Marcel J. Gravel ( 86VT ) , Wolcott, VT , 150 Laps
- ( 14 ) Bryan Mason ( 10NH ) , Milan, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 11 ) Randy Potter ( 02NH ) , Groveton, NH , 150 Laps
- ( 3 ) #Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) , Dartmouth, MA , 150 Laps
- ( 13 ) Corey Mason ( 1NH ) , Groveton, NH , 149 Laps
- ( 6 ) Dylan Payea ( 7NH ) , Milton, VT , 149 Laps
- ( 16 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 148 Laps
- ( 20 ) Matt Anderson ( 49NH ) , Andover, NH , 147 Laps
- ( 21 ) #David MacDonald ( 69ME ) , New Gloucester, ME , 144 Laps
- ( 22 ) Jeff Lebrecque Jr. ( 12NH ) , Rochester, NH , 142 Laps
- ( 9 ) Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 124 Laps
- ( 16 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 74 Laps
- ( 12 ) #Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) , New Salem, MA , 32 Laps
- ( 15 ) Derek Ming ( 45VT ) , Island Pond, VT , 25 Laps
- ( 23 ) Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) , Westerly, RI , 0 Laps
- ( 18 ) Alby Ovitt ( 35NH ) , Candia, NH , 0 Laps
Lap Leaders: Bryan Kruczek, 1-150. (0 lead changes among 1 drivers)
Time of Race: 57 minutes, 43 seconds Margin of Victory: 0.321 seconds
Cautions: 4 (laps 26, 32, 87, 124)
Heat Winners: Marcel J. Gravel, Gabe Brown, Derek Gluchacki
Consi Winners: Corey Mason
-American-Canadian Tour Press Release
-Photo credit: Daniel Holben