It was ultimately the same result with differing events that led to the conclusion of the American-Canadian Tour’s final appearance at the 49th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Rowley, Massachusetts driver Eddie MacDonald navigated his way to the front Wednesday night at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) from a 17th place start to score the ACT hat trick at the prestigious half-mile oval.
2010 NASCAR Whelen All American Series champion Keith Rocco and former Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) champion Brad Babb battled it out early for the top spot, while Eddie Mac as well as championship caliber drivers Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Polewarczyk had a tough fight with a phenomenal group of competitors.
Soon enough after the field was slowed a couple times toward the middle of the 100 lap race, one of which was a result of MacDonald on the inside of a three-wide duel into the turn, the three warriors worked their way up to bid for positions up front.
Finally on lap 71, after a couple moments when MacDonald thought better of it, the three-time ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway winner dove below Babb and Rocco for the lead. Despite some continued attempts from “Bad Brad” Babb and a rally from Helliwell late, “The Outlaw” MacDonald never looked back to sweep the three ACT races in the Sunshine State.
“This is unbelievable to be able to come here and get all three of these wins,” MacDonald said on the FansChoice.TV powered by Speed51.com broadcast. “It was a joke of ours that we wanted to come down here and win all of these, but we didn’t think we would actually be able to get it done.”
Not only did a starting position toward the rear of the field make it tougher to claim the victory, but MacDonald’s right hand man was no longer present after this event was postponed one day due to weather the previous night.
“Rollie LaChance, my crew chief, he flew home this morning so we were on the phone with him all day long trying to get set up and stuff and try to figure out what we’re supposed to do, but my guys work so hard,” MacDonald explained.
Helliwell turned up the wick and moved within a couple car lengths of MacDonald near the end. Being familiar with the competition, the former Oxford 250 victor knew he would have to get to the front as quickly as possible despite being patient in the later stages.
“I ran as hard as I could for the last probably 20 laps,” MacDonald, also the 2015 ACT American Racer Challenge Cup champion, said. “I knew Wayne was coming hard.”
For second and third-place finishers Helliwell and Polewarczyk, the competitors would have to climb to the front on two occasions after getting together with each other early in the event. Nevertheless, the runner-up from the Granite State was satisfied despite coming up short.
“Each night we made adjustments and tonight was the biggest gain,” Helliwell recapped. “Another caution or being in the right lane on one of the restarts would have been the deciding factor.”
Behind the 2014 ACT champion in the final finishing order were Babb, defending Serie ACT champion Alex Labbe, and Rocco.
All of the action on Thursday night can be viewed for free on the FansChoice.TV powered by Speed51.com broadcast. You can also check out the FansChoice.TV website for on-demand video at 8p.m. on Thursday, as well as see a full on-demand recap on NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com by clicking here.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
ACT American Racer Challenge Round #1 Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) – February 16, 2015
|2||27NH||Wayne Helliwell, Jr.||100|
|3||97NH||Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.||100|
|12||10MA||Tom Carey, Jr.||100|
|15||14MA||Eddie LeClerc, Jr.||100|