Friday, May 14, 2010

ACT opens 60th season at Oxford Plains Speedway

OXFORD — I can almost smell the fumes and hear the engines roar.

This Sunday, May 16, is opening day for Oxford Plains Speedway - with a very full card of racing on tap.

Headlining the show is the Vermont-based American-Canadian Tour (ACT), the northeast's most competitive and talent-filled series. Oxford's Strictly Stock, Mini Stock and some Wed. night classes will also compete.

Each time the touring veterans come to Oxford, guys like five-time champion Travis Adams, 2004 title winner Shawn Martin, ageless Timmy Brackett, Shawn Knight, Travis Stearns and Tommy Ricker put up a fight.
We're blessed with a ton of rock-solid Late Model teams at OPS, which means this rivalry produces plenty of entertainment.

Led by second-generation star Brent Dragon (Beaver's son, Bobby's nephew) of Milton, Vermont, the ACT teams mean business. In the 20 previous ACT races at Oxford, Dragon has 11 top-10s in 18 starts. The defending race winner is Joey Polewarczyk Jr., a tremendously talented young man from Hudson, New Hampshire.

Add in defending series champion and six-time title holder Brian Hoar, seven-time champion Jean-Paul Cyr, Randy Potter, Scott Payea and recent Thunder Road winner (May 2 - ACT Round 1) Nick Sweet, and you've got the ingredients for an exciting battle. It'll be Maine vs. Vermont vs. NH vs. Quebec vs. Mass., vs, well, you get the idea. Talk about a mix of talent from a broad geographic area, ACT has that and more.

Hope to see tons of folks at the track this weekend. Looks like the weather is going to cooperate with us BIG-time on Sunday, with wall-to-wall sunshine and temps in the low 70s.  Practice tomorrow (Sat. May 15) might be delayed slightly depending on any passing showers, but it appears s though all cars should have adequate on-track opportunities.

Travel safe - and I hope to see you at Oxford Plains Speedway this weekend. Let's wave that green flag!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nick Sweet wins Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road

BARRE, VT — Hometown favorite Nick Sweet is starting to make a name for himself on the American Canadian Tour.
The Barre native recorded his first career ACT win Sunday, taking the lead from David Pembroke on lap 116 and successfully holding off defending ACT champion Brian Hoar for top honors. Patrick Laperle was the event’s only other leader, holding the top spot for 15 laps before settling for third at the finish. Pembroke and Mark Lamberton rounded out the top five.
“This car was awesome today,” Sweet said in Victory Lane.  “All these guys race with such respect for one another, I have to thank David (Pembroke) for running me so clean. I knew Brian was coming up fast in the closing laps, I’m just thrilled to be able to hold him off and win one of these things. It feels great, now we need to carry this on to Airborne and Oxford.”
Hoar started 13th on the 30-car grid, worked his way to seventh at halfway then made a terrific late-race charge to the front but simply ran out of time. Back with Rick Paya’s RPM Racing Engines/Gosscars.com squad, Hoar looks as strong as ever in 2010.
“I was just riding out there for the first half,” said Hoar. “I was trying to save the car for a big push in the late stages, and it was pretty fast at the end, just not quite fast enough. Nick (Sweet) is a great racer, I’m happy to see him get that first win. We’re happy with this run today and will get ready for the Spring Green at Airborne.”
Laperle, of St. Denis, Quebec, started sixth and kept the huge opening-day crowd cheering as he worked the outside groove. On a mid-race restart, Laperle used that high line to his advantage to wrestle the lead away from Pembroke. He led from lap 81 to the 96th circuit when Pembroke drove back by on the inside. This battle was one of the best witnessed at T-Road in quite some time.
“I jumped at the chance to lead when I realized the car was so fast on the outside,” Laperle explained. “David was hooked up on the bottom, but my car got great forward bite on the outside. I wish we could have stayed up front and won this thing, but David and Brian were very fast today. We’ll take a solid third place run and move on from here.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 12th annual Merchants Bank 150 was Craig Bushey, Joey Laquerre (he’s 67 years old), Chip Grenier, Scott Payea and Mark Hayward. Eight cautions slowed the pace, two of which came out at lap 73. Only one incident involved multiple cars, most were for single-car spins.
Forty-four cars attempted to make the show, a strong sign despite the struggling economy. Other notable drivers in Sunday’s ACT opener include Senator Phil Scott (11th); young Joey Pole, who wound up 12th; defending track champion Jean-Paul Cyr, who is driving the No. 22 machine for Gary Caron this year (13th); second-generation driver Brent Dragon, who came home a disappointing 14th; Groveton, New Hampshire’s Randy Potter (15th); and Tracie Bellerose, the 2000 Thunder Road track champion, who finished 16th in her return to ACT competition.
Weather conditions were more like summer than early May, ironic given the fact that Thunder Road was buried under 10 inches of snow the previous Wednesday. With temperatures hovering in the mid-to-upper 70s and high humidity, drivers and crew members weren’t the only ones sweating atop Quarry Hill on Sunday afternoon.
A handful of Maine-based teams made the haul to Vermont last weekend. Multi-time Oxford Plains Speedway Late Model champion Travis Adams took his bright green No. 03 entry to Barre, but failed to qualify. Windham’s Bradley Babb was also on hand, as was Glen Luce of Turner and TJ Watson of Cundy’s Harbor. Watson qualified 15th and came home 24th after getting involved in an altercation. Luce was the only other Mainer to qualify, working his way from 17th on the grid to 20th at the finish.

Unofficial Finish:
ACT Merchants Bank 150
Thunder Road Int’l. Speedbowl
May 2, 2010

1. Nick Sweet, Barre, VT
2. Brian Hoar, Williston, VT
3. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC
4. Dave Pembroke, Montpelier, VT
5. Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NH
6. Craig Bushey, Cambridge, VT
7. Joey Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT
8. Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT
9. Scott Payea,  Milton, VT
10. Mark Hayward, Newport, NH
11. Phil Scott, Montpelier, VT
12. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH
13. Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT
14. Brent Dragon, Milton, VT
15. Randy Potter, Groveton, NH
16. Tracie Bellerose, Gorham, NH
17. Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT
18. Michael Kenison, Groveton, NH
19. Derek Lynch, Warkworth, ON
20. Glen Luce, Turner, ME
21. Pete Potvin III, Graniteville, VT
22. Reno Gervais, Island Pond, VT
23. Joey Becker, Jeffersonville, VT
24. TJ Watson, Cundy's Harbor, ME
25. Jeff Zuidema, No..Brookfield, Mass.
26. Eric Chase, Milton, VT
27. Tony Andrews, Northfield, VT
28. Matt White, Northfield, VT
29. Tyler Cahoon,  St.Johnsbury, VT
30. Cris Michaud,  E. Montpelier, VT