This weekend’s American Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) will seem like a homecoming of sorts to several of the drivers who race with the ACT. Former NASCAR driver Brian Hoar from Williston, VT is a past NHMS Track Champion. Hoar is currently leading the 2009 ACT Championship point battle and looking for his 6th overall ACT title. Brad Leighton is the most prolific winner in NHMS history, with eight (8) wins to his credit. Part-time ACT racer Eddie MacDonald from Rowley, MA won both Camping World East events held at the Speedway in 2008. MacDonald is in a point race with Ryan Truex for the NASCAR Camping World East title and will be entering both races at New Hampshire this weekend.
When asked how he felt about heading to the Invitational, former King of the Road title holder and recent winner of the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road, Dave Pembroke, of Montpelier, VT said, “I am a little concerned that those guys will try and pay me back!”
Pembroke won the 200-lap event a couple of weeks ago. He not only won the event, but he led all 200 laps and nearly put the entire field of 30 starters down a lap in the process. The race went 181 green flag laps before the one and only caution on lap 182. This was accomplished on what is regarded as one of the toughest quarter mile racetracks in America. “Seriously, I am really excited about going back to New Hampshire. I don’t have any great expectations, I am just happy to get the invitation to compete at that beautiful place. I kind of wish I was in Phil’s car instead of my own. (Pembroke took part in a two-day Goodyear tire test in April in the car of Montpelier, Vt’s Senator Phil Scott. On the second day of testing Scott was called back to the Senate for a critical vote and asked Pembroke to substitute for him). It certainly performed better at Loudon than mine did when we were testing in August, but we have worked since Labor Day to get it ready, so we will hope for the best”, concluded Pembroke.
The home track advantage might be somewhat neutralized when the draw for starting spots is concluded around 12:30 on Saturday, September 19th following the drivers meeting. “We have been working on a handicap system that reflects what is good about short track racing. We won’t have an opportunity to qualify by heats or time trials, due to some time constraints, so we have created a fair system to try and give our teams a good racing experience, and also to give our fans the best show possible”, said Nick Bigelow, the ACT Chief Handicapper. The system that has been created for the first ACT Invitational will have all thirty-six teams draw for positions, but the draw has been broken into three parts, and the final line-up will reflect what officials believe will be both competitive and safe for the race teams.
The inaugural ACT Invitational will be comprised of teams from all 6 New England states and the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Vermont will send the largest contingent of teams with 12, followed by Maine with 7 entrants, and then Quebec and New Hampshire with 4 each.
The $65,000 ACT Invitational will be part of the biggest one day of racing in New England. The ACT race will follow the popular NASCAR Whelen Modified Series 100 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 200. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling NHMS or by visiting their site at www.nhms.com. Post time at NHMS on Saturday, September 19th is 1:00pm. The ACT Invitational is scheduled to post at 5:30pm.
Sources: ACT Tour PR