Thunder Road SpeedBowl
ACTion News 1/24/05
Perhaps for the first time in quite a while, the ACT Late Model Tour is experiencing a bit of a “silly season”. Driver changes, sponsor changes, and an influx of rookies, Tour newcomers, and veterans with new plans have the paperwork flying in the Waterbury office. Agawam, MA car owner Scott Fearn reports that his cousin Tom – the Tour’s 9th-place point man in 2004 – will pursue other racing interests in 2005, and has left the seat of the Northeastern Sheet Metal/Kulig Oil #03 Dodge (shown right). Taking over the reins of the machine will be long-time veteran Dennis Botticello of Suffield, CT. Botticello has over 50 wins in Late Model and Pro Stock racing at Thompson, Stafford, and the former Riverside Park Speedway, and was the Late Model Champion at Thompson Speedway in 1998 and 1999.

Salem, CT driver Corey Hutchings will reportedly look to compete full-time with ACT in 2005. While racing for three different car owners in 2004, all Hutchings managed to do was win 15 races, and the Thompson, Waterford Speedbowl and NASCAR New England Regional ShorTrack division championships.

One rumor that floated around ACT country for a while has in fact become, well, fact. Thunder Road hotdog Dave Pembroke of Middlesex, VT has agreed to steer the #52 car that David Storey fielded for veteran racer Dale Shaw in 2004, and will make a bid for the ACT Late Model Tour championship in 2005. While Pembroke and his family team will maintain Storey’s Tour ride, they also have their own business to take care of, in the form of building their own new chassis and setting out to win the Thunder Road track championship.

As reported recently, former Thunder Road Hurricane, Limited Sportsman, and Flying Tiger Champion “Stormin’” Norman Andrews is planning a return to Thunder Road and the ACT Late Model division. Another veteran driver’s name has surfaced in the rumor mill recently in a sort of “throwback mode”. Like Andrews, this driver is a multi-time “King of the Road” in various divisions, and began his career before most of his would-be competitors were eating solid foods. He’ll be returning to his roots in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division in 2005. Hmm… maybe we’ll keep this a secret for a couple more days. Stay tuned at www.acttour.com to find out who we’re talking about.

Did you know…?

• The ACT Late Model Tour has a different winner in each of the last eight season openers. Brian Hoar won the 1997 opener at Thunder Road, and later became the Tour Champion. Jean-Paul Cyr did the same exact thing in 2004. Cyr also won the 1996 opener at Circuit Ste-Croix in Quebec, and, you guessed it, won the title that year.

• The New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl at Thunder Road has traditionally marked the end of the season every year… or has it? In 13 years, the three-segment cow-smooching affair has been the Tour’s season closer just six times. Airborne Speedway has drawn the curtain four times and Riverside Speedway did so in 1994. The other two events, although not Milk Bowls, were held at Thunder Road. Jim Cilley won a 100-lapper in 1993, and Maine rookie Ryan Moore won the Fall Foliage 200 in 2002.

Here’s something for the fans of yesteryear: Rollie MacDonald of Pictou, Nova Scotia, has been inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame. A 30+ year short track veteran, MacDonald was a part-time racer on the former ACT Pro Stock Tour, and took a pair of wins at Sanair Super Speedway near Montreal, along with the Nissan 200 at Scotia Speedworld. In 1977, he won an incredible 21 races in a row in the Canadian Maritimes. In more recent seasons, MacDonald worked with Scott Fraser (shown left, in a MacDonald-owned car), another former ACT winner, and one of Canada’s brightest young stars. After Fraser lost his life in a snowmobile accident in March 2004, MacDonald drove the car in a pair of events in Fraser’s memory. “The car is for sale, but if nobody buys it I’m going to run it some (in 2005),” he said. ACT would like to congratulate Rollie MacDonald on the well-deserved honor – we’ll keep our eyes peeled for your name in the winner’s circle!

Questions, comments, suggestions, info? Any ideas on how to stay warm? E-mail justin@acttour.com, or call us at (802) 244-6963, Monday through Thursday, 8am to 5pm.