Thunder Road SpeedBowl
ACTion News 3/07/05
Now that Race-A-Rama has (successfully!) come and gone, it’s almost time to begin thinking about opening day. For the third time in ACT Late Model Tour history, the season opens in the Granite State, at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH (right). ACT regulars will go head-to-head against the Lee USA Late Models, in an event with more twists and turns than the old road course at Bryar Motorsports Park.

Among the 34 pre-entered ACT drivers, the newcomers almost unanimously have the same objective – just qualify. We caught up with rookies Marc Curtis, Jr. and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. at Race-A-Rama, and they echoed each other’s sentiments. “My main goal this year is to qualify for every race,” said 21-year old Spencer, MA driver Curtis, “and then we’ll work on finishing them. There are so many talented racers in ACT that just keeping up with them will make us feel good as a team. Jean-Paul Cyr, Brent Dragon, I’ve always looked up to those guys, and now I have a chance to race with them.”

“It will be a big confidence booster just to make the show,” said Polewarczyk, 16, of Hudson, NH. “I ran with Cyr a bit in practice at the end of last season, and it felt great. The competition is really tough, and doing well in this series means a lot.”

David Avery, whose car (left) sat in the Race-A-Rama ACT display booth next to Polewarczyk’s, has bigger plans. “We took the car apart before the end of the year and made some big changes,” said Avery, “and we really came on strong. If the car is as good this year as it was last year, I think we’ll be in good shape for the whole season.” After impressive runs in practice, Avery was among the favorites to win the $10,000 top prize in the New England Dodge Dealers National 150 at Lee USA last September before electrical problems sent him packing early. A week later, he very nearly won the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road. “I’d really like to win one of those Super Series races, or maybe both. The Milk Bowl would be pretty good, too,” Avery said with a grin. Avery’s new ABC Monte Carlo body, by the way, turned quite a few heads at the Race-A-Rama show.

We also spent some time talking with East Longmeadow, MA driver Tom Fearn, ninth overall on the ACT Late Model Tour in 2004. Fearn’s Stafford Motor Speedway Late Model was on display (right), and the veteran driver reports that while he may make selected ACT events in 2005, he’ll be concentrating his efforts on winning a fourth title at the Connecticut track. As previously mentioned in this space, Fearn drove his cousin Scott’s #03 Dodge last season, but will vacate the seat this year, making way for former Thompson Speedway champ Dennis Botticello.

Did you know…?
• Vermont natives won every ACT Late Model Tour event from April 1992 to June 1999, when New Yorker Mark Lamberton won a 100-lap event at his home track, Airborne Speedway. Later that season, Quebec racers Patrick Laperle and Alexandre Gingras won back-to-back events.

• Five of the 2004 season’s 12 winners were natives of a non-Vermont area, including Quebec’s Laperle, Roger Brown and Dale Shaw of New Hampshire, Maine’s Shawn Martin, and D.J. Kennington of Ontario. They join past winners Lamberton, Ryan Moore, Kenny Dufour, Gingras, Sylvain Lacombe, and Ricky Rolfe on that list.

• By finishing 7th overall in 1995, Groveton, NH racer Randy Potter became the first non-Vermonter to finish in the ACT Late Model Tour’s Top 10. Since then, Ryan Moore, Tom Fearn, Tracie Bellerose (3 times), and Laperle (4 times) have also accomplished the task.

• Champlain, NY’s Mark Eddy earned ACT Late Model Tour Rookie of the Year honors in 1996, the first to do so without a green license plate on the team hauler. Moore, Brown, and Nashua, NH’s B.J. Piekarski have swept the last three freshman titles.

With all the talk of Late Model drivers looking at the Tiger Sportsman Series as a viable option in 2005, we’ve overheard rumors of yet another Late Model driver interested in racing something else this year. Three-time Thunder Road Late Model Champion Phil Scott will look reportedly look to take his fourth “King of the Road” crown in a Ford, bearing the familiar green paint and classic #14, but will be testing a new aerodynamic feature – no roof. Yes, Phil Scott will be running a PowerShift Junkyard Warrior! Okay, so we made that up, but Senator Scott did say he would have fun in one. “I would only race a convertible, though,” he said.

Speaking of the Sportsman Series, drivers have until Tuesday, March 15 to file a full-season entry and save $50 and a whole bunch of extra hassle filing for each individual event. Each race entry is worth 10 points. Using quick math, 10 points X 8 races = 80 points over the course of the season, which could potentially make a HUGE difference, and that’s all taken care of in the filing of a full-season entry. Send entries to ACT Sportsman Entry, P.O. Box 296, Waterbury, VT 05676. To request a registration form, call (802) 244-6963, or e-mail justin@acttour.com.