The American-Canadian Tour makes the trip to Southern New England this Saturday for the Thompson 75 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway. With $5,000 to win on the line for the second time this month, another big payday is in store for this battle between the best of the ACT Late Model Tour and the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models.
Saturday’s event is the second round of the 2019 Summer Kickoff Series, which puts big money up for grabs among ACT Late Model racers throughout the Northeastern U.S. and Quebec. Round one was an action-fueled affair north of the border that saw Plainfield, New Hampshire’s Rich Dubeau earn his first ACT victory at Autodrome Chaudiere. With another big field expected at the United States’ oldest paved track, the action is sure to be just as breathtaking.
Dubeau and the rest of ACT’s biggest stars have already made their plans to head to the historic 5/8-mile oval. In Dubeau’s case, he returns to a track where he led 68 laps in ACT’s last visit before he got caught up in a late incident. Should the ACT Late Model Tour point leader finish the deal this time around, he would grab his second $5,000 check of the month. Dubeau would also become eligible for a $5,000 bonus should he complete the Kickoff Series sweep at Star Speedway on June 29.
He’ll have plenty of challengers trying to grab a fat payday of their own. Number-two point man Jimmy Hebert and two-time defending ACT champion Scott Payea both have podium finishes at Thompson. A win on Saturday would help them close ground in the championship chase. With the ACT season reaching its official halfway mark this weekend, every point is critical from here on out.
Should any of those racers have an off-night, plenty of others will be waiting to pounce. Payea’s cousin Dylan leads a pack of drivers between fourth and ninth that are separated by just 33 points. Top freshman Ryan Kuhn and Stephen Donahue have a great battle brewing for Rookie of the Year. Sophomore Christopher Pelkey has made marked improvements this year while Canadian Jonathan Bouvrette got his season back on track with a strong run at Autodrome Chaudiere.
But all those drivers will have to beat the local Late Model regulars who know all the ins and outs of Thompson Speedway. Millbury, Massachusetts’ William Wall scored one for the locals with a victory last October and the current track point leader is ready for number two. Salem, Massachusetts’ Tom Carey III was battling with Dubeau before the late incident in that event and has stated he’ll be back for some redemption.
Most of the NWAAS Thompson regulars are expected to roll into the pits on Saturday. They include former Modified Racing Series champion Woody Pitkat, multi-time Late Model winner Ryan Morgan, strong early runner Derek Gluchaski, and former ACT regulars such as Brian Tagg and Mark Jenison. ACT has also received entries from 16-year-old Super Late Model standout Jake Johnson and veteran Tom Rosati, who has been competing with the Granite State Pro Stock Series this season after many years on the sidelines.
Qualifying for the ACT Thompson 75 goes to post at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday. The pits open at 11:30 a.m. and the front gates open at 3:15 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors/veterans/active military and free for kids ages 12 and under.