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Switser’s redemption comes early with rain-shortened Oxford ACT win

Denied his second ACT Tour win in April after a post-race inspection, Switser beat the weather and cleared the tech shed to score instant redemption for his team.

Jesse Switser bounced back from his NHMS troubles to post his second career ACT Tour win in a rain-shortened event at Oxford Plains Speedway. (Photo courtesy ACT/Alan Ward)

Jesse Switser only had to wait a couple weeks to shake off the stigma of a rescinded win to start the American-Canadian Tour season.

It only took that long to find redemption, too.

The Lyndonville, Vt. racer took his second career ACT Late Model Tour win in Sunday’s Pine Tree State 125 at Oxford Plains Speedway, stealing the lead not long before weather forced an early end to the race.

Switser was at the center of early-season controversy after a convincing victory in the season-opening Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. An off-site engine inspection for Switser, runner-up Derek Gluchacki and fifth-place finisher Brian Hoar uncovered irregularities with Switser’s powerplant. Not only was Switser stripped of the victory, the Maine engine builder who sealed the engine for ACT competition was suspended from ACT’s list of approved engine builders, with the option to apply for reinstatement next April.

The turn of fate was gut-wrenching for a small team that had come on strong in limited Tour appearances, with a breakout win in last August’s Midsummer Classic 250 at White Mountain Motorsports Park, Switser’s home track. Many of Switser’s competitors voiced their support on social media, saying they felt Switser would have won regardless of the infractions.

Undeterred, Switser rolled off third in Sunday’s second event of the young season, chasing early contenders Gabe Brown and J.R. Robinson for the lead. As halfway approached, Brown ran up on a pack of slower cars, with Switser and Jonathan Bouvrette pouncing on Brown in traffic.

Switser’s time on the point was short, though, with clouds rolling in and rain soaking the track after a pair of cautions. The rain showing no signs of letting up, ACT officials called the cars back to the pits. The lap-65 yellow would be the race’s last.

Officials ultimately called the race official, crowning Switser as the winner. Brown and Bouvrette swapped spots in the closing laps to finish second and third. NHMS winner Gluchacki was fourth at the finish, while D.J. Shaw bounced back from his own NHMS gremlins to round out the top five.

Cam Huntress tied his career-best result with sixth, while Oxford Super Late Model champion Dave Farrington, Jr. finished seventh. Ryan Kuhn, rookie Kasey Beattie and Brockton Davis rounded out the top ten. Despite a brutal race at Loudon in which only half of the field made it to the checkered flag, 36 cars were on hand at Oxford, including five competitors from Quebec.

The afternoon’s Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model feature was postponed to June, with only heat races complete by the time the rains came.

With top-five finishes in both races so far, Gluchacki holds a 27-point lead over Brandon Barker and Brown. Switser sits fourth in the standings despite his NHMS disqualification. Twenty drivers have attempted both races, with all but one taking the green flag in both.

Weather, meanwhile, remains undefeated early in the year. Sunday’s rain-shortened race was the third straight ACT Tour race to be affected by the skies above. Last year’s season finale at New London-Waterford Speedbowl was preemptively postponed a day to dodge a nasty forecast; April’s Northeast Classic suffered a similar fate.

The trend is already in play this weekend, with officials moving Sunday’s Community Bank, N.A. 150 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl to a Saturday show. A damp Sunday forecast was too foreboding to leave the race up to chance.

Thunder Road is a challenge for the Tour faithful, often favoring the weekly racers who opt to run the full-distance Tour feature. Switser missed the field for last year’s Community Bank, N.A. 150; Gluchacki crashed in his consi and was unable to start last fall’s Labor Day Classic at a track that has never been particularly kind to him. Even two-time champ Shaw has struggled, posting tenth-place finishes in both Thunder Road appearances last year.

Whether those trends remain intact, beyond the rain date, remains to be seen.

Unofficial Results
American-Canadian Tour Pine Tree State 125
Oxford Plains Speedway

1. (25NH) Jesse Switser
2. (47NH) Gabe Brown
3. (41QC) Jonathan Bouvrette
4. (03MA) Derek Gluchacki
5. (04VT) D.J. Shaw
6. (27NH) Cam Huntress
7. (23ME) Dave Farrington, Jr.
8. (72MA) Ryan Kuhn
9. (45NH) Kasey Beattie
10. (47ME) Brockton Davis
11. (0NH) Brandon Barker
12. (36NH) Erick Sands
13. (78QC) Michael Lavoie
14. (68VT) Brooks Clark
15. (7MA) Jeremy Sorel
16. (68NH) Tanner Woodard
17. (21QC) Alexendre Tardif
18. (74ME) Justin Eldridge
19. (29MA) Joshua Hedges
20. (77NH) Bryan Wall, Jr.
21. (86VT) Marcel J. Gravel
22. (30RI) Jacob “Rowdy” Burns
23. (1NH) Corey Mason
24. (18VT) Kaiden Fisher
25. (33QC) Remi Perreault
26. (28ME) J.R. Robinson
27. (91CT) Jake Johnson
28. (73MA) Cole Littlewood
29. (10NH) Bryan Mason
30. (11RI) Bobby Pelland III
31. (31CT) Ryan Morgan
32. (21VT) Reilly Lanphear
33. (11QC) Claude Leclerc
34. (69ME) Dave MacDonald
35. (92ME) Colby Meserve
36. (39VT) Mike Foster

Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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