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American Canadian Tour

Northeast Late Model Recap (8/12)

Each week, Short Track Scene looks back at results and news from northern New England’s Late Model and Super Late Model competition, from the region’s premier tours — the American-Canadian Tour, the Granite State Pro Stock Series, and the Pro All Stars Series — to the tracks and drivers that support them.

ACT TOUR: Since Dillon Moltz won this year’s season opener, only Scott Payea has visited victory lane. Payea and the Rick Paya Motorsports team had a four-race winning streak with the ACT Tour teams heading to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.

But there has been a more prolific winner in 2017: Mother Nature.

ACT and Beech Ridge officials called off the Coastal 100 on Friday with concerns about the forecast. On Saturday, Beech Ridge officials cancelled the remainder of their evening card. The Coastal 100 has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday, August 12. This is the fourth of six ACT Tour events that have been postponed for rain this year.

PASS NORTH: The Pro All Stars Series teams finally made their way to Lee USA Speedway last Friday night. The 150-lap feature at New Hampshire’s Center of Speed would be the only PASS appearance at the track in 2017, after June’s race was rained out and never rescheduled.

For a few tense moments on Friday evening, weather looked to be a factor yet again. A rain shower during practice forced the track to cancel heats for the weekly classes. With that, the PASS feature was able to go green around 10:00pm, but it was able to go green.

Garrett Hall was the early race leader, but faced a challenge from six-time PASS champion Johnny Clark, looking to exorcise some demons after a difficult 2017 thus far. Working his way from the tail of the field, however, was journeyman Glen Luce. Luce started fourteenth, patiently working his way forward and taking the lead late in the going. Once Luce was at the point, he was unstoppable, cruising home to an easy victory over fellow points challenger Travis Benjamin.

Luce’s win was his second in 2017. Since his breakthrough victory in the 2015 Oxford 250, Luce has emerged as a force on the PASS North tour, with five more points wins and a presence in the top tier of points challengers. After Friday night’s win, Luce sits only three points out of the championship lead.

Travis Benjamin, the current points leader, defended his lead with a second-place finish, with Garrett Hall settling for third. Johnny Clark finished a respectable fourth with DJ Shaw rounding out the top five. The other points contenders finished safely in the top ten, with Derek Griffith sixth, Dave Farrington, Jr. eighth, and Ben Rowe ninth.

Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Joe Squeglia, Jr. both hoped to make strong home-track appearances, but neither could crack the top-ten in the finishing order. Helliwell finished eleventh, with Squeglia finishing 15th in the 16-car lineup. Semi-regulars Tracy Gordon, Joey Doiron, and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. were some of the names not in attendance for the Friday-evening show.

This is the final PASS North points race before the Oxford 250 on August 27th, allowing teams a few weeks to prepare for the year’s most significant event.

OXFORD 250: A week after signing sponsorship for the region’s biggest short track race, an updated entry list has revealed some new competitors for August’s Scott’s Recreation Oxford 250 presented by Fastway Trailer Products. Former PASS winner Bryan Kruczek, with only one series start in 2017, has filed an entry for the 250. Thompson Speedway Late Model competitor Raymond Christian III is on the entry list in a car backed by Crazy Horse Racing Parts. “RC3” had intended on making a bid for ACT Tour rookie honors in 2017, but sits third in the rookie standings halfway through the season.

A particularly notable change is the addition of 2013 PASS champion Cassius Clark in the #13 King Racing entry for Rollie MacDonald. Clark was already entered in the Hight Motorsports #77 entry earlier this year, but that car is now listed as “TBA.”

WEEKLY ACTION: At Thunder Road in Barre, VT, Chris Pelkey took his first victory in weekly Late Model competition last Thursday, beating out longtime friend Cody Blake for the win. Bobby Therrien finished sixth in the 50-lap feature to defend his midseason points lead.

Despite Saturday night’s rain cancellation at Beech Ridge in Scarborough, racing was still underway up the road at Oxford Plains Speedway. Alan Tardiff won his second feature of the season to pad his points lead, beating out a visiting Reid Lanpher, who towed to Oxford after Beech Ridge cancelled for the night. Scott Robbins finished third, a bright spot in a difficult year. Derek Griffith made a rare appearance in Oxford’s weekly competition, finishing seventh, with fellow PASS competitor Tracy Gordon finishing eleventh.

COMING UP: The ACT Tour takes another shot at Beech Ridge on Saturday evening, in hopes of getting the Coastal 100 in. The Granite State Pro Stock Series also returns to action Saturday for a 100-lapper at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH.

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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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