–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
WATERBURY — The two men who took over Thunder Road Speedbowl this season will take control of the American-Canadian Tour for 2018 and beyond.
Former racer Cris Michaud and real estate developer Pat Malone have taken ownership of the 31-year-old Vermont-based sanctioning body. The two took control of the famed quarter-mile oval in April this year.
“I am thrilled to be able, along with my partner Pat (Malone), to lead ACT forward,” Michaud was quoted in a press release issued. “Having work with and for Tom Curley, ACT has always represented to me the best in short track racing and I am excited about this acquisition.”
Curley died from complications of COPD in May and left the series to American-Canadian Tour Managing Director Darla Hartt. Hartt was the longtime American-Canadian Tour’s Vice President and General Manager until Curley’s passing.
“My decision to sell ACT is bittersweet,” Hartt said, “having worked with Tom (Curley) from the initial NASCAR North Tour in 1979 and then launching our own series in 1986.
“Over 38 years, we logged many thousands of miles and enjoyed so many adventures with incredible people. Everyone in our ACT family felt a huge loss in (Curley’s) passing, but the teams, fans, promoters, and officials who are ACT remain dedicated to the task of moving forward.
“Losing Tom last spring — who was both my business and life partner — and immediately proceeding to operate the Tour was a challenge.”
Michaud and Malone had a successful first season that saw the track undergo a repaving, as well as higher car counts and the addition of the entry-level, low-cost Road Warrior division.
“I admire the efforts Darla has made over the course of her career and especially since Tom’s passing with ACT,” Michaud said. “(I) appreciate the confidence she has in entrusting us with this iconic organization.”
“Tom Curley was very much a proponent of necessary change,” Hartt said. “When I was approached by Cris and Pat, I felt the passing of the torch at this point was a good decision for everyone involed.
“ACT is a special entity and I am pleased that the new ownership includes an individual who came up through our system. Cris Michaud raced with us at Thunder Road and on the Tour and then ultimately worked with us as an official.
“I trust that the American-Canadian Tour is in good hands and will continue to thrive going into the future.”
Michaud made 120 starts during his days on with the American-Canadian Tour and posted four wins. He finished third in the series standings in 2001.
For Michaud and Malone, they will begin to plan the 2018 ACT Late Model Tour season while doing so for their second season at the helm of Thunder Road ownership. Thunder Road officials state announcements regarding 2018 will be made before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We anticipate sharing scheduling and other planning information for the 2018 ACT Tour in the next few weeks,” Michaud said.
VtMotorMag.com will have more on the sale of the American-Canadian Tour soon.