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NEW NIGHT, SAME RESULT: MacDonald Wins Again at NSS

Posted By Tj Ingerson On February 17, 2015

Categories: American-Canadian Tour

ACT World Series Racing coverage at New Smyrna Speedway on Vermont Motorsports Magazine provided by RPM Racing Engines in Georgia, Vermont.Eddie MacDonald celebrates his American-Canadian Tour win on Monday night during the American Racer Challenge 100at New Smyrna Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)PHOTO: Eddie MacDonald celebrates his American-Canadian Tour win on Monday night during the American Racer Challenge 100at New Smyrna Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

--by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

The night was different and the route to get there was in stark contrast to one night earlier, but Eddie MacDonald pulled into victory lane at New Smyrna Speedway for the second straight night as he claimed the first leg in the American Racer Challenge on Monday evening.

The Rowley, Mass., driver took advantage lap 87 restart to claim the lead over Aaron Fellows and scored his second win in as many nights at the half-mile oval.

MacDonald sat in the second spot in the late stages of the 100-lap event as he watched Fellows hold a near half straightaway lead, but when Patrick Laperle tangled with Travis Stearns and shot up into the turn one wall, Fellows’ massive leas was erased.

Two ensuing caution flags set MacDonald up to the outside of Fellows, and the veteran driver did not falter as he grabbed the lead from Fellows to lead lap 88.

One final caution flag would fly one lap later for Fellows, who spun into turn one after contact with Stearns, but MacDonald held tough with his new front row mate in Wayne Helliwell Jr. to resume with the lead and score the win.

“Last night, we were definitely better,” MacDonald said. “But my guys still did a great job. The car was fast, again, all day and we were just a little bit off tonight. Not bad, but just not as good as yesterday.

“All these other guys got faster and really surprised us on a couple of different ones. It was a hard race out there.”

MacDonald first took during a brief back-and-forth exchange with Laperle and led laps 27, 28, and 30 before he took the lead on lap 32. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series race winner would hold the top spot until lap 47 when Fellows would jump to the inside of MacDonald and snag the lead away.

MacDonald would begin to drop back from Fellows during the lengthy green flag period, but that advantage was erased on the first of four caution flags in a four lap span. MacDonald would take the lead on the third caution flag from Fellows from the outside lane.

“I think (being on the outside) definitely helped,” MacDonald said of the second-to-last restart. “I don’t really know if it was a big difference, but we were definitely fortune enough to have all the breaks happen when they did at the right time.

“It looked like Aaron (Fellows) was going to take right off and leave us – we couldn’t track him down. But it was a great race.”

Helliwell was unable to mount a hard challenge against MacDonald on the final restart of the night and settled for second. The Dover, N.H., driver moved into the top ten after an incident inside the top-five on a lap 26 restart and began to steadily move his way into the top five.

Alex Labbe of St-Albert, Que., had an up-down-up-down-and-up day before his No. 48 Larue Motorsports team settled for a third place finish. Labbe was among the quickest cars all afternoon during the practice sessions, but was forced to change the motor in his car at the conclusion of the final practice. The team rebounded and won the first heat race, but decided to pit early in the 100-lap feature event for a spring change. Labbe methodically worked his way back through the field to finish third.

Nick Sweet finished fourth one night after he rallied from a 26th place starting spot to finish 11th despite dealing with numerous mechanical issues in practice. The Barre, Vt., driver and two-time Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl champion was locked in a near race-long battle with fellow Thunder Road competitor Josh Demers. Demers, of Montpelier, Vt., put forth an impressive performance and claimed the final spot inside the top-five finishers.

Pete Yetman avoided much of the late race festivities inside the top-ten and was rewarded with a sixth place. Two-time Serie ACT champion Donald Theetge, too, avoided the incidents near the end of the race and finished seventh while Stearns rebounded from a penalty for his contact with Fellows to finish eighth. Fellows bounced back from his spin to finish ninth while Quebec driver Brandon White claimed the final spot inside the top-ten.

The race took just over one hour and six minutes to complete and there were eight caution flags in the 100-lap event. Fellows led a race high 40 laps, while MacDonald paced the field for 32 circuits. Laperle led the first 26 laps and tacked on two more during his battle with MacDonald for a total of 28 laps. MacDonald’s margin of victory over Helliwell was 0.512 seconds. Labbe, Helliwell, and Ray Parent won their respective heat races.

The second 100-lap feature event that will make up the American Racer Challenge will take place on Tuesday night. A 20-car invert will be in effect and the driver that posts the lowest cumulative score across Monday and Tuesday night’s race will earn the American Racer Challenge Cup.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – American Racer Challenge 100 (Segment 1)
American-Canadian Tour – New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Monday, February 16, 2015

Pos.-(Start)-Driver-Hometown-Laps Completed

1. (3) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass. – 100
2. (8) Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, N.H. – 100
3. (9) Alex Labbe, St-Albert, Que. -- 100
4. (7) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt. -- 100
5. (6) Josh Demers, Montpelier, Vt. -- 100
6. (13) Pete Yetman, Peru, Mass. – 100
7. (12) Donald Theetge, Boischatel, Que. – 100
8. (20) Travis Stearns, Auburn, Maine – 100
9. (5) Aaron Fellows, Croydon, N.H. – 100
10. (15) Brandon White Kahnawake, Que. – 100
11. (11) Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I. – 100
12. (17) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, Vt. – 100
13. (10) Keith Rocco, Wallingford, Conn. – 100
14. (19) Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, N.Y. – 99
15. (16) Tom Carey Jr., New Salem, Mass. – 99
16. (23) Eddie Leclerc Jr., Taunton, Mass. – 99
17. (1) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Que. – 86
18. (18) Brad Babb, Windham, Maine – 86
19. (26) Jean-Pierre Ouimet, Terrebonne, Que. – 85
20. (14) Jeff Rocco, Wallingford, Conn. – 28
21. (2) Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, N.H. – 28
22. (4) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine – 28
23. (21) Dylan Smith, Randolph, Vt. – 25
24. (22) Daniel Descoste, St-Joseph, Que. – 8
25. (24) Kyle Welch, Newport, N.H. – 0
Did Not Start: Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, Vt.; Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H.

Lap Leaders: Patrick Laperle, 1-26; Eddie MacDonald, 27-28; Laperle, 29; MacDonald, 30; Laperle, 31; MacDonald, 32-47; Aaron Fellows, 48-87; MacDonald, 88-100.