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The Juice

The Juice: Albany-Saratoga Make-Up Is A Scheduling Nightmare For ACT

- Justin St. Louis on 10 Jun 2010

Could ACT move its Albany-Saratoga date to Devil's Bowl? (Photo by Leif Tillotson)-by Justin St. Louis
VMM Editor

It's a wild four-track weekend ahead for the MotorMag: Friday, it's off to Lee USA Speedway for the American-Canadian Tour's New Hampshire Governor's Cup 150. We've been asked to handle the announcing duties at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., for Saturday night's $500-to-win, 50-lap Bond Auto Street Stock Triple Crown event, and it will be a pleasure to do so. Sunday, we'll put in our absolute best effort to catch the features at both Thunder Road in Barre and Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven.

All of this in a 1992 Subaru with a tick under 190,000 miles on the odometer and many more ticks coming from the valve train. Wish us luck.


One of the reasons that Albany-Saratoga Speedway was paved was to help avoid weather-related cancellations, right? And now there's a chance that the rained-out ACT race there may not be made up this season? Ironic.

Albany-Saratoga promoter Bruce Richards and ACT President Tom Curley -- who announced the event in August of last year, a full nine months before the race -- both said that efforts have been underway since the April 25 rainout to find a suitable date to make the race up, although Richards added he's "not sure if we'll be able to find" a date. When discussions are essentially at "we don't know" six weeks after the original rainout date, that's not a great sign that the race will be made up at all.

For the size of its touring and officiating staff -- maybe a dozen people at best -- ACT's schedule is unfathomably packed with events from now through October 10. Consider this: The U.S.-based ACT Late Model Tour has 11 events remaining including Friday's race at Lee, which, of course, is a make-up date from another April rainout; the Quebec-based Serie ACT-Castrol Edge has another eight stand-alone events; ACT will oversee 14 regular events at Thunder Road in Barre; and squeezed in there somewhere are two more stand-alone Tiger Tour events, the Oxford 250, the all-star Showdown at Chaudiere, the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the Milk Bowl.

And it gets worse: During that logisitcal chaos, ACT will split its already-small staff between two tracks on the same date, beginning this Friday when the Late Model Tour is at Lee and the Castrol Series is at Chaudiere, then again on June 19 (Tour at Oxford/Castrol at Ste-Croix), July 10 (Tour at Airborne/Castrol at St-Felicien), August 21 (Tour at Waterford/Tiger Tour at Canaan), and October 9 (Tour at Waterford/Tiger Tour at Riverside).

With every Thursday full at Thunder Road and essentially every weekend day full through mid-autumn, when could the Albany-Saratoga race be made up?

We have some solutions. They may not be simple, but they are, perhaps, solutions.

Plan A: Albany-Saratoga's weekly events are on Fridays, so run the race on Friday, July 9, the day before the Airborne Speedway/Autodrome St-Felicien split. St-Felicien is located on Lac St-Jean in northern Quebec -- roughly nine hours each way from ACT headquarters -- and requires a full day of travel both to and from the area, meaning the Albany-Saratoga event would have a short count on officials.

But if the staff was to be split for Saturday's Airborne race anyway, what difference does it make? Albany-Saratoga Speedway is in the town of Malta, New York. On the I-87 Northway, that's less than two hours south of Plattsburgh and Airborne Speedway. Save the teams from Maine and New Hampshire an extra trip west and do it all in one two-day shot.

Plan B: Run the race on Friday, August 6. While the ACT Late Model Tour has no race scheduled that weekend, this, too, creates a travel nightmare: In this hypothesis, the ACT staff would run a regular weekly event at Thunder Road on Thursday, the Albany-Saratoga make-up on Friday, a Castrol event at Chaudiere on Saturday, and the annual Thunder Road Enduro on Sunday. Stressful? Yes. Do-able? Well, hypothetically, yes.

Plan C: Move the race to Devil's Bowl. Granted, this opens up an entirely different can of worms, as Jerry Richards has taken command of the West Haven track from brother Bruce this year, and licensing, promotion, contracts, etc., would need to be completely re-tooled, but Devil's Bowl and Albany-Saratoga are both run under the Champlain Valley Racing Association umbrella by the Richards family, and the 100-lap Late Model special that Devil's Bowl threw off last month was a competitive and well-received event.

Plan D, of course, is to cancel the whole thing altogether, which doesn't do anyone any good.

We're hoping that a date can be found for the ACT Late Model Tour to race at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2010. Too much work went into the track and the event for it to not happen. But if it doesn't, oh well. There's always next year, right?


Asphalt fans, pay attention: If you want to see some excitement, do yourself a favor and go get dirty at Bear Ridge Speedway just once this year. Car counts are way up in the top-two divisions, and the talent level is outstanding. If you're used to the parity of the ACT-type Late Models at Thunder Road or White Mountain or where ever, you'll find the same close racing in the Sportsman Modifieds and Sportsman Coupes at Bear Ridge.

And we're even saying this a year after the previous star of the show, Chris Donnelly, has taken off to go race Sprint Cars.

Thunder Road fans might remember a youngster named Adam Pierson winning some Tiger Sportsman trophies a few years back. Since those days, Pierson has extended his family's legacy on dirt and has won himself a total of five track championships. Two weeks ago, he passed Brian Whittemore on the final lap to win the Modified feature and now holds the point lead. The kid is good.

Another ex-Tiger driver, Danny Eastman, is coming off an 11-win championship season in the Limited Late Models and is tearing up the Modified scene at both Bear Ridge and Canaan as a rookie. Add in three-time defending Bear Ridge champ Gary Siemons, veterans Whittemore and Jack Cook, and young guns Mike Dunn, Jason Gray, Travis Shinn, and the barnstorming Ryan Avery, and it's as good a headline division as any in the northeast.

The Coupes alone are worth the price of admission, if not for their way-too-cool retro look, then certainly for their side-by-side action. Sophomores Jason Horniak and Chris Carbee and rookie Shane Race are giving veterans Gene and Melvin Pierson, Josh Harrington, and Steve Ellsworth all they can handle. Veteran Bryan King is a two-division star with podium finishes in both his Modified and Coupe this season.

Go see the place. This Saturday the Modifieds hold their annual three-segment "Madness" event with added distance and purses, scored Milk Bowl-style. Racing begins at 6:00pm, and the pizza is cheap and tasty.



Time to take a look at the top Vermonters from the past weekend...

ACT Bond Auto/WIX Tiger Tour: Tom Therrien of Hinesburg won Saturday's race at White Mountain Motorsports Park. Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown was second with Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg third, Dave Pembroke of Middlesex fourth, and Jason Bonnett of St. Albans fifth.

Airborne Speedway (Plattsburgh, N.Y.): Saturday's races were rained out.

Albany-Saratoga Speedway (Malta, N.Y.): Mike Bruno of Bomoseen was sixth in the Modified feature on Friday night with Brandon's Don Scarborough tenth. Middlebury's Hunter Bates was eighth in the Sportsman race, and Fred Little of Salisbury was seventh in the Pro Stocks.

Bear Ridge Speedway (Bradford): Mike Dunn of North Haverhill, N.H., won his first Sportsman Modified race on Saturday over Jason Gray of East Thetford and rookie Dan Eastman of Thetford Center. East Corinth driver Gene Pierson, Jr., won the Sportsman Coupe feature over Bradford's Jason Horniak and Bryan King of Corinth. Will Hull of East Montpelier won the Limited Late Model feature over Newbury's Jeremy Hodge and Tyler Stygles of Bradford. Josh Sunn of White River Junction made it four-straight Fast Four victories, beating Kevin Harran of St. Johnsbury and Andy Johnson of Wilder. Bobby Bell of St. Johnsbury won the Hornet race over Mark Nichols of Piermont, N.H., and Wilder's David West, Jr.

Big Daddy's Speedway (Rumney, N.H.): Sunday's races were rained out.

Canaan Dirt Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Orwell's Lacey Hanson finished ninth in the SCoNE 360 Sprint Car race on Friday night. Rookie Dan Eastman of Thetford Center was the Sportsman Modifed runner-up, and Will Hull of East Montpelier won the Street Stock feature. Josh Sunn of White River Junction won the Mini Stock feature, with Mike Stender of South Strafford and Baxter Doty of Tunbridge fourth and fifth in the Bandit feature.

Canaan Fair Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Saturday's races were rained out.

Devil's Bowl Speedway (West Haven): Sunday's races were rained out.

Monadnock Speedway (Winchester, N.H.): Saturday's races were rained out.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: David Stremme finished 24th at Pocono Raceway on Sunday for Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports.

PASS South Super Late Models: Steven Legendre of Danville finished ninth in Friday's event at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. Andy Loden of Stanley, N.C., was the winner.

Riverside Speedway (Groveton, N.H.): Brett Gervais of Island Pond finished fifth in the Late Model feature on Saturday with Lyndonville's Paul Schartner sixth, Shawn Cook of Hyde Park eighth, and Dilyn Switser of West Burke tenth. Joanna Christman of Cabot was fifth in the Super Stock race, Waterford's Lorin Vear won the Cyclones, and Lyndsay Christman of Cabot won the Angels. Brent Ming of West Burke won the Daredevil Veteran race and Tyler Austin of East Calais won the Daredevil Rookie race.

Sprint Cars of New England: Lacey Hanson of Orwell finished ninth at Canaan Dirt Speedway on Friday night. Tunk Berry of Center Ossipee, N.H., was the winner.

Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.): Rutland's Dallas Trombley finished fifth in the Late Model feature on Friday night. Chris Wilk of Mendon was the Super Street winner with Ascutney drivers Richard Lamotte third and Colby Hodgdon fifth. David Greenslit of Waitsfield was the Strictly Stock runner-up with Michael Burke of Bellows Falls third. Jeremiah Losee of North Springfield won the Wildcat feature over Rob Leitch of Cavendish, and East Montpelier's Jeff Laquerre, Jr., won the Sportsman race.

White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, N.H.): Hinesburg's Tom Therrien won the ACT Tiger Tour feature on Saturday night over Williamstown's Jimmy Hebert and brother Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg. Stacy Cahoon of St. Johnsbury was the Late Model runner-up on Saturday with son Tyler Cahoon third and Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier ninth. Stevie Parker of Lyndonville won the Strictly Stock feature, and Ernie Snider of Orange was fifth in the Strictly Stock Mini race. Graniteville's Chip Grenier won the Super Sportsman feature over Derrick O'Donnell of Bradford and North Wolcott's Brendan Moodie.



Friday, June 11

Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 6:45pm (Regular Event)
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 7:00pm (Twin State Modified Series, Granite State Mini Sprints)
Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 7:30pm (NEMA Midgets)

Saturday, June 12
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford -- 6:00pm (Modified Madness)
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Clash of the Titans 150 qualifier)
Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Riverside Speedway, Groveton, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Street Stock Triple Crown)
White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 5:00 (Northeast Mini Stock Tour)

Sunday, June 13
Big Daddy's Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. -- 4:00pm (Regular Event)
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 4:00pm (Regular Event/Kids Rides @ 1:30pm)


ACT Late Model Tour: Fri., June 11 -- Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H. (7:15pm)
Granite State Mini Sprints: Fri., June 11 -- Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (7:00pm)
Gravco Janitorial/Jasper Engines Twin State Modified Series: Fri., June 11 -- Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (7:00pm)
Modified Racing Series: Sat., June 12 -- Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass. (6:00pm)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Sat., June 12 -- Michigan Int'l Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. (SPEED/1:30pm)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sat., June 12 -- Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Ky. (ESPN/7:30pm)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sun., June 13 -- Michigan Int'l Speedway, Brooklyn, Mich. (TNT/1:30pm)
NEMA Midgets: Fri., June 11 -- Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. (7:30pm)
Northeast Mini Stock Tour: Sat., June 12 -- White Mountain Motorsports Park, No. Woodstock, N.H. (5:00pm)
Pro All Stars Series: Sat., June 12 -- Speedway 660, Fredericton, N.B. (7:00pm)
Serie ACT-Castrol Edge: Fri., June 11 -- Autodrome Chaudiere, Vallee-Jct., Que. (6:00pm)

(Photo by Leif Tillotson)


"I don’t care what kind of car it is. If it’s got four tires and steering wheel, I’ll drive it." --Nick Sweet

"I want a championship next year, that’s what I want. I’m gonna get it next year. If I run the full season, I’m gonna get it." --Modified Racing Series driver Steve Masse

"I’ve never had a season where we’ve had this number of podium finishes. Never. And I dare say nobody else has, either." --ACT champion Brian Hoar

"It’s crazy to think that however many years ago I was sitting in the stands up here watching my dad trying to make the race and now we’re in victory lane." --Milk Bowl winner Joey Polewarczyk

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