PHOTO: Patrick Laperle has competed successfully at New Smyrna Speedway before. Could he have a chance to do so in an ACT Late Model? (Marc Patrick Roy photo)

WATERBURY — The American-Canadian Tour is examining the possibility of having a presence at Florida’s annual “Speedweeks” stock car racing extravaganza in February 2011, Vermont Motorsports Magazine has confirmed.

ACT president Tom Curley recently sent memos and emails to race teams to get an initial feel for whether a mini-series would be supported. Reportedly, Curley has told his teams that the Speedweeks venture is contingent upon a minimum of 24 entries committing to the trip.

While no race tracks have been named and the number of events has not been revealed, it is speculated that Curley has had discussions with promoters at Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Speedway; New Smyrna hosts the annual nine-night World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

While it is not known how many teams have committed to the trip thus far, reviews of the southern swing appear to be mixed; ACT champion Brian Hoar and runner-up Joey Polewarczyk both told VMM that they would support the trip, but top Thunder Road drivers Nick Sweet and Dave Pembroke said it would likely wipe out most of their team’s bank accounts for the season.

Polewarczyk, Milton’s Eric Chase, and former ACT champion Patrick Laperle have competed at New Smyrna’s World Series in recent years in the Crate Late Model class, a division with similarities to both ACT Late Model rules and PASS Super Late Model rules.

St-Denis, Que., driver Laperle said that he liked the idea of racing with ACT in Florida, but the presently unknown factors could discourage competitors from making an expensive haul.

“I think I’d like to go, but we need to know more about it,” Laperle said. “It’s hard to say you’ll go all the way to Florida — for me, with two cars and two trucks if we race [the World Series] at New Smyrna — when you don’t know where the races are or how long they are or how much they pay. Is it one night or two nights or three nights? If it pays only $2,000 to win like the races up here, it doesn’t make sense to spend the [travel] money and it could be bad for a lot of guys. We need to know more before we say we’ll go.”

Pembroke, of Montpelier, echoed Laperle’s thoughts: “I would love to go, but it’s not in the budget,” he said.

Polewarczyk, Hoar, and others including Glen Luce, Wayne Helliwell, and Jimmy Linardy, however, were very enthusiastic about the idea.

“I really haven’t heard [any details]. I think [Curley] wants to do a couple different tracks,” said Polewarczyk, “but we definitely hope it happens.”

“We would like to go,” said Hoar, “so it’s an unofficial yes.”

Luce said at Waterford Speedbowl earlier this month that he attempted to put a sponsorship program together to race at New Smyrna’s World Series last February, but the cost of converting his ACT-legal car to Crate Late Model specs — which would have included a new engine and several suspension changes — was too much. An all-ACT series, however, would likely be something feasible for his Maine-based team.

“I’ve heard rumors that Tom had eleven teams committed to it,” Luce said at Waterford. “I know I’d love to go.”

Vermont Motorsports Magazine will have more on the story as it develops.