PHOTO: The ACT Late Model Tour did an outstanding job at New Hampshire and should be proud. (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)
-by Justin St. Louis
The American-Canadian Tour should be proud of itself for the weekend performance it put on at New Hampshire Motor Speedway — the drivers, the teams, the officials, the whole group.
ACT brought in as many cars as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the IZOD IndyCar Series combined and put on as good a show as you’ll see. Three-wide and four-wide racing with a bunch of local short track drivers and short track cars that aren’t used to going 135mph on a mile-long track, with only one multi-car crash over a total of 175 laps in two days?
Not bad at all.
Brian Hoar’s win at NHMS was — in his eyes — the crown jewel of his career. He has nothing left to prove except maybe an Oxford 250 win. Seven Tour championships (soon to be eight), a few track titles, a couple of Milk Bowls, wins at almost every track ACT visits, and now a win at New Hampshire.
People marveled over Bobby Dragon and Robbie Crouch and Dave Dion thirty or forty years ago and how many races they won. Brian Hoar, folks, is this generation’s Bobby Dragon, Robbie Crouch, or Dave Dion.
My generation and the one that follows are going eventually going to look back 15 or 20 years down the road, and ‘the good old days’ will have been when Hoar — and likely Jean-Paul Cyr — were winning everything from 1993 to now. The thing is, though, that Hoar’s victories and championships will stand out more because he has a flashier driving style, that giant stacker trailer, and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
There’s not a thing wrong with the way Cyr does it — quiet, reserved, smooth on the track, modest truck and trailer in the pits — but Hoar is just everywhere all the time.
When the time comes for Brian Hoar and Jean-Paul Cyr to be on the ballot for the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 20 or 25 years, there’s no question that they’ll both get in. But my guess is that Hoar will be a year or two ahead of Cyr, not necessarily for what he’s accomplished, but for how he’s done it.
So yeah, um, somebody decided it would be a good idea for me to climb back into a race car. Not some Enduro relic, either, a real race car.
I’ll be embarrassing myself and probably a few other folks at Bear Ridge on Saturday behind the wheel of one of Skip Matczak’s USAC Dirt Midget Association cars, hoping there’s no crash clause that I’ll have to sign.
My teammates are “Flat Foot” Joe Krawiec — last year the Whip City Speedway champion and likely the Bear Ridge champion this summer — and the great Denny Zimmerman, who was one of the original “Eastern Bandits” of the 1960s Modified scene and was an Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
Matczak’s roster of former drivers includes Tony Stewart, Richie Evans, and Bentley Warren. Both Skip and Denny are in the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
No pressure at all, right?
The last time I was in a race car in a competitive situation was in July 2004, when this happened:
This should be fun. Matczak must be absolutely off his rocker.
Good for Brooks Clark.
There are two tracks in the area that I’m worried about, and VMM is going to try to support both of them on Sunday: Devil’s Bowl Speedway and Riverside Speedway.
The Bowl, here at home, has obviously seen better years. With any luck, the weather will be nice for the final three events of the year and some of the drivers that have stayed away lately will come back to close out the year.
The track and facility themselves are in fantastic condition, and I truly believe that the layout at Devil’s Bowl is one of the best asphalt surfaces I’ve seen in a while — high speed straights and racy, multi-groove corners.
There’s a 100-lap Modified race on September 4 to close out the season. Don’t miss it.
Riverside, over in Groveton, N.H., has yet to bounce back from the spring flood damage it sustained, and promoters Jean and Jane LeBlanc deserve a fair shot.
The LeBlanc family took over Riverside a couple years ago with the intention of it being a track run by racers for racers, and that’s really what it is. The high banks and tight corners make Riverside an exciting place with lots of action, and there are some talented kids (like at Devil’s Bowl) that get around the place pretty good.
Sunday’s third annual Clash of the Titans 150 is a big deal. My greatest hope for the LeBlancs and the fans of Riverside is that a few ACT teams stop over at ol’ Grovetona on the way back from Oxford Plains Speedway after Saturday’s race and take a shot a $5,000 winner’s purse. Plus, the Thunder Road Street Stocks have a point-counting race there, too.
I went to the first two Clash races and enjoyed myself each time, and of course I like going to Devil’s Bowl. VMM will have coverage from Riverside with T.J. Ingerson, and I’ll be at Devil’s Bowl, too.
We’re also at Twin State Speedway tonight for the first-ever Granite State Pro Stock Series event. Saturday, the Cadyville Comet is across the pond at Airborne Speedway, I’m doing my thing at Bear Ridge, and T.J. is at Oxford.
Results and schedules will return next week, I promise. In the mean time we’ll see you at the races.