PHOTO: Dave Farrington, Jr. (#23), makes final adjustments in the technical inspection area at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Farrington, a rookie from Jay, Me., starts third in the second segment of the ACT All-Star Late Model Challenge this evening. (VMM photo)

–by Justin St. Louis

The American-Canadian Tour’s championship debut at New Hampshire has been interesting, as much for what isn’t happening as for what has happened.

Eddie MacDonald and Brian Hoar are up front. John Donahue is not.

Everyone is talking about Patrick Laperle, but there’s been nary a peep about Joey Polewarczyk. Entering the second segment, Polewarczyk lead Laperle by a point. Go figure.

Here’s the starting lineup for the second segment:

1. Justin Holtom
2. Scott Payea
3. Dave Farrington
4. Mike Bruno
5. Scott Luce
6. Aaron Fellows
7. Jamie Aube
8. Jamie Fisher
9. Randy Potter
10. Shawn Martin
11. Nick Sweet
12. Ben Ashline
13. Jacob McGrath
14. John Donahue
15. Pete Yetman
16. Mike Stefanik
17. Jeffrey Labrecque
18. Jean-Francois Dery
19. Ray Parent
20. Mark Lamberton
21. Ricky Rolfe
22. Brad Babb
23. David Michaud
24. Donnie Lashua
25. Patrick Laperle
26. Joey Polewarczyk
27. Brad Leighton
28. Wayne Helliwell
29. Donald Theetge
30. Alex Labbe
31. Karl Allard
32. Austin Theriault
33. Joey Laquerre
34. Tom Carey
35. Brian Hoar
36. Eddie MacDonald
37. Dennis Spencer
38. Glen Luce
39. Mike Kenison
40. Brent Dragon
41. Patrick Hamel
42. Marc-Andre Cliche
43. Rowland Robinson
44. Dany Trepanier


I wonder if the ACT event would have been better off as two separate features, each with their own set of championship points.

Think of it this way: While we Vermonters and Thunder Roadsters and ACT regulars understand and even embrace the two-segment “Monza-style” format — with field inversions, a total combined score, and a winner that may not ever finish first in any race all day — casual fans and late-comers might be a little confused when the checkered flag falls here at about 7:00pm and the first guy across the line doesn’t pull into victory lane.

Say I’m a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour fan who decides to stick around to see the 50-lap Late Model show at the end. Say there’s a great battle for the win between Mike Stefanik — who I’m really cheering for because I’m a Modified fan — and Laperle. Say it comes down to a great nose-to-nose finish at the checkers, and I’m on my feet an Stefanik wins… then Eddie MacDonald pulls into the winner’s circle and starts celebrating.

I’m gonna be scratching my head a little, right?

This is in no way a knock against ACT. I enjoy the math and the strategy and watching the segment leaders come from the back. I can also understand why a lot of others wouldn’t, though, and at a place like New Hampshire, with all eyes watching, there should be no opportunities available for fans to not like what they’re watching.

According to what I’ve heard from some of the higher-ups in this industry who are watching (and hopefully this is the point that sticks with them) the segment and points thing may not be a factor. One very recognizable television personality — someone who came from open-wheel cars and isn’t much of a fender fan — says the three- and four-wide racing from the ACT cars has been the best racing of the weekend.

He’s not alone in thinking that, either.