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

We’re stat nerds here at VtMotorMag.com and on the eve of the ninth ACT Invitational, we thought let’s take a statistical look at the richest American-Canadian Tour race of the season.

The obvious is five: five wins for Eddie MacDonald in the ACT Invitational, including going back-to-back the past two years.

The second one is three: three race winners that are not named Eddie MacDonald. The wins belong to Joey Polewarczyk Jr. (2010), Ray Parent (2012), and Wayne Helliwell Jr. (2014).

Jimmy Hebert leads the way in laps led with 74; he led a race high 44 laps one year ago. MacDonald is second with 62 laps, followed by Helliwell with 33, Parent with 30, and Ontario driver Dan McHattie with 28. In total, 21 drivers have lead at least one lap in the ACT Invitational.

Parent led the most laps in his race win with 30 laps while MacDonald led the fewest laps of any race leader one year ago with five laps. Polewarczyk led the second fewest with seven laps led while Helliwell led the second most with 29.

Helliwell’s win was the longest ACT Invitational on record at one hour, eight minutes, and 28 seconds, which was cut short by six laps due to darkness. MacDonald’s 2009 win was the shortest at 38 minutes and 32 seconds.

Nineteen different drivers has posted a top-five place finish while 34 drivers have posted at least one finish inside the top-ten. MacDonald lead’s with seven top-five place finish Polewarczyk hold the lead with eight top-ten place finishes.

The first two ACT Invitationals in 2009 and 2010 hold the record for fewest caution flags with two each while the 2014 and 2016 editions of the race hold the record for the most with six each.

The 2013 ACT Invitational holds the record for most lead changes at eight, while 2011 and 2012 both saw seven lead changes. The fewest number of lead changes goes to 2014, where the lead was only swapped three times.

Helliwell’s 2014 win netted him a record $9,100 in race winnings for the single highest payday. MacDonald’s wins in 2013, 2016, and 2015 hold the next three spots at over $8,000 each, while Parent’s 2012 win was the fifth largest payday in race history at $6,460.

MacDonald leads the way in total money won in the ACT Invitational at $39,135. Helliwell is second at $26,275. Patrick Laperle lead the way for non-race winners at $25,575 while Polewarczyk is fourth at $23,925. Brian Hoar is fifth at $21,025.

The best finish for a pole sitter is eighth for Travis Stearns in 2014. Bruce Thomas has the second best finish of ninth in 2009.

Eddie MacDonald has earned the “hard charger” by passing the most cars five times, the most coming one year ago after he improved 30 positions en route to his race win. His win one year ago was the furthest back any race winner has started.

Phil Scott, the 2011 polesitter, finished 38th to earn the most positions lost with 37.

What does it mean? I think it means we’re in for an exciting ninth (and final) ACT Invitational.

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Through the continual outpouring this week, one thing is clear: Ted Christopher had a profound impact on nearly everyone involved in racing.

Christopher was killed on Saturday, September 16 in a plane crash in in North Branford, Conn. as he was on his way to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Riverhead Raceway. He was 59.

I didn’t know Christopher. I never interviewed him outside of a group setting and it would just not be right to write a long eulogy about him.

Our friend Shawn Courchesne over at RaceDayCT.com has done a masterful job this week memorializing Christopher and reflecting on his legendary career. Go check out his writings detailing the life and racing career of the legend, Ted Christopher.

But I do know one thing — he made every race he was in better. And everyone knew who Ted Christopher was.

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As I’m writing this, the announcement just happened of the new Triple Header Weekend for September.

In three words: Too Frigging Cool.

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A big thanks to NAPA Auto Parts of Lyndonville and the KJL Parts Group for partnering with us this weekend and next weekend and supporting our racing coverage.

Be sure to check James and the gang out at 8 Deans Lane in Lyndonville or online at KJLPartsGroup.com.

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Bear Ridge will close its 50th season of racing this weekend and have had a pretty success one at that.

Thirteen different drivers has visited victory lane in both the Sportsman Modifieds and Sportsman Coupes.

Saturday’s wrapup will see a 100-lap Sportsman Modified race, a tentative 50-lap Sportsman Coupe race, and championship events for the Sprint Cars of New England and USAC Dirt Midget Association.

The Sprint Cars have one heck of a battle going with three drivers entering within 13 points of each other, including the top two separated by just one point.

We’re going to try our damndest to make it to Bear Ridge after the checkered flag flies on Saturday evening at New Hampshire to cover the events at Bear Ridge.

(Eric LaFleche photo)