Opening Act: Bobby Therrien wins season-opening American-Canadian Tour 100 at Oxford Plains

Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, Vermont, won the ACT Husqvarna 100 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, Vermont, won the ACT Husqvarna 100 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

OXFORD, Maine — After nearly a three-year drought, Bobby Therrien made it look like he’d been doing this all along.

Therrien, of Hinesburg, Vermont, held off Late Model heavyweights like Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Eddie MacDonald over the final third of the race Sunday afternoon en route to winning the American-Canadian Tour season-opening Husqvarna 100 at Oxford Plains Speedway.

The win was the first for Therrien since winning at White Mountain Motorsports Park in 2013.

“When we started this morning, I wasn’t very happy. I did a lot of complaining,” Therrien said. “My guys, they worked their butts off getting this thing better and better for me all day. Every time we picked up speed, the handling got better.”

Rowland Robinson Jr. of Steuben, Maine, finished a career-best second, while MacDonald finished third. Three-time ACT champion Helliwell finished fourth, and Scott Dragon rounded out the top five.

Therrien started sixth, avoided a lap three mishap in turn one, and was up to third before the race hit the halfway mark. On lap 49 he made the move that ultimately decided the race — driving around Helliwell off turn two to take the lead for good.

“Going into the feature, after the heat races, there was nobody that could run the outside,” Therrien said. “I was really hesitant to go to the outside in the race, and the car stuck just as good out there as it did on the bottom. I was like, ‘Man, if this keeps up, this is going to be a good race.’”

Thankfully for Therrien, it turned out to be not much of a race for the lead.

He had a full straightaway lead with 20 laps remaining, and the only thing to complicate matters were two caution flags inside the final six laps. But Therrien had built up enough of a cushion and had three lapped cars between himself and Robinson on a lap 95 restart.

“I think, honestly, the lapped traffic might have helped me maintain second. Obviously, Eddie was coming,” Robinson said. “I think I could have finished third, no matter what, but it would have been a lot tighter battle if there were no lapped cars. The didn’t give much room, did they?”

MacDonald, who finished eighth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, started 16th in the field and used plenty of tire to be able to race with the leaders.

Asked if he’d pulled the trigger too late in making his march to the front, MacDonald, of Rowley, Massachusetts, said he was just holding on at the checkered flag.

“We used up our tires. That was pretty much all we had at the end,” MacDonald said. “I’m happy with that. Would have loved to get the win, but when we looked at it and planned for this, we would have been happy with a top five.”

The day clearly belonged to Therrien at the front of the field, even as those around him slugged it out for track position amongst lapped cars.

As far as season openers go, it would have been difficult to game plan one any better than what Therrien enjoyed.

“As a way to start things off, this was pretty good,” Therrien said.

Helliwell finished fourth after having the dominant car, especially on restarts, in the first half of the event. He took the lead almost immediately from pole-sitter Brad Babb and led until Robinson grabbed the top spot on lap 30. His bold move in traffic put him back out front on lap 45, and he inched away on a restart until four laps later when Therrien set sail for the outside groove and made it stick.


  1. Andy Boright says

    Sounds like a typical ACT Tour race – start up front and few passes for the lead. PASS on the other hand with less restrictive rules had a bunch more cars and better race.

  2. SeekonkFan says

    Andy, by a “bunch” more cars, you mean 2. Right?
    And by “less restrictive” rules you mean costlier? Right. Two totally different race cars. The ACT car is a lot cheaper to run.

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