American-Canadian Tour Season Gets Crossed Flags At Oxford Plains Sunday


(Press Release from American-Canadian Tour)


The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) makes its 37th visit to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway this Sunday, July 11. The Oxford 150 marks the official halfway point of the 2021 ACT Late Model Tour season as racers pursue the $10,000 championship prize.

The year so far has been one of one of the most unpredictable of the Tour’s 30-year history. ACT is riding a streak of four straight first-time winners in its highest sanctioned series, with Brooks Clark, Tom Carey II, D.J. Shaw, and Jimmy Renfrew Jr. all carrying checkered flags. At the same time, some of the region’s veterans such as Ben Rowe are showing they still have what it takes behind the wheel.

The result is that anything can happen at a given event. This is especially true when they head to Oxford Plains Speedway, a tough-as-nails 3/8-mile oval that has been around since 1950. The three events last year all had different winners. The 36 previous visits have seen 24 different drivers visit Victory Lane. Of those drivers, 12 were carrying an ACT Late Model Tour checkered flag for the first time. That bodes well for racers like Stephen Donahue, Derek Gluchacki, Mike Hopkins, Shawn Swallow, and Erick Sands who want the keep the first-timer streak going.

They’ll have to compete with the mix of ACT newcomers and veterans at the top of the ACT Tour standings. Sophomore competitor Tom Carey III of New Salem, MA leads the points by just two over Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe. Carey won his first ACT race at White Mountain Motorsports Park on June 12 and also has two runner-up finishes. In addition to leading the ACT points, he’s the current point leader at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway.

“I feel like I usually go pretty good (at Oxford),” Carey said. “I finished second the last time I was there, and even before then we had a really good run going one night on Oxford 250 weekend. I got up inside the top-5 and just cruising, and felt like I had a shot at the top-3. Then some lapped cars got together right ahead of me on the frontstretch and I got tagged, which mired us back in the pack the rest of the night.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Carey went on. “It’s going to be interesting with the Hoosiers. I’m hoping that we get some more racing grooves — maybe the Hoosier rubber will go better with the Hoosier rubber on the PASS cars and make a better show for everyone. We’re happy to get back to the Tour after this break, and we’re going to keep working on this progress we’ve been making and stay consistent.”

At his White Mountain win, Carey received coaching from Rick Paya, a six-time ACT champion as a car owner. Add in the team getting more experience at different tracks and learning how to race the longer Tour events compared to weekly show, and you have a recipe for success. Carey noted the team has hit on a good package that gives the car speed everywhere they go, which means minimal changes between events.

Rowe, a nine-time Pro All Stars Series (PASS) champion, is at his current position through consistency. He has finished between third and eighth in every feature, giving Rowe the Tour’s best average. Although that consistency will certainly keep Rowe in the hunt, a win and some laps led would help his cause. As such, he is surely relishing two trips to Oxford Plains, where he won last October. ACT will also be there Saturday, August 28 as part of Oxford 250 weekend.

D.J. Shaw, Donahue, Gluchacki, and Swallow are the other main players after five events. Shaw is fast every time out while Donahue maintains a stead pace. Gluchacki, the defending Rookie of the Year, is on the verge of a breakout. Swallow has rebounded after a slow start to his rookie year and seems to be hitting his stride in time for the year’s biggest events, which include the $10,00-to-win Midsummer Classic 250 on July 31.

Oxford usually draws a strong ACT field, and there will be plenty of storylines on Sunday. Reigning champion Jimmy Hebert is craving a second Oxford victory after winning on Oxford 250 weekend last year. It would go a long way toward salvaging a rough title defense. Reigning PASS National Champion Mike Hopkins has entered in the Port City Racecars “house car”. He’s finished in the top-5 of every ACT-sanctioned event he’s attended this year.

Milton, VT’s Dylan Payea has stated he will return to the ACT wars at Oxford after taking a race off to rebuild from two hard crashes. Oxford is the site of Payea’s two best ACT finishes, giving him reason to be confident. Another big name looking for his first Oxford victory is former ACT Champion Nick Sweet of Barre, VT. Sweet is reportedly debuting a new family-owned car at Sunday’s event.

The ACT Late Model Tour travels to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway this Sunday, July 11 at 4:00pm. The Oxford Plains 150 joins a program that also includes the Honey Badger Bar & Grill 150 for the PASS Super Late Models and 50-lap PASS Modified showdown. Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and $55 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).

For more information about ACT, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, [email protected], or visit www.acttour.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.

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