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FIRST TIME: Brian Hoar Wins ACT Late Model Tour Season Opener At Lee USA Speedway

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Photo: Travis Barrett, GWC

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but Brian Hoar seems to keep picking up plenty.

If it's been done on the ACT Late Model Tour, it seems as though Brian Hoar has done it. He's won more races in Tour history than any driver. He's finished in the Top-5 more times. He even stepped away from the series for the better part of a decade to run the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for a while – going out and setting a New Hampshire Motor Speedway track record in the process. Then he returned to full-time ACT competition and promptly won the last two ACT championships to give him seven for his career.

But one thing he hadn't done was figure out Lee USA Speedway.

Until Sunday afternoon, that is.
Hoar earned his first career victory at Lee and became the 10th different winner in as many ACT races at the track, leading the final 34 laps en route to winning the season-opening NH Governor's Cup 150. Hoar held off a vicious late surge from Brad Babb over the final few circuits, but when the dust had settled it was Hoar standing in Victory Lane with the trophy and the 29th victory of his career.

"I've got to thank that whole RPM Motorsports race team," said Hoar, in search of an unprecedented eighth series title this year. "The car was awesome. It really was. It was on rails all day.

"Obviously, it's big to win the (season) opener. I'm pumped."

Hoar, though, almost didn't win. Babb started shotgun on the 30-car field and continued marching forward – first cracking the Top-20, then the Top-15 and on to the Top-10. Mouths started going agape from those in attendance when he was eighth, then fifth – and finally on Hoar's back bumper with just five laps remaining.

But Babb simply ran out of time.

"Once we got a long run there, this thing was going. It kept going and going the harder I drove it," Babb said. "To finish second to Brian and know that I was probably as good as him is pretty cool... It's a good start to the year."

Scott Dragon led from the pole until Hoar grabbed the lead from him, nipping him under the flagstand on Lap 117. Until Hoar went away and played rabbit to Babb's greyhound, though, the day shaped up as a three-car battle between Dragon, local standout Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Hoar.

The cars of both Dragon and Helliwell, though, faded at the finish leaving Hoar in Victory Lane. He charged from 18th to fifth after just 32 laps, then set a course that kept him within a straightaway's view of the leaders until he started inching closer to the lead just past the 100-lap mark.

The race's final restart allowed Hoar – lined up third – to inch under Helliwell in Turn 3 on Lap 116 and then cruise past Dragon one lap later toward the win.

"I knew this was one of those long races, and watching (Babb) just proves it. I mean, where did he come from?" Hoar said. "We made some adjustments before the race. It was very cold yesterday (during practice), and it was a lot different today with the sun out."

John Donahue finished third, with Fulton Mountain coming home fourth. Helliwell was fifth.

"The car just got really, really loose. Apparently I didn't save my stuff enough," said Helliwell, a 9-time feature winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition at Lee last season. "Both rear tires are worn right off the back of the car. All in all, the car came home in one piece. We went forward during the race, so I'm happy with the day."

NOTES: One of the pre-race favorites and a past winner in this event, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., was involved in a multi-car wreck in Turn 3 on Lap 46 and did not return. He finished 26th... Dragon and Helliwell survived a scare on Lap 102 while racing for the lead. The lapped car of Pat Floyd was sideways off of Turn 2 – with Dragon shooting low and Helliwell trying to go high. Helliwell had to slam on the brakes, smoking his tires on the backstretch,

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but Brian Hoar seems to keep picking up plenty.

If it's been done on the ACT Late Model Tour, it seems as though Brian Hoar has done it. He's won more races in Tour history than any driver. He's finished in the Top-5 more times. He even stepped away from the series for the better part of a decade to run the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for a while – going out and setting a New Hampshire Motor Speedway track record in the process. Then he returned to full-time ACT competition and promptly won the last two ACT championships to give him seven for his career.

But one thing he hadn't done was figure out Lee USA Speedway.

Until Sunday afternoon, that is.
Hoar earned his first career victory at Lee and became the 10th different winner in as many ACT races at the track, leading the final 34 laps en route to winning the season-opening NH Governor's Cup 150. Hoar held off a vicious late surge from Brad Babb over the final few circuits, but when the dust had settled it was Hoar standing in Victory Lane with the trophy and the 29th victory of his career.

"I've got to thank that whole RPM Motorsports race team," said Hoar, in search of an unprecedented eighth series title this year. "The car was awesome. It really was. It was on rails all day.

"Obviously, it's big to win the (season) opener. I'm pumped."

Hoar, though, almost didn't win. Babb started shotgun on the 30-car field and continued marching forward – first cracking the Top-20, then the Top-15 and on to the Top-10. Mouths started going agape from those in attendance when he was eighth, then fifth – and finally on Hoar's back bumper with just five laps remaining.

But Babb simply ran out of time.

"Once we got a long run there, this thing was going. It kept going and going the harder I drove it," Babb said. "To finish second to Brian and know that I was probably as good as him is pretty cool... It's a good start to the year."

Scott Dragon led from the pole until Hoar grabbed the lead from him, nipping him under the flagstand on Lap 117. Until Hoar went away and played rabbit to Babb's greyhound, though, the day shaped up as a three-car battle between Dragon, local standout Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Hoar.

The cars of both Dragon and Helliwell, though, faded at the finish leaving Hoar in Victory Lane. He charged from 18th to fifth after just 32 laps, then set a course that kept him within a straightaway's view of the leaders until he started inching closer to the lead just past the 100-lap mark.

The race's final restart allowed Hoar – lined up third – to inch under Helliwell in Turn 3 on Lap 116 and then cruise past Dragon one lap later toward the win.

"I knew this was one of those long races, and watching (Babb) just proves it. I mean, where did he come from?" Hoar said. "We made some adjustments before the race. It was very cold yesterday (during practice), and it was a lot different today with the sun out."

John Donahue finished third, with Fulton Mountain coming home fourth. Helliwell was fifth.

"The car just got really, really loose. Apparently I didn't save my stuff enough," said Helliwell, a 9-time feature winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition at Lee last season. "Both rear tires are worn right off the back of the car. All in all, the car came home in one piece. We went forward during the race, so I'm happy with the day."

NOTES: One of the pre-race favorites and a past winner in this event, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., was involved in a multi-car wreck in Turn 3 on Lap 46 and did not return. He finished 26th... Dragon and Helliwell survived a scare on Lap 102 while racing for the lead. The lapped car of Pat Floyd was sideways off of Turn 2 – with Dragon shooting low and Helliwell trying to go high. Helliwell had to slam on the brakes, smoking his tires on the backstretch, before nearly stopping and just avoiding the concrete wall... A total of 55 cars entered the race, with 30 making the starting field.

-TB

before nearly stopping and just avoiding the concrete wall... A total of 55 cars entered the race, with 30 making the starting field.

 

-TB