NORTH WOODSTOCK, N.H. – John Donahue didn't bother waiting around for the final 10 laps to make his move.
Donahue took the lead well before halfway on Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park, buzzing by hometown favorite Quinny Welch en route to winning the ACT Late Model Tour White Mountain 150. The victory was the first of the season for Donahue, who is trying to cut away at the ACT points lead held by Brian Hoar.
"When we got behind Quinny, we were just trying to knock off laps – but then I said, 'I've got to get in front of him,'" Donahue said. "I kept getting stuck on the outside, and I thought those guys were going to start coming. It was going to pin me on the outside.
"But when I got by Quinny, and I realized I had a good car."
Donahue wasn't challenged as Randy Potter, Wayne Helliwell and Hoar raced for the second through fourth spots to the checkered flag. Jamie Fisher finished fifth.
"We got up to fifth place, and then we were just riding," said Potter, who started 21st in the 31-car field. "I wanted to wait and see what would happen with the leaders, because they were using their stuff up pretty good. I wanted to get close enough that they would, while at the same time not use mine up.
"Then we seized the opportunity at the end, but it was a little too late. We should have maybe lit the fuse a little sooner."
The victory was the first of the season for Donahue, who now has podium finishes in four of the five ACT races this season. The Graniteville, Vt., driver has four career Tour wins.
Donahue started sixth on the grid, and the first 100 laps of the event were slowed by seven caution flags. It allowed the guys at the front to gauge one another.
It was one of the reasons that, with so many restarts, Donahue felt like he had to take advantage of getting to the front as soon as he had the opportunity.
On Lap 64, he pulled under Welch off Turn 4 and soon drove away. He survived four more restarts and challenges from Welch and Hoar – but neither could gain much traction in the outside groove.
"We've had good finishes all year, except for Oxford. It's just good to have somebody that can beat Hoar – so he's not the dominant car ALL the time," Donahue said. "It makes us feel good and it gives us a good head of steam."