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FAST EDDIE: Eddie MacDonald, Joey Laquerre To Lead ACT All-Star Challenge To Green Flag

Friday, August 12, 2011
Photo: Getty Images/NASCAR

If qualifying was any indication, some of the ACT Late Model Tour's best are dispelling the myth that you can't pass on this race track.

Four-time New Hampshire Motor Speedway race winner Eddie MacDonald was the most impressive of all qualifiers on Friday afternoon, going from 14th to first to win the second of three 20-lap heat races for the ACT All-Star Challenge.

With his "plus-13" handicap, MacDonald, of Rowley, Mass., will start on the pole for the two-segment, 75-lap event on Saturday.

"It's so much fun in these cars," said MacDonald, a full-time fixture on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. "The cars are so much lighter and wider (than K&N cars), and you can really drive them deep into the corners. They don't roll as well as the K&N cars – it almost drives similar to a Modified, because you can drive them so deep and get back on the throttle so soon."

MacDonald won the first-ever ACT race held at New Hampshire, claiming victory in 2009's 50-lap ACT Invitational. It came as part of a weekend in which he also won a day earlier in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, one of his three career New Hampshire wins in that series.

"The experience really helps out for race conditions. Everyone that has experience here runs a heavier car, so when you get to the lighter car you can really drive it so much harder," MacDonald said. "You're not so worried about getting up into the third groove and really driving off the corner, as opposed to a lot of guys here for the first time that are a little timid.

"We really have the advantage being able to run a lot of laps here."

Seven-time ACT champion Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., won the first heat race of the day. Aaron Fellows of Croydon, N.H., won the third and final event.

John Donahue and Patrick Laperle also won last-chance qualifiers, which were also 20 laps in distance.

Aside from MacDonald's efforts, Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier, Vt., finished sixth in the opening qualifying event after starting 17 in the 19-car field. His "plus-11" handicap gave him the outside pole for Saturday.

Wayne Helliwell Jr, Austin Theriault and Donald Theetge will round out the Top-5 on the starting grid.

"The car was good, and we got a lot of good breaks," the 68-year-old Laquerre said. "We got some breaks, and I made some breaks, but I was lucky to make the passes I did."

A 44-car field is set for Saturday.

– TB