Late Model stock car drivers will get their first superspeedway experience next year as New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the inaugural American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SYLVANIA 300 weekend on September 17-20, 2009.
The Invitational will have a purse of more than $65,000 for invited and approved teams that attend the historic, groundbreaking event for Late Model stock car racing.
"New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been looking for a way to support the short track industry throughout the Northeast and Québec/Ontario markets," said New Hampshire Motor Speedway Vice President and General Manager Jerry Gappens. "The Invitational is a great addition to our NASCAR weekend that already includes the Sprint Cup Series, the Camping World Truck Series, the Camping World Series East, and the Whelen Modified Tour."
"New Hampshire Motor Speedway is giving short track fans and teams throughout the Northeast and Canada a wonderful opportunity," said ACT President Tom Curley.
The ACT Invitational race will be a 50-lap all-star event with 36 starters. Each 2009 race winner up to the running of the Invitational on the U.S.-based ACT Late Model Tour and the Québec/Ontario-based Série ACT-Castrol will be awarded a guaranteed starting spot and a $500 bonus for each win contingent upon participation at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway event.
Three non-championship events will also be Invitational qualifying races with a $500 New Hampshire Motor Speedway bonus: the CARQUEST Vermont Governor's Cup 100 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vt.; the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine; and the Coors Light 200 "Showdown at Chaudière" all-star race at Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jonction, Quebec on Saturday, August 29.
Other invitees will be 2009 champions and/or point leaders as of September 17, 2009 on the ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT-Castrol, as well as at the following ACT-affiliated short tracks: Thunder Road International Speedbowl, Oxford Plains Speedway, Lee USA (Lee, N.H.) Speedway, Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.), White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, N.H.), Seekonk Speedway (Seekonk, Mass.), Waterford Speedbowl (Waterford, Conn.), Capital City Speedway (Ottawa, Ont.), and Kawartha Speedway (Peterborough, Ont.). Provisional starting spots will be awarded to fill the field to 36 cars, if needed.
"Short track racing is grass roots racing and is the engine that drives the entire stock car industry," said Curley. "Jerry Gappens and his New Hampshire Motor Speedway team are to be commended during these challenging times with their proactive, innovative ideas to be inclusive of the region's short tracks. Obviously, the American-Canadian Tour teams and fans, along with their affiliate Late Model tracks, are very excited and appreciative about this opportunity."
"This is great news for Late Model racing as a whole," said ACT Late Model Tour veteran Brent Dragon of Milton, Vt. "Racing at Loudon is something I think all drivers in this region want to do, and now we've all got even more motivation to win races. Being at New Hampshire Motor Speedway brings this group to a whole new level."
"I'm very proud of the fact that ACT is going to New Hampshire," said Donald Theetge of Québec City, the 2006 Série ACT-Castrol champion. "It will be great for our drivers, our fans, and it would be a great thing to win a race in front of the Sprint Cup teams. I know I'm going to try everything I can to get in that race and win it."
Promotions will be held in all major markets of the region, including the Canadian metro areas of Montréal, Ottawa, Québec City, and eastern Toronto, and U.S. metro areas including Providence; Portland; Boston; Hartford; Burlington, Vt.; Manchester, N.H.; Plattsburgh, N.Y.; and more, to make attending this event affordable, and so that the fans will get more action and value for their ticket money.
"It is our intention to give the best short track teams in the region a chance to compete at the premier superspeedway in the northeast," said Gappens. "We are very excited to have the ACT race fans join us for this incredible weekend of racing."
The Série ACT-Castrol 2009 schedule was released at the annual Banquet of Champions in Drummondville, Que. on Saturday, November 15. The 2009 ACT Late Model Tour schedule will be released in the coming days.
For more information on the ACT, please call (802) 244-6963 or visit them online at www.acttour.com.
For more information on New Hampshire Motor Speedway, please call the Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit us online at www.nhms.com.