Warmer conditions than what the teams will face next month made for an interesting test session on Tuesday for drivers in the American-Canadian Tour at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. More than 35 teams from across New England, New York and southern Canada laid down laps on the 1.058-mile oval in preparation for the Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 20.
The sixth annual Invitational, which comes one day before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the Magic Mile for the SYLVANIA 300, will be the last race on a very busy Saturday schedule that also includes the Whelen Modified Tour's F.W. Webb 100 and the return of the Camping World Truck Series in the form of the UNOH 175.
Defending Bond Auto Parts Invitational champion Eddie MacDonald was among those in Tuesday's test field. The native of Rowley, Mass., was testing a new car in favor of the one that has pulled into Sunoco Victory Lane in two of the last three ACT races at NHMS.
"We struggled a little bit (in testing) today. We had some motor issues all morning and now we're trying to figure out how to get some speed," said MacDonald, a three-time ACT Invitational champion that also made his Sprint Cup Series debut at New Hampshire on July 13. "The other car has been so good to me, but we just wanted to take this car and see if we could get it going. It's just taken a little while to figure it out, but hopefully we figure it out by the end of the day and when we come back in September."
MacDonald wasn't the only one struggling at the Magic Mile on Tuesday. Sixteen-year-old Taylor Martin (Windham, N.H.), who runs a full-time schedule in the Legend Cars' Sign Works Oval and Moat Mountain Road Course series, said that the team has struggled all morning with issue after issue.
"We were spewing oil all over the track and had to come in. Second, we had a shock seize up on us. It's been one thing after another - a domino effect," said Martin. "This is what happens when you don't race the car for months. It's all part of it."
While MacDonald and Martin struggled to get the car right, 2010 ACT Invitational champion Joey Polewarczyk (Hudson, N.H.) was happy with his testing session. The team was trying out a new tire, so adapting to its quirks was the key to Tuesday.
"Today is all about learning. We're on a new tire here than we've ever been on, so it's a matter of getting the car comfortable with it," said Polewarczyk, who also noted how much he likes the format of the Invitational, especially the ability to go three- and four-wide.
"The way they handicap this … it's for the fans and they keep this sport going," he said. "Making the faster cars start toward the back, it's definitely exciting. This is such a wide, big track compared to what we normally run on. You can jump out of the draft and make some passes. It's really exciting and hopefully the fans enjoy it, too."
Tickets for the action-packed SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekend can be purchased by stopping by our Ticket Office, visiting the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or calling our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.