A warm, but blissfully comfortable day allowed for nearly flawless conditions for Wednesday's American-Canadian Tour test session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. More than 30 teams from across New England, New York and southeast Canada showed up for the practice session, which comes in preparation for the Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The fifth annual Invitational, which comes one day before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes to the Magic Mile for the SYLVANIA 300, will cap off a jam-packed Saturday schedule that also includes the Whelen Modified Tour's F.W. Webb 100 and the K&N Pro Series East North American Power 100. The Granite State Legends Cars and Gifford's Ice Cream Bandolero Series will follow in the nightcap.
One driver anticipating pulling double-duty that day will be 15-year-old Taylor Martin, who runs a full-time schedule in the Granite State Legends Series and MOAT Mountain Road Course Series. Martin (Windham, N.H.) took to the Magic Mile in the No. 20 late model on Wednesday and put up impressive enough times to think she’s got a shot to be in the feature come Sept. 21.
"I’m just trying to get used to the track and hitting all my marks," said Martin, who is in a late model for the first time. "I love this track. Long straightaways, you don’t have to lift much and I’m happy I’m here. I’m used to only being on the gas for a couple seconds (in the Legends), but I’ll get used to it."
Also pulling double-duty on Sept. 21 will be Eddie MacDonald. The Rowley, Mass., native will run the North American Power 100 at 2:30 p.m. and the Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational at 4:45 p.m. MacDonald is a two-time ACT Invitational champion, having won the inaugural event in 2009 and again in 2011.
"The car went pretty good today, but we want it to be faster so we can come here in a couple weeks and compete for the win," said MacDonald. “We always look forward to coming to this race. This track is completely different than the ones we run on for the ACT. We’re really looking forward to coming back and working our way to the front.”
While Martin and MacDonald are both New England natives and should have lots of allegiances in the Magic Mile stands, there’s no denying that Joey Polewarczyk (Hudson, N.H.) should have a large fan base as well. The Granite State native won the ACT Invitational in 2010 and should be one of the favorites again this year, especially considering he was one of the fastest around the 1.058-mile oval on Wednesday at 31.536 seconds.
“The way that this race is set up, you’re not allowed to qualify, so it’s set up by the luck of the draw,” said Polewarczyk. “You really need to have a car set up to pass a lot of people. When we come to a big track like this the draft comes into effect down the straightaways. But our team steps up for these big races, we’re excited.”