Twenty-seven American Canadian Tour teams attended day one of the Test and Tune session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in preparation for the Inaugural ACT Invitational on Saturday, September 19. Teams from Ontario, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec were all in attendance.
The morning practice session began at 9 a.m. after teams picked up their tires. For the majority of the drivers, the "Magic Mile" is the biggest track they've ever run on, and it took them several laps to get comfortable. By the afternoon test session it was apparent that all the drivers were comfortable and ready for the scheduled mock races of about twelve cars.
The first 12 lap race saw Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. take the checkered flag by a car length over the surprise driver of the day, Brandon Watson of Stayner, Ontario. Sixteen year old Watson is a top runner at ACT affiliated track Kawartha Speedway. Watson was among the fastest cars of the day and was very competitive in both lanes during the mock race.
The second mock race of the day saw a battle between former Serie ACT Castrol champion Karl Allard and ACT Tour regular Randy Potter. The two battled side by side for several laps before a competition caution. The two then moved back in the field to get a feel for running in the pack. Both continued to be competitive as Nick Sweet took the lead and the checkers.
ACT Director of Competition, Dean Gallison was very pleased with what he saw in the mock races. "The mock races were the true test of the day and if the Invitational is anything like those, it will be one heck of a race," he said. It was apparent that the outside lane was the place to be on the restarts. Drivers could driver hard into the corners and still get back on the gas early, with the outside lane getting the extra bite off the corners.
The majority of the teams ran between 75 and 100 laps total throughout the day with very few issues. Quebec's Patrick Laperle was happy with the results after making several changes and testing different setups.
Team's new to the track leaned heavily on the few guys with experience at NHMS. Former New Hampshire Motor Speedway Champion Brad Leighton jumped in at least two cars other than his own for a few laps to give them pointers on the setup.
The drivers and crews gained a wealth of knowledge throughout the day and are clearly more prepared for the Invitational just three and a half weeks away.
Twenty-three different teams will get their turn for the Test and Tune tomorrow. Practice begins again tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The ACT Invitational will be held Saturday, September 19 at 5:30 p.m. as a part of the 2009 SYLVANIA 300 event weekend. Tickets for the Invitational, or any of Saturday's events, featuring the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, are on sale now.
To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway SYLVANIA 300 weekend, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.