What’s Next for the American Canadian Tour Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?

Posted: September 21, 2009 in Maine racing, NASCAR
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To start off this post I want to congratulate all of the teams that received an invite to this past weekend’s ACT Invitational. You all succeeded in a major challenge of auto racing – keeping fans in their seats. All of you put on a great show and should be very proud.

I will admit I didn’t expect to see the level of racing I did see on Saturday. I thought there would be some careless moves since most of the drivers were not used to racing on big tracks. I was also expecting to see mechanical failures, since ACT late models are really not made to run at those high speeds for longer periods of time. With the exception of Ben Rowe’s blown tire, there were no other mechanical failures. Rowe being able to walk away from the incident also showed that these cars are safe enough to handle an impact at NHMS.

There has already been comments by both NHMS General Manager, Jerry Gappens, and ACT President Tom Curley that discussions about a 2010 ACT race will start sooner rather than later. Both sides have also started to talk about changes to the race to keep it fresh and exciting for fans.

For more information on these comments: please Read the Post on Green White Checker Blog.

After reading Gappens’ and Curley’s comments and watching the race on Satuday, I came up with the following thoughts:

  • Keep this race an invitational. This would ensure that the calibur of the drivers stays high, creating better racing. When it comes to filling the spots, use a similar formula as this year with race winners getting invitations. The remaining spots can be filled by having open tryouts at local race tracks, such as Oxford Plains Speedway, Lee USA Speedway, and Thunder Road Speedbowl. Only the top performers in these sessions would be in contention for an invitation. Throughout the season Curley had gone on the record of saying that he had to play some politics for the inaugural race. By adopting a more open tryout for the race Curley would be able to dispel some of the politics rumors in the future.

  • Another debate is whether or not this race should be a points race or a schedule filler. I think the best option is to take the other two biggest late model races in New England the TD Banknorth 250 and Milk Bowl and create a triple crown series. There is also the option of using Thunder Road’s Labor Day Classic as the second race and end the series with the crowning of the champion at NHMS. For the triple crown each track along with sponsors would contribute to a fund that will be split by the top three in the triple crown points.

    • The NHMS race should still be an invitational because there will be teams that will make all three of the races. The extra spots could be filled by teams that have competed in the other two races and accumulated the most points, as points would be tallied after each race for all competitors.

  • As for the actual ACT Invitational, the race needs to be longer. None of these teams are equipped to handle a very long run at NHMS but adding a pit stop for two tires and gas would be a good feature to allow the teams to show off their expertise as well. 50 laps was far too short and only took around 38 minutes. An increase in laps to 75 would make for a slightly longer race and logical next step. As the teams begin to learn what the NHMS race is all about the laps could be increased up to a 100 lap maximum. Yet, if the race is scheduled for the end of the day a shorter race will be the better way to go and keep the lap maximum to 75.

  • As a final way to keep people interested in the ACT Invitational there should be a level of fan interaction that was not present this weekend. Adding an autograph session like the Camping World East Series does at NHMS could keep fans interested in coming to NHMS to meet the drivers that they watch at their local tracks each season.

Overall the race this weekend was better than expected and really did put on a good show for the national debut of the ACT Series. I hope that this can continue to be a part the Chase for the Cup weekend at NHMS. It really did bring some local flavor to the “big time.” Congratulations to all who participated, Tome Curley, and ACT for bringing a great new event to NHMS.

  1. rose says:

    great article and email Judy and have her read it

  2. Doug says:

    Great job on the blog, I agree completely.

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