Waterbury, VT – The American Racer Three Star program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at American-Canadian Tour (ACT) U.S. Tour events. There are no specific criteria for deciding who might receive the award of a free American Racer Tire (value $125.00), but a special effort by a team, exceptional race, just plain old hard luck, or any other accepted reason is used to decide the award recipients.
The Three Stars are chosen by ACT officials and will receive certificates for use of a free American Racer tire at a race of their choosing during the 2015 season.
ACT’s annual visit to the White Mountain Motorsports Park in N. Woodstock, NH was an intense affair right from the start of qualifying. With only 26 spots in the White Mountain 150 up for grabs, drivers pulled no punches in their efforts to get into the starting field. That edge carried over into the main event, which saw seven caution flags, numerous ruffled feathers, and one of the most unpredictable events of the 2015 season.
One could look at the finishing order, see point leaders Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. in the top two positions, and assume the result was a foregone conclusion. But that assumption would be wrong. The top ACT runners didn’t make their way into those spots until lap 115, and even that came after Brandon Atkins, who was looking for his first career ACT win, tangled with “Outlaw” Eddie MacDonald racing for the top spot. There was no shortage of surprise runs and charges through the field on a night where the speedway lived up to its “Thunder in the Mountains” tagline. A special mention should be given to Auburn, ME’s Travis Stearns, who spun with just 50 laps remaining but sliced back through the pack to record a third-place finish. However, his podium result removes him from Star Award consideration.
The American Racer Three Stars of the White Mountain 150 are as follows:
*Jeff White, Winthrop, ME – #50ME – Last’s year surprise winner of the White Mountain 150 had his work cut out for him early in Saturday’s event. The former Oxford Plains Speedway Champion struggled in qualifying and was forced to start 19th on the grid. White looked strong early and was nearing the top-10 on lap 34 when contact sent the Len’s Auto Sales & Service Chevrolet spinning in turn 2, dealing White another trip to the back of the pack.
But White is one of the hardest-nosed drivers on the ACT Tour, and he refused to give up on the event. White methodically worked his way back through the field, managed to avoid the run of cautions in the middle stages of the event, and came away with a solid sixth-place result. The yeoman’s work moves the Linton Thompson–owned team into sole possession of third place in the ACT Tour point standings heading into Oxford Plains on Saturday – the track where White earned his first ACT win back in 2011. The #50ME receives their first Star Award of the season for their White Mountain effort.
*Mike Ziter, Barre, VT – #54VT – Ziter started the year with a solid 8th-place effort at Oxford Plains Speedway, but had fallen on hard times in recent events. With a week off prior to the White Mountain 150, Ziter said the team made wholesale changes to all four corners of the car in an effort to improve its handling, particularly on old tires. It was clear early at White Mountain those changes had paid off.
The sophomore ACT Tour competitor earned his first pole award after scoring an astounding +8 in qualifying, moving from 10th to 2nd in his heat race. Ziter then led the first 94 laps of the event and a race-high 96 overall. Although he was ultimately unable to hold off the Tour’s top dogs, Ziter kept his cool and brought his Jeffords Steel and Engineering Co. entry home with a career-best 4th-place finish. The finish propels the #54VT team back into the top-10 in the overall point standings and gives them renewed confidence for the return trip to Oxford Plains. Ziter receives his second Star Award of the year for a breakout performance.
*Kyle Welch, Newport, NH – #9NH – Welch went through some tough racing luck early in the 2015 season, consistently fielding a competitive car, but not getting the corresponding results due to late-race woes. The last few events have marked a turnaround for the Hubert’s Family Outfitters team, and they are showing the potential of what they can become.
Welch earned the third starting position in Saturday’s event and ran in the top-five for the first 2/3 of the event, rising as high as second in the early stages. However, the #9NH got hung out on the outside on a mid-race restart and was suddenly back in the pack. Some racers may have mentally thrown in the towel after such a break – but Welch kept fighting, clawing to his third straight top-10 finish. In addition to solidifying his position in the top-10 in points, Welch also jumped to third in the Bond Auto Parts New Champions standings. A Star Award thus goes to a team that has shown an increase in both speed and maturity in its second full season on the Tour and will certainly be a group to watch in the second half of the year.
The ACT Tour makes its second trip of the season to Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, June 27. Joey Polewarczyk Jr. will be going for the season sweep after leading every lap of the opener in April, but Wayne Helliwell Jr., Nick Sweet, Brad Babb, and the rest of the ACT Tour will all try to stand in his way. The pits open at 12:30pm, practice begins at 2:30pm, and post
time is 6:00pm.