Story By: AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – SEEKONK, MA – Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe gave the 30th American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model season one of the most dramatic finishes in series history by passing D.J. Shaw on the final lap to win the Haunted Hundred at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, October 23.
Rowe rode the outside rim on a green-white-championship finish to beat his rival by 0.043 seconds for the win and by five points for the championship.
It was the first ACT title ever for Rowe, who has 10 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model championship to his credit. Rowe becomes the first driver to win both a PASS Super Late Model and ACT Late Model Tour championship. He also is the first ACT Late Model Tour champion from the state of Maine.
Rowe started the night on the wrong foot by surrendering the point lead to Shaw in qualifying, with Shaw’s second-place heat race finish catapulting him a two-point edge over Rowe. However, the ACT “plus-minus” handicapping system put Rowe, who did not have a 2021 ACT victory entering the day, third on the starting grid to Shaw’s 13th. The veteran took advantage, grabbing the lead from Josh Hedges on a lap-7 restart and pacing the field for the next 44 circuits — and picking up the crucial lap leader bonus points that went with it.
North Dartmouth, MA’s Derek Gluchacki, along with Tom Carey III and Shaw, were both slicing through the field behind Rowe. Gluchacki was underneath Rowe for the top spot when reigning Seekonk Speedway championship Vinny Arrenegado Jr. got crossed up on the frontstretch on lap-51, triggering a four-car pile-up. On the restart, Gluchacki made the outside work just as well and rocketed to the lead. Carey and Shaw followed him around Rowe, with the point lead seemingly flipping by the lap.
After two more yellows at laps 68 and 73, Carey went to work on Gluchacki as both pulled away from the field. Carey went to the inside of his fellow Tour sophomore entering turn one with 13 laps to go, and the two got hooked together going through turn two. By the time the cars finally separated and continued, Shaw had taken the second spot back, with Chase Belcher and Rowe also gaining spots when Carey pitted a lap later.
A lap-93 yellow when Jacob “Rowdy” Burns and Shawn Swallow tangled in turn three set up the next act in the season-ending drama. The top-four all held serve on the restart, but just as they were staring at the two-to-go signal, Trenton Goodrow and Andrew Gillis got wadded up on the backstretch. By rule, the field when back to lap 97 for a nail-biting restart.
Coming out of turn two after the green flag, Shaw pulled a crossover move on Gluchacki, who tried to slam the door in turn three. Knowing what was on the line, Shaw kept his foot in the opening, and as they leaned on each other, Rowe rocketed up the outside. Shaw led lap 98 by an inch before Gluchacki went around in turn two, collecting Tyler Lallier along the way.
That put Shaw and Rowe on the front row for the 10th and final restart with the championship going to whomever reached the checkered flag first. Rowe led the white flag lap, but Rowe found one last bit of speed on the final circuit, beating Shaw to the stripe by about a foot for the victory and the championship.
The late-race scrambling allowed Derry, NH’s Erick Sands to come out of nowhere and finish third. It was the best career ACT finish for Sands also sewed up Rookie of the Year honors. Arrenegado recovered from his incident to take fourth with Belcher coming home fifth. Ryan Kuhn, Nicholas Uhrig, Burns, Richard Murray, and Jimmy Renfrew Jr. completed the top-10.
The 2021 ACT season is now complete. Officials expect to announce the 2022 schedule by Thanksgiving. The 2021 Banquet of Champions will be held in the spring of 2022.
SEEKONK SPEEDWAY — Seekonk, MA
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Pos. Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 3 ) Ben Rowe ( 4ME ) , Turner, ME , 100 Laps
2. ( 13 ) D.J. Shaw ( 04VT ) , Center Conway, NH , 100 Laps
3. ( 14 ) #Erick Sands ( 36NH ) , Derry, NH , 100 Laps
4. ( 5 ) Vincent Arrenegado Jr. ( 17RI ) , Warren, RI , 100 Laps
5. ( 7 ) Chase Belcher ( 35MA ) , West Wareham, MA , 100 Laps
6. ( 4 ) Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E. Bridgewater, MA , 100 Laps
7. ( 19 ) Nicholas Uhrig ( 11RI ) , Warwick, RI , 100 Laps
8. ( 6 ) Jacob “Rowdy” Burns ( 30RI ) , East Greenwich, RI , 100 Laps
9. ( 1 ) Richard J. Murray ( 08RI ) , Tiverton, RI , 100 Laps
10. ( 9 ) Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 00NH ) , Candia, NH , 100 Laps
11. ( 12 ) Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) , North Dartmouth, MA , 100 Laps
12. ( 26 ) #Shawn Swallow ( 04NH ) , Lancaster, NH , 100 Laps
13. ( 21 ) Matt Anderson ( 49NH ) , Franklin, NH , 100 Laps
14. ( 20 ) Peyton Lanphear ( 22VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 100 Laps
15. ( 18 ) Tyler Lallier ( 7MA ) , North Attleboro, MA , 100 Laps
16. ( 16 ) Andrew Gillis ( 1MA ) , Ashland, MA , 99 Laps
17. ( 30 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Duxbury, VT , 99 Laps
18. ( 27 ) James Linardy ( 77MA ) , Somerville, MA , 99 Laps
19. ( 15 ) Trenton Goodrow ( 31MA ) , Carver, MA , 97 Laps
20. ( 29 ) Louis Romiza III ( 75MA ) , East Falmouth, MA , 97 Laps
21. ( 25 ) Johnny Silva ( 67MA ) , Attleboro, MA , 96 Laps
22. ( 11 ) Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) , New Salem, MA , 88 Laps
23. ( 10 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 73 Laps
24. ( 2 ) Joshua Hedges ( 29MA ) , New Bedford, MA , 68 Laps
25. ( 8 ) Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 67 Laps
26. ( 24 ) Jeramee Lillie ( 3RI ) , Coventry, RI , 67 Laps
27. ( 28 ) Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) , Westerly, RI , 47 Laps
28. ( 23 ) Brandon Hammann ( 71RI ) , North Smithfield, RI , 25 Laps
29. ( 22 ) Fred Astle ( 91CT ) , Westport, MA , 15 Laps
30. ( 17 ) Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) , Warwick, RI , 10 Laps
Lap Leaders: Richard Murray, pole; Josh Hedges, 1-7; Ben Rowe, 8-51; Derek Gluchacki, 52-97; D.J. Shaw, 98-99, Rowe, 100. (5 lead changes among 5 drivers)
Time of Race: 1 hour, 1 minute, 3 seconds Margin of Victory: 0.043 seconds
Cautions: 10 (laps 2, 7, 25, 49, 51, 68, 73, 93, 97, 98)
Heat Winners: Ryan Kuhn, Chase Belcher, Derek Gluchacki
Consi Winner: Tom Carey III