Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – BARRE, VT – The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) was founded in 1986 on the continuation of a well-oiled machine that pitted New England and Quebec-based drivers against each other at speedways on both sides of the US/Canada border.
It was this comradery between international teams, drivers and fans that has fueled the American-Canadian Tour for over 35 seasons until COVID-19 stepped onto the scene.
Two long years later, the time has come for our Canadian friends to finally return stateside, and it all begins at the racing mecca of the Northeast: New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Leading the charge across the border is Canada’s most recent victor on US soil, Blainville’s Jonathan Bouvrette. The 2017, Quebec-based Serie-ACT champion took his first checkered flag in the States during the Sunoco World Series at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway way back in 2019. His championship-night victory helped cement Bouvrette’s first top-10 points finish in the US-based ACT Late Model Tour. “After two years without racing in the States, I am more than thrilled to come back,” said Bouvrette. “We plan to run the full tour and have the ambition to come home as winners once again.” With the border open, Jonathan is poised to battle once more for the illustrious championship after two patient years of waiting in the wings.
Alongside Bouvrette, fellow Serie-ACT champion Dany Trepanier was the 3rd Northeast Classic entry received at the ACT offices. Trepanier has been a staple of Quebec Late Model racing for over a decade and earned the NASCAR Quebec Provincial Championship as well as the Autodrome Chaudiere track championship in 2021. After making seven ACT Invitational starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and coming off a powerhouse year, Trepanier will be quite the threat on April 16.
These former champions are being joined by the internationally recognized, up-and-coming star Raphael Lessard in the iconic Larue Motorsports #48QC. The CARS Super Late Model Tour champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner at Talladega Superspeedway was confirmed for the Larue Industrial Snowblowers ride on Sunday. Car owner Louis Larue stated that Lessard will be piloting a brand-new Port City Ford Mustang, “We’re very excited to come back to the USA for [this] ACT event!” stated Larue.
The list doesn’t end there either. Autodrome Chaudiere stand-outs Sebastien Couture and Alexandre ‘Fireball’ Tardif have also entered into the 2nd Annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. While Couture faced ACT Late Model Tour competition at the first Claude Leclerc 150 at Chaudiere, Tardif has had a little more experience that same fateful year in 2019. ‘Fireball’ made four starts in ACT Tour competition two years ago, earning his first top-10 at Oxford Plains Speedway before kissing the pig and taking all the bacon at the 3rd Bacon Bowl 200 at Chaudiere last September. Like Trepanier, Tardif looks to ride that 2021 momentum into what will be his first start at NHMS.
“We cannot stress enough how much we’ve missed our Canadian teams and fans,” said ACT managing partner Cris Michaud. “Canadians are not only part of the namesake and legacy of our Tour, but they are the backbone of what makes ACT stand out among others. We are extremely excited to host our Canadian fans again and I anticipate many a happy greeting, handshakes and, certainly, hugs when we see our Quebec competitors again after these two long years.”
The 31st season of ACT Late Model Tour competition kicks off on Saturday, April 16 with the 2nd Annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The ACT Late Models, PASS Super Late Models and Modified Racing Series will go for Triple-50s along with the R&R Race Parts NH Street Stock Open Series, the Northeast Mini Stock Tour (NEMST), EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge and Limited Late Model Open.