Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – LOUDON, NH – The 2nd Annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on Saturday, April 16th is not only set to be the biggest American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) collaboration at NHMS yet, but one of the biggest events of 2022.
Well over a hundred cars have entered between the six divisions, with over ninety camping registrations filed (with room for more) and the ACT, PASS and NHMS offices have been flooded with phone calls for the past two weeks!
Nearly forty-five ACT Late Models representing every New England state and the Canadian province of Quebec are entered to kick off the 31st season in style with the $5,500-to-Win Northeast Classic 50.
It takes a championship caliber team to run up front at New England’s biggest racetrack, and there certainly won’t be any shortage of talent this weekend. The Canadian contingent alone includes multi-time ACT touring champion Patrick Laperle, Serie-ACT champions Dany Trepanier and Jonathan Bouvrette, 2021 Bacon Bowl 200 winner Alexandre Tardiff and NASCAR stand-out Raphael Lessard. Tardiff, Lessard and Autodrome Chaudiere competitor Sebastien Couture have all sent their mounts to Port City Race Cars for a refresh, while Bouvrette is ready to tackle the 13-race ACT schedule in 2022 and is prepared to start his season on a high note.
American home-turf defenders include former champions Ben Rowe, Jimmy Hebert and Rich Dubeau who lead a battle-hardened group of former Tour winners and the top ACT Late Model front runners from across New England. Dubeau’s team have been excitedly preparing for the Northeast Classic since Christmas. “I’m looking forward to competing [and] it’ll be great to see everyone again,” said 2019 ACT Tour Champion Dubeau. “I’m hoping we can bring some speed against some of the best drivers in New England and Canada.”
One of the toughest opponents facing Dubeau has yet to earn the ACT Championship, though he’s two-for-two in runner-up points standings. Center Conway, New Hampshire’s DJ Shaw is looking for a major pay-day, and a personal first. Shaw will be starting his third season behind the wheel of Arnie Hill’s #04VT on the ACT Late Model Tour, looking to bring Hill’s team the championship trophy that has illuded them the past two years.
“I’m excited to get back to Loudon and get things started on the ACT side of things,” said Shaw. “It’s always fun to run the double headers but the opportunity to run two cars at the Magic Mile is always a lot of fun!” Shaw was able to shrink a 50-point deficit to Jimmy Hebert in 2020 to just 5-points behind Ben Rowe in a nail-biting championship race at Seekonk last October and is already an early favorite for the 2022 crown. Both Shaw and Rowe look to rake up an $11,000 trip to the bank should one of them sweep both the ACT and PASS 50-lap events.
Joining the defending champion Rowe, Mike Hopkins and Dillon Moltz will also represent the Pine Tree State of Maine. Williamstown’s Jimmy Hebert and Island Pond’s Derek Ming will represent Vermont while former Snowflake 100 winner Jake Johnson and ACT Invitational winner Woody Pitkat are among those representing Connecticut. Massachusetts and New Hampshire hold the lion’s share of entries with standouts like Tom Carey III, Erick Sands, Derek Gluchaki and three, North Country Swallows; Jamie, Shawn and Jamie Jr. Lastly, Rhode Island’s Mike Benevides and Jason Larivee Jr. round out the New England representation of the 2nd Annual Northeast Classic.
The 2nd Annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway begins with Practice Day on Friday, April 15th. All Northeast Classic divisions will be given practice time on the track from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Saturday, April 16th begins with the New England Racers Reunion and Car Show presented by Wall’s Ford at the North East Motor Sports Museum starting at 9:00am. At the South end of the NHMS property, the Racers Reunion is only $5 to enter, with proceeds benefiting the museum to keep our Northeast racing history alive.
Saturday racing action starts with qualifying at 10:30am with feature racing to immediately follow. The ACT Late Model Tour, PASS Super Late Model National Championship and Modified Racing Series are set for Triple-50 Lap feature events along with the R&R Race Parts NH Open Street Stocks, Northeast Mini Stock Tour and EXIT Realty Pro Truck Series.
Grandstand tickets will be available at the Box Office with the front gate opening at 9:00am on Saturday, April 16th. General Admission is $40 each with Ages 12-7 $10 each and Ages 6 and Under are free!