Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – NORTH WOODSTOCK, NH – The Fifth Annual Milton CAT Midsummer Classic 250 certainly lived up the hype yet again with $10,000 on the line bringing in 43 American-Canadian Tour teams from across New England and Quebec, Canada.
At the end of the night a new winner in 2022 stood in victory lane – redemption the only word on his mind.
It took three rounds of qualifying to whittle down the forty-three-car roster to just thirty starting positions with Marcel Gravel, Derek Gluchacki, Tom Carey III and Gabe Brown taking down heat race wins to start the program. By virtue of starting dead last in Heat One and finishing in the final qualified spot to earn a +7 in the American-Canadian Tour Plus/Minus Handicap System but relegated to starting tenth with his earlier ACT win in June’s Spring Green.
In the two consolation rounds, D.J. Shaw and Jonathan Bouvrette took down wins. By qualifying through the Consi, drivers keep their Heat Race Plus/Minus score giving Shaw the pole starting position with a +5 to edge out White Mountain Motorsports Park multi-time champion Quinny Welch with a +4. The eighteen-car B-Feature ending qualifying action with Stephen Donahue taking the win followed by Tanner Woodard in just his second turn in an American-Canadian Tour car, White Mountain Rookie contender Ryan Ware and former White Mountain Flying Tiger standout Justin Eldridge. Erick Sands was the highest finishing ACT 100%er and earned the ACT Provisional while Bryan Wall, Jr. earned the White Mountain Provisional.
On the start it was D.J. Shaw and Quinny Welch neck-and-neck, both driving strong Dale Shaw Racecars chassis up front until the first caution on Lap 28 with the 21QC of rookie Alexendre Tardif spinning on a flat left rear tire. Ryan Olsen earned the first American-Canadian Tour Lucky Dog award as the first car a lap down and was gifted a return to the lead lap. On Lap 39 it was another Canadian with another flat tire, this time it was Jonathan Bouvrette with a flat right rear who narrowly avoided a big turn four pileup.
On the restart, tempers started to flair. Shawn Swallow and Patrick Laperle getting into it sent Laperle spinning in turn two and Swallow to the tail as the penalty car on Lap 41. At Lap 50 it was a three-car string out front lead by Shaw with Jimmy Hebert and Welch hot on his tail until the fourth caution came on lap 51 for the spinning Ryan Ware in turn one. On the restart Shaw took the lead from Hebert with Welch and Jason Corliss following close behind.
In the first long run of the event, the Mathieu Kingsbury 9QC team ended their night on lap 68 with an overheating Ford Mustang while White Mountain regular Alby Ovitt pulled in on lap 90 facing handling issues in his Chevrolet. At Lap 100 race control put out the yellow flag for the scheduled fuel stop, with teams pulling into the pits for a two-minute timed stop for fuel and water for their drivers. Following the fuel stop and the return to the raceway, the pits were reopened for adjustments and multiple teams made their way back in to start their tire change strategies.
On the restart it was Shaw electing the outside with Welch to his inside as Derek Gluchacki and Jesse Switser tagged in just behind. On lap 108 the sixth caution flag waved for the spinning Tom Carey III in turn four. Shaw again led the restart this time with Gluchacki to his outside, Shawn Swallow and Gabe Brown just behind after Welch and Switser pitted for tires. As Shaw slowly pulled away, Gluchacki stayed within three car-lengths back, stalking the tire tracks of the 04VT around the White Mountain highbanks as they began to navigate lap traffic.
Lap 159 brought down the seventh caution as the 5ME of Dillon Moltz drove into the Patrick Laperle machine in turn three, sending both into the tire barrier. Moltz was disqualified by race control for Contact with Intent and parked for the night. With Shaw finally taking his tires, it was up to Ryan Olsen and Jason Corliss to lead the way with Hebert and Oxford 125 winner Marcel Gravel in tow. Stretching themselves out in front, the eighth caution on lap 176 for the spinning Tom Carey III brought another chance for Olsen to get ahead of Corliss.
By Lap 180 it was Corliss leading Jesse Switser, Welch, Olsen, Hebert, Rich Dubeau, Laperle, Gabe Brown and D.J. Shaw back into the top-10. Thirty laps later into the longest green flag run of the night, Corliss had a full half-track lead over Switser, Welch and Shaw as the latter group faced heavy lap traffic. The entire landscape changed with the ninth and final caution for the spinning Jaret Curtis in turn two.
As they lined up, eleven cars remained on the lead lap and at the front of the field. Corliss chose the outside for the restart with Shaw on his inside followed by Switser, Laperle, Brown, Welch, Gluchacki, Shawn Swallow, rookie Jamie Swallow, Jr., Olsen, and Dubeau.
After the green, Shaw drove the doors off his A.H. Fence Ford Mustang to lead lap 232 and never looked back. Switser followed with Corliss searching for speed underneath the White Mountain regular as the back half of the lead lap cars waited closely behind, hoping for a misstep from the leaders. As the leaders took the two-to-go signal, the top three were flying in a tight, one lane row while Laperle, Welch, Brown and Gluchacki bounced off each other for top-5 position. At the line it was D.J. Shaw taking his first American-Canadian Tour win of the season and only the second of his illustrious career. After narrowly missing the win last July in this same event, it was redemption for Shaw and his Arnie Hill-owned team.
After only deciding to race at 7:00pm on Friday night, Jesse Swister earned his best American-Canadian Tour finish of his career as well as the highest finish for a White Mountain regular in the Milton CAT Midsummer Classic 250 in 2nd while last year’s winner Jason Corliss came home third, a finish he felt disappointed with. But this completes five top-5 finishes for Corliss in the Milton CAT Midsummer Classic 250’s at White Mountain, as well as his third, 3rd-place finish in the event. Patrick Laperle drove his bent-up Port City Racecars machine back up to a strong 4th-place finish while part-timer Gabe Brown posted his second top-5 ACT finish at White Mountain with 5th.
Wall’s Ford Platinum Series point leader, and 2nd place ACT point man, Derek Gluchacki took 6th, White Mountain point leader Quinny Welch earned 7th and ACT rookie contender Jamie Swallow just edged brother Shawn for 8th. Ryan Olsen battled back to round out the top-10.
Up next, the American-Canadian Tour returns to Quebec for the seventh race of the 2022 season with the CAN-AM 200 at Autodrome Montmagny on Saturday, August 20th. A huge field of Quebec stars is expected to battle hard against all American invaders for the $10,000 USD-to-Win top prize. The American-Canadian Tour returns to Montmagny for the first time since Brian Hoar took the Montmagny 200 win back in 1999 and the first sanctioned event since Jonathan Bouvrette took down the Serie ACT win and Championship in 2017. More details are soon to come!
White Mountain Motorsports Park – N. Woodstock, NH
Milton CAT Midsummer Classic 250
Saturday, July 30, 2022
American-Canadian Tour Milton CAT Midsummer Classic 250
1. 04VT D.J. Shaw Center Conway, NH
2. 25NH Jesse Switser West Burke, VT
3. 66VT Jason Corliss Barre, VT
4. 91QC Patrick Laperle St-Denis, QC
5. 61ME Gabe Brown Center Conway, NH
6. 03MA Derek Gluchacki North Dartmouth, MA
7. 78NH Quinten Welch Groveton, NH
8. 4NH #Jamie Swallow Jr. Stark, NH
9. 04NH Shawn Swallow Groveton, NH
10. 61NH Ryan Olsen N. Haverhill, NH
11. 30NH Rich Dubeau Lebanon, NH
12. 86VT Marcel Gravel Wolcott, VT
13. 36NH Erick Sands Derry, NH
14. 58VT Jimmy Hebert Williamstown, VT
15. 41QC Jonathan Bouvrette Blainville, QC
16. 5MA Tom Carey III New Salem, MA
17. 0VT Scott Dragon Milton, VT
18. 21QC Alexandre Tardif Quebec City, QC
19. 32VT #Ryan Ware E. Burke, VT
20. 3NH Mike Kenison Groveton, NH
21. 77NH #Bryan Wall Jr. E. Kingston, NH
22. 67MA Jaret Curtis Rutland, MA
23. 2VT Stephen Donahue Graniteville, VT
24. 74ME Justin Eldridge Ossipee, NH
25. 35NH Alby Ovitt St. Johnsbury, VT
26. 9QC Mathieu Kingsbury Blainville, QC
27. 47NH Brockton Davis Whitefield, NH
28. 49NH Matt Anderson Franklin, NH
29. 68VT Tanner Woodard Waterbury Ctr., VT
DSQ 5ME Dillon Moltz New Sharon, ME**
**Disqualified for Contact with Intent