Erik Tavares photo
Barre, VT — With the countdown truly beginning on this first day of March, the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) ranks are swelling as stars from both sides of the border are ready to converge on ‘The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars,’ Hickory Motor Speedway. Alongside the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and the Mighty Mini Stock Series, the ACT Tour teams are preparing for the St. Patrick’s Day 125 on Friday, March 17th and the Easter Bunny 125 on Saturday, March 18th. So far, nearly twenty top speedsters are preparing their mounts for the Southern invasion, all with eyes on the prize to start 2023 on a high note.
A trifecta of former American-Canadian Tour Champions lead the traveling troupe south to Hickory. Defending champion D.J. Shaw in the A.H. Fence Co. Ford Mustang will be flanked by 2014 ACT Tour champion Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. and 2008 Tour champion Patrick Laperle. Although these three hold plenty of star power, and a lot of experience, they’ll have their hands full if they want to capitalize on these twin 125-lap events.
Former three-time Thunder Road track champion Jason Corliss is ready to start his 2023 season in the south as is 2022 Claremont Motorsports Park champion Ricky Bly as he steps into an ACT ride for the first time in three seasons. Another familiar face will make the trip to Hickory, and in a familiar car, just not a combination we’re used to seeing. Multi-time and defending White Mountain Motorsports Park champion Quinny Welch is leaving his #78NH mount at home for Hickory and taking up the reins of the 0-No machine for Chad Sullivan.
Among these Northern New Englanders, Thunder Road standout Marcel Gravel will also make the trip to Hickory after earning his first ACT Tour win last July. 2022 White Mountain Rookie of the Year Bryan Wall Jr. and Riverside Speedway regular Christian Laflamme join a New Hampshire contingent that also includes 2023 Hudson Speedway champion Cole Littlewood and longtime ACT competitor, and fellow Hudson standout, Mark Hudson. Quebec sends along Jean-Philippe Bergeron as he looks to best his top ACT finish of 9th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last April.
Southern New England is also sending a powerhouse group headed by multi-time ACT winners from the Bay State, Derek Gluchacki and Tom Carey III. Both Gluchacki and ‘TC-3’ have wins on tracks big and small, each hoping their versatility will come in handy on the rough and rowdy Hickory Motor Speedway surface. Speaking of rowdy, Seekonk Speedway standout Jacob ‘Rowdy’ Burns has also thrown his hat into the ring for his first trip down to Hickory. Thompson Speedway sends along the Johnson brothers, Nick and Jake. Jake ‘The Jet’ has taken over the driver’s seat of the Hartwell Motorsports #91CT while Nick will remain in the family #6MA. We’ll have to wait and see which brother out-dukes the other.
The Northern Stars of the American-Canadian Tour, Pro All Stars Series and the Mighty Minis head South on Friday, March 17th and Saturday, March 18th for a double-dose of stock car racing action at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina. Although the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter Bunny events are non-point for the ACT Tour and Mighty Mini Stock Series, the PASS Super Late Models kick-start their 2023 season at ‘the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars’ as Massachusetts’s Ryan Kuhn prepares to defend his 2022 title.
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