Daniel Holben photo
Waterbury, VT — The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) heads to the biggest stage in New England motorsports this Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12. The Full Throttle 75 at Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) is part of the now-annual Full Throttle weekend and marks the long-awaited return of ACT to the 1.058-mile speedplant.
Saturday’s main event will be the first at NHMS since 2017 when the ACT Invitational was last run. Many drivers and teams have eagerly been awaiting the day that ACT heads back to the “Magic Mile”. After the Northeast Classic scheduled for April was pushed back a year due to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, that day is finally almost here.
Now, people around the world can view the Full Throttle 75. Officials have reached an agreement with NBC Sports Gold TrackPass to broadcast the ACT feature live. Those with a monthly or yearly subscription can view every lap at www.nbcsports.com/gold/trackpass. Advance tickets are also available at www.nhms.com to watch the event in-person.
The stakes for the Full Throttle 75 are even higher than in past trips to NHMS. This weekend’s program is just the second-ever point-counting event at NHMS for the ACT Late Model Tour. The last event that counted towards the championship was the All-Star Challenge in 2011.
Despite the title implications, two non-regulars may be the ones to watch in the 75-lap main event. Former ACT Invitational winners Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, NH and Woody Pitkat of Bellingham, MA have both entered the Full Throttle 75. Helliwell is a three-time ACT champion and already has a win this year at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. The veteran is an automatic threat to win whenever he can make it to the track and will surely be a factor.
Pitkat may have the most experience at Loudon of anyone on the entry list. The open-wheel standout also has a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win at the track to go with his ACT Invitational victory. He will pilot the same #07MA Summit Ice Ford that he drove to the checkered flag back in 2017.
ACT point leader Jimmy Hebert, meanwhile, is ready to take care of some unfinished business. The Williamstown, VT veteran finished runner-up in the last two ACT Invitationals and was challenging Pitkat in 2017 when the race was shortened due to darkness. After coming so close twice, Hebert may be the hungriest driver in the garage when Saturday dawns.
A win for Hebert may well put a hammerlock on the 2020 ACT championship. Hebert enters the event 35 points ahead of Center Conway, NH’s D.J. Shaw. The multi-time Pro All Star Series champion has competed several times at NHMS in the PASS North and K&N Pro Series, so he is no stranger to the high speeds.
They will be challenged by many other potential winners. New Sharon, ME’s Dillon Moltz pocketed $10,000 for triumphing in the Midsummer Classic 250 last month and will try to score another big payday. East Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn won the Speed51 Northeast eClassic iRacing event in April and now wants a win on the real track. Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe finished second at Oxford in late August and has multiple big-money ACT victories to his name. Charlotte, VT native Jamie Aube won a Busch North Series event at Loudon in 1993 and could find the old magic once again.
High-point ACT drivers like Dylan Payea, Bryan Kruczek, and Marcel J. Gravel would put an exclamation point on their season with a New Hampshire Motor Speedway win. A large fleet of Southern New England have also committed to the Full Throttle 75, including top ACT rookie Derek Gluchacki, Thompson Speedway winners Mark Jenison and Tom Carey III, Trans-Am veteran Tom Sheehan, and up-and-comers Mike Benevides and Michael Lindquist.
The ACT Late Model Tour rolls into Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Full Throttle Weekend this Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12. The program includes the ACT Full Throttle 75, the Musket 200 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and two events for the Granite State U.S. Legend Cars.
Qualifying is Friday, September 11 with the ACT Full Throttle 75 going green at approximately 2:30pm on Saturday, September 12. Visit www.nhms.com for advance tickets and other information is available at www.nhms.com. A live pay-per-view broadcast will also be available on NBC Sports Gold TrackPass at www.nbcsports.com/gold/trackpass.