Category Archives: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

ACT Returns to NHMS Saturday for Full Throttle Showdown

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.

For more information, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, media@acttour.com, or visit www.acttour.com or www.nhms.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.

Top Seven Storylines to Watch as Full Throttle Fall Weekend Returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway

From Justin Bonsignore and Doug Coby fighting for their first Musket 200 win to Jimmy Hebert chasing down his first
ACT championship to Shaun Buffington looking to extend his reign as NHMS track champion, there’s no shortage of
Full Throttle Fall Weekend storylines.

LOUDON, N.H. – NASCAR returns to New England this weekend for the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and with it, a bevy of captivating storylines from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the American-Canadian Tour and the Granite State Legends Cars that are sure to leave every race fan on the edge of their seats until the final checkered flag falls.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

The 2020 season opener, originally scheduled for March 21 at South Boston Speedway, was postponed to May 30 at Myrtle Beach Speedway due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inclement weather caused the event to be rescheduled once again, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was finally able to burn some rubber at Jennerstown Speedway on June 21.

The Tour has already made three visits to the Granite State – twice at White Mountain Motorsports Park in Woodstock and once at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester – and will be making their final 2020 New Hampshire visit Sept. 12 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to headline the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend with the longest-mileage race on the Tour, the Musket 200 presented by Whelen.

Dominance: To date, the 2020 season has been headlined by one driver – Justin Bonsignore – who has won three of the season’s six Whelen Modified Tour events. He earned a top-10 finish in the 2018 Musket 250 and a top-five in 2019, but has yet to land in victory lane to hoist up the coveted musket and minuteman trophy. Can the current points leader capture a win at “The Magic Mile” to continue his chase for another series championship?

Defending Winner: Five-time NHMS winner Bobby Santos III is a frequent visitor to victory lane at “The Magic Mile.” He’s won four of the last six NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at Loudon, including the 2019 Musket 250 presented by Whelen when he was filling in for Dave Sapienza who was injured earlier in the season. Saturday’s Musket 200 presented by Whelen will be his first appearance of the 2020 modified season and is his only scheduled appearance at the moment. Can he make it two Musket wins in a row?

Reigning Champion: Six-time and reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby is currently second in the points standings with a win at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park already in the bag. He earned a top-10 finish in the 2018 Musket 250 and started on the pole and earned a podium finish last year. Is 2020 the year he finally reaches victory lane at the Musket 200 presented by Whelen and bumps his overall NHMS wins to five?

American-Canadian Tour

The American-Canadian Tour is no stranger to “The Magic Mile,” making nine appearances from 2009-2016 and making its homecoming with the ACT 75 this Saturday, Sept. 12 to wrap up the on-track action for the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend.

Points Leader: Jimmy Hebert from Williamstown, Vt. is the current points leader for the American-Canadian Tour Late Model Series with two wins and five podium finishes during the 2020 season’s first seven events. Saturday’s ACT 75 will mark Hebert’s debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – will it end with a trip to victory lane?

New Hampshire Drivers: Saturday’s ACT 75 will feature three drivers from New Hampshire including Matt Anderson (Andover), currently 11th in the point standings; Bryan Kruczek (Newmarket), currently fourth in the point standings; and DJ Shaw (Center Conway), currently second in the point standings.

Granite State Legends Cars

The Granite State Legends Cars will compete in both the Road Course Series and Oval Series during the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend, with the Oval Series champion crowned after Saturday’s race.

Oval Series: The Oval Series has yet to race this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as the 2020 schedule was reshuffled a few times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reigning NHMS track champion Shaun Buffington took both wins at White Mountain Motorsports Park – one to start the season on June 13 and another on Aug. 22 – plus a win at Claremont Motorsports Park on Sept. 6, but Luke Lebrun is giving him a run for his money, earning a win at Claremont on June 26 and another at Riverside Speedway and Adventure Park on July 4. Who will be crowned the series champion this Friday?

Road Course Series: The 2020 Road Course Series season kicked off July 5 and has completed six events on the 1.6-mile road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Shaun Buffington has won all six races and is well on his way to earning yet another NHMS track championship, but teammates Jack Walker and Darren Gallant aren’t making it easy on him, standing next to him on the podium every single time. Who will take the win as the Road Course Series takes on the 0.95-mile modified road course for only the second time this Saturday?

Tickets/Parking:

Tickets still remain for this weekend’s Full Throttle Fall Weekend. Adult tickets are available starting at $35 (in advance) for Saturday and just $10 on Friday at https://www.nhms.com/events/full-throttle-fall-weekend/tickets/. Kids 12 and under are just $10 on Saturday and free on Friday. Free parking will be available in the S1, S2 and S3 lots. Further details can be found on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway website.

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Shorter But Still Prestigious: Musket 200 Set For Saturday at NHMS

By: Kyle Souza / Photo: Noah Watts/My Race News

It might be 50 laps shorter, but the prestige around Saturday’s Musket 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway won’t be diminished.

What once was tabbed as the longest race in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history for the last two years has now lost 50 of its laps — which is about 50 miles at the ‘Magic Mile’ — but drivers aren’t going to do anything different when it comes down to the final laps.

It’s still a chance to win at New Hampshire and it’s still NASCAR’s Super Bowl when it comes to the Whelen Modified Tour.

“I think it will be better, it could probably be even a touch shorter,” 2018 Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore, who finished sixth and fifth the last two years, said. “I think it will take some of the riding out of it. It was great… but I think this might be a little bit more action-packed and more used to what Modified fans and drivers are accustomed to having.”

The first two years of the race haven’t disappointed. It all started when New Hampshire lost their NASCAR Cup Series date for September of 2018, and they had to figure something out to get back some of the revenue that was about to be lost. They ran the inaugural Musket 250 in 2018, with Chase Dowling winning, followed the second last year, which was won by Bobby Santos III.

“This was all part of the initial conversation with NASCAR,” David McGrath, the executive Vice President and general manager of NHMS said back in 2019. “When we made the announcement to move the September race, we wanted to create a new event with as much NASCAR in it as we could. With the long history of modifieds at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the draft, the restrictor plates, and the way they have raced here for so many years… we wanted to create a marquee race that really showcases the racing of the Modifieds and the ‘Magic Mile.’

And they’ve done every bit of it.

Chase Dowling wins the #Musket250 as it comes to a wild finish!!! #OMG#NASCAR #NWMT ##NHMSFullThrottle pic.twitter.com/usMo2K1PEt— NASCAR Roots (@NASCARRoots) September 22, 2018

The final laps in 2018 were eye-opening to say the least. Current NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece and Bonsignore went barreling into turn three on the final lap racing for the lead and $25,000, and both ended up wrecked in the outside wall, handling the lead and the win to Dowling, his first career. Last year, Santos edged Jon McKennedy by just a few car lengths at the line.

#NWMT How about that last lap @NHMS?

The battle to claim the #Musket250 🏁 pic.twitter.com/CorNA0uVCh— NASCAR Roots (@NASCARRoots) September 21, 2019

As a 250-lap race, it paid $25,000 to win. Now, as a 200-lap event, it will pay $20,000 to pick up the checkered flag — with more than $150,000 in posted awards throughout the field. The advertised entry blank for the race given to teams shows a $12,000 prize for second and $8,000 in winnings for third.

RACING-REFERENCE: Previous NWMT Races at NHMS

The entry list, usually released on Monday by NASCAR, will include a stout list of regulars set to compete for the big prize. Bonsignore, who holds a 18-point lead over Doug Coby in the championship standings entering the race, is one of the favorites, with three wins already this year. Coby, who opened his own team at the beginning of the year, has one victory in the first six races himself. Both are previous winners at New Hampshire but would love to add the Musket 200 to their resume.

Bobby Santos III, who hasn’t made a start on the Whelen Modified Tour since Thompson last October, will return driving a second car for Dave Sapienza. Names like Craig Lutz, Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak, Sapienza, Matt Swanson and more are also expected. There could also be a surprise, or two.

The first two years the race averaged about 32 cars, and the number is expected to be at, or a bit below, that amount.

Originally, the ARCA Menards Series East was scheduled to compete as part of the Saturday schedule, but they have since been eliminated. It leaves the Musket 200 to take the green flag at 12 p.m., with the American Canadian Tour also making their return to New Hampshire for their own 75-lap feature, slated for approximately 2:30 p.m.

Teams will practice and qualify for both races on Friday afternoon and evening.

The Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200 will air live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, just like the first six races of the season did. It will also be available on replay and will air tape-delayed on NBCSN at a later date.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is allowing fans for the event, and tickets are on sale through NHMS.com. All grandstand tickets that will be sold are required to sit in the specific seat to ensure social distancing is followed. Masks will be required for entry any part of the facility but once fans are seated, socially distances in the grandstands, masks are not required.

Camping reservations are also available for race fans and teams.