Eddie MacDonald (17MA) won his second American Canadian Tour Invitational after a thrilling battle with Nick Sweet (40VT) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sept. 24. MacDonald and Sweet traded the lead four times over the final 11 laps of the 50-lap event. MacDonald would lead seven of those final laps while Sweet led four of them. MacDonald seemed to have a slightly better car on the restarts, but Sweet came back strong after a couple of laps. It may have been a different story if that last caution hadn’t come out.
The two took the white flag side-by-side. With the crowd on their feet Sweet had the inside line and seemed to have the advantage down the back stretch. They stayed door-to-door through turns three and four, but Sweet got a tad loose coming out of four which was all MacDonald needed to beat him in a sprint to the finish.
MacDonald started 25th and actually went backwards on lap one when he crossed the line in 27th. The next lap he passed only one car, then two cars, then two more. On lap five he didn’t improve position at all. From laps five to 10 he passed eight cars.
Sweet started 27th and got by three cars (one being MacDonald) on lap one. He didn’t pass a car on lap two but drove by three cars on lap three. On lap five he was running 19th, three spots ahead of Eddie Mac. From laps five to 10 he only improved his position by three spots, MacDonald drove by him on lap nine.
On lap 16 Sweet was behind MacDonald by six cars. On lap 20 they were running seventh and 10th. On lap 25 they had moved up to sixth and eighth. The first caution flew on lap 27.
By lap 30 the 17MA was second and the 40VT was fourth. MacDonald would lead for the first time when he drove by Shawn Martin to lead lap 32. Eddie Mac led the next eight circuits before Sweet powered by him to claim his first lead on lap 40. The caution flew for the second time on lap 41.
After running second for two straight laps, MacDonald drove around Sweet on the high side to lead lap 42. Sweet got back under him to lead lap 45, only to have the last caution come out on the same lap.
At this point 40 crew was complaining a bit on the radio about MacDonald not giving Nick much room going down the front stretch. Nick, speaking in an all most jovial voice, said something like, “Nah, its fine he’s just trying to break my momentum, I’m having a ball, this is fun.”
The gloves were certainly off at this point. I was sitting in turn one and had a great shot watching them charge off turn four and Eddie pinching the 40 down big time.
Nick’s last “official” lead would come on lap 46. Lead changes were only recorded at the start finish line, but I’m sure he led a few more times at different spots on the race track. MacDonald would win by 0.161 seconds or about a car length.
“We were lucky at the end. I was so psyched to get my new sponsor, Hancock Electric, in victory lane,” said MacDonald. “I didn’t know it was Nick (Sweet) in that car. I feel bad cutting him off, but wanted to do everything I could to win.”
“Great race at the end,” said Sweet. “Everything happens to me in twos (at NHMS). Three years ago we finished second to Eddie (MacDonald). Last year we wrecked on lap two. This year we finished second to Eddie (MacDonald) again.”
ACT Facts and Figures
I got a look at the timing lap chart after the race was over. On laps two and three there were 26 position changes. On lap four there were 14 changes in positions and laps five and six saw 23 and 21 position changes.
On lap 10, 16 of the top 30 spots changed hands while on lap 15, 18 of the top 30, traded spots. Lap 20 saw 13 of the top 30 switch spots.
Things settled down a bit (not that you could tell by all the three-wide racing on the track) on lap 26 when only three guys were running in different spots then they were on lap 25.
Things heated up three laps after the caution on lap 30 when 15 of the top 30 spots changed positions. Lap 45 saw 12 of the top 19 drivers traded spots.
• Shawn Martin came home third, just edging Quinny Welch at the line. It was his fourth race there. A month ago he started 22nd and finished 17th, while a year ago he started 21st and finished 17th. His first race there in 2009 he started seventh and finished 14th. He started sixth last Saturday and took over the lead on lap 21 and held it to lap 31.
• Welch had an eventful day after starting on the outside pole. He and Phil Scott battled on the first lap. Scott would spin in turn three (I couldn’t see that turn so I can’t tell you what happened) and Welch would cross the line in fourth on that first lap. On lap three he got to third where he stayed for lap four. He got shuffled back to eighth on lap five and faded to ninth on lap six. On lap nine he was 10th. He then started moving forward getting to fifth on lap 17. He settled in there until lap 30 when drove by Tom Carey for fourth. He got by Peter Yetman for third on lap 32 and got around Martin for second on lap 34. That was short-lived when Sweet passed him on lap 34 and Martin got back by him on lap 41.
• I’m hearing the Welch team will be at the Milk Bowl this weekend, before heading to Airborne for the final event of 2011, and next year the plan is to try and run the ACT Late Model Tour full-time.
• Some race fans sat in the grandstands and watched Kyle Busch lead 165 of 175 laps of the truck race. The only time he wasn’t leading was during green flag pit spots. A bunch of these same “race fans” left before the ACT event.
• The top 10 finishers in the Third Annual ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sept. 24, improved their positions by a combined 139 positions. That includes two guys who lost five spots between them. Five of the top seven finishers improved their positions by 21 or more spots.
• Results (starting position) – 1. (25) Eddie MacDonald, 2. (27) Nick Sweet, 3. (6) Shawn Martin, 4. (2) Quinny Welch, 5. (31), Brad Leighton, 6. (26), Brian Hoar, 7. (32) Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 8. (5) Tom Carey Jr., 9. (28) Karl Allard, 10. (11) Glen Luce, 11. (24) Austin Theriault, 12. (3) Guy Caron, 13. (33), Patrick Laperle, 14. (22), Joey Laquerre, 15. (23) Jeff Taylor, 16. (29) John Donahue, 17. (8) Scott Payea, 18. (12) Donald Theetge, 19. (16) Jean-Francois Dery, 20. (30) 21. (15) Donnie Lashua, 22. (13) Jamie Fisher, 23. (17) Ray Parent, 24. (9) Ricky Rolfe, 25. (14) Aaron Fellows, 26. (19) Jamie Aube, 27. (20) Dany Trepanier, 28. (10) Jean-Paul Cyr, 29. (38) Luke Hinkley, 30. (39) TJ Brackett, 31. (42) Dave Farrington, 32. (36) Richard Staskowski, 33. (43) Ben Ashline, 34. (7) Dan McHattie, 35. (35) Todd Davis, 36. (37) Ben Lynch, 37. (18) Brent Dragon, 38. (1) Phil Scott, 39. (40) Mark Lamberton, 40. (4) Pete Yetman, 41. (34) Jeff White, 42. (21) David Michaud, 43. (41) Ryan Vanasse.
White Mountain Motorsports Park
Final Points: Late Model – 1. Quinny Welch 840 (7 wins, 13 top 5s), Stacy Cahoon 773 (1 win, 8 top 5s), 3. Travis Fadden 752 (2 wins, 8 top 5s), 4. Tyler Cahoon 748 (1 win, 5 top 5s), 5. Todd Aldrich 715 (0 wins, 5 top 5s).
Strictly Stock – 1. Elwin Sidney III 893 (5 wins, 11 top 3s), 2. Lucas Wheeler 870 (3 wins, 10 top 3s), 3. Jody Sicard 837 (2 wins, 6 top 3s), 4. Brandon Allbee 827 (2 wins 6 top 3s), 5. Shane Sicard 799 (1 wins, 2 top 5s).
Strictly Stock Mini – 1. Kyle Willis 871 (1 win, 7 top 3s), 2. Lisa Hodgdon 813 (0 wins, 3 top 3s), 3. Jason Fallman 811 (2 wins, 8 top 3s), 4. Desirae Sicard 805 (0 wins, 4 top 3s), 5. Travis Dickinson 797 90 wins, 5 top 3s).
Tigers – 1. Jeff Huntington 803 (2 wins, 8 top 3s), 2. Sean Akers 740 $ wins, 7 top 3s), 3. Tim Churchill 660 (6 wins, 10 top 3s), 4. Michael Moore 529 0 wins, 5 top 3s) 5. David Baron 333 (0 wins, 1 top 3).
Thunder Road – Oct. 1: 10 a.m., Front gate opens and practice starts.
1:30 p.m., Tiger Sportsmen Heats, Street Stock Heats, Junkyard Warrior Heat, Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Time Trials for Late Models, Tiger Consi, Street Stock B-Feature (if needed), Junkyard Warrior Feature, Late Model “Triple 50s,” Late Model Final Practice
Oct. 2: 10 a.m., gates open.
11 a.m., practice starts.
1 p.m., Late Model B-feature, Pre-Race Ceremonies/Intro Segment 1 People’s United Bank Milk Bowl (50L), Tiger B-Feature (if needed), Street Stocks Feature (35L), Segment 2 (75 laps), Tiger Sportsmen Feature (50L), Segment 3 (75 laps).
K&N Pro East: Sept. 30 – Dover Downs
Pro All Star Series: Oxford Plains Speedway, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. start
WMMP: Done for the season.
Bear Ridge: Done for the season.
Riverside Speedway: Not racing this weekend.
Until Next Week
Join me both days at Thunder Road, but remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”