It’s not right to call the eight-time American Canadian Tour Late Model Champion Brian Hoar lucky, but last Sunday at Lee he was lucky. He was handed the lead on lap 131 after Joey Polewarczyk Jr., who was running second, spun the leader Eddie MacDonald coming off turn two. They both restarted at the rear.
• After the race Polewarczyk Jr. was crushed even though he raced back to fourth. After the race he said he certainly didn’t mean to spin MacDonald. From where I was standing I think he just meant to give Eddie a “hey I need a lane” tap – after the two made contact at the start/finish line as Joey was looking to drive by him on the high side with fresher tires.
To me it looked like MacDonald didn’t get off turn two as fast as he had been in the previous few laps and Polewarczyk Jr. poked him which turned him around.
After the race Ricky St. Clair from Vermont Motorsports Magazine (www.vtmotormag.com) chatted with Joey. “(MacDonald) knew I had faster tires, and I could have just waited a lap to go by him, but I got to the throttle and he didn’t. It’s stupid because it cost me the race and wrecked our chances of winning. I feel terrible for Eddie.
“I’m really happy with everyone (on the crew) and how they were able to keep me cool. I was so upset with myself inside the car, a couple of years ago I would have lost my mind and probably wrecked the car after that.”
• By ACT rule, if you spin the leader off your front bumper you go to the rear, no questions asked. It turned out to be what appears to be a 20-point swing. Had Polewarczyk Jr. won the race and Hoar finished third, Joey would have received 75 points to Hoar’s 66 points. But instead Hoar got 75 and Joey only 64.
I don’t have to tell anyone who’s followed this Tour for any length of time, you don’t want to be giving away points, especially to that 37VT bunch.
• I need to tell you I like, nope, make that I love the new rule which allows the teams six tires for this race. And I’ll admit I’m not paying the tire bill.
The rule has always been you run the same four tires all day unless you’re flat on the rim. In 2012, six of the 10 races on the schedule teams will be allowed to use six tires.
The six-tire races bring an entirely different strategy. In a 150-lapper do you wait until around lap 100 before you pit? What if the yellow comes out on lap 79, do you pit then or wait another 20 or 25 laps? You never know that may be the last yellow. What happens if you were waiting for around lap 100 but the caution doesn’t come out until lap 130? Do you pit with only 20 laps to go?
I believe Jean-Paul Cyr pitted for tires during the caution on lap 36. Others pitted during the lap 44 caution for a chassis adjustment but didn’t change tires, knowing they were pitting for tires later.
Going forward this will be exciting for the fans. Keep in mind this Tour is known for their many, many laps of green flag racing.
• I asked Tom earlier this week, “I know there are four races scheduled that are four-tire races. After this race is there any thought of going to six for those? What are the pros and cons to four vs. six? Of course, the extra $240 for those two extra tires is a factor.”
He replied, “I agree it added a whole new and exciting dimension. We probably won’t change for this year. Devil’s Bowl is only 112 laps and that track does not eat tires. Oxford and Beech Ridge always seem to have very competitive events late, so there does not seem to be a good reason to have teams spend unnecessary money at those places. The same is really true of WMMP. All those tracks have smaller purses and considerably smoother surfaces that don’t use up tires like Lee and Thunder Road. The purses are larger at Thunder Road, Sanair, Riverside in Quebec and Airborne.”
• It was Hoar’s second straight NH Governor’s Cup 150 season opener at Lee USA Speedway and his 34th career ACT Late Model Tour win.
• Hoar pocketed $3,550 for car owner Rick Paya. The win brings his career earnings to $200,074 for his 132 point counting event starts to date, including point fund awards. He sits second on the all-time ACT Late Model career earnings list, trailing seven-time ACT Champion Jean-Paul Cyr with $219,957.
• Hoar began competing on the ACT Late Model Tour during its inaugural season in 1992. He secured at least one win each season through 2000, while earning five titles. After taking several years off, he returned to ACT in 2009 to earn his sixth title and repeated in 2010 and 2011. He leads most major ACT categories including career top fives and laps led.
• Wayne Helliwell Jr. was all over Hoar during the final 20 laps but couldn’t get around him clean, so he settled for second. And it wasn’t for lack of effort. Knowing that 27NH team they want to do two things, one is to win their first ACT race and two is to beat Hoar. Last season they had a banner year with 10 top 10s in 12 events yet they finished second to Hoar to by a whopping 135 points.
• Forty-one cars attempted to qualify for one of the 28 spots in the main event.
• At Thunder next weekend, everyone who went to Lee has a shot at one of the two provisionals come B-feature time.
• Three guys attempted to qualify for their first-ever ACT Late Model Tour race. They were Robert Pelland III, Ryan Green and Todd Patnode. So in the 225 ACT Late Model Tour point-counting races run to date (1992 to present), 638 different drivers have taken a green flag in a heat race.
• The Milk Bowl Memories contest, as part of the season-long celebration of this year’s 50th People’s United Bank is ongoing. The winner of the contest receives two 2013 Thunder Road general admission season passes. Weekly winners win free tickets to this year’s Milk Bowl, so the sooner you get your entry in the more chances you have at the weekly prize. For all the details check out www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com.
The race at Texas last Saturday night had only two cautions. That’s a record there. The previous low was five cautions. Only 10 laps run behind the pace car was also a record. And one of the yellows flew for a ball cap on the track. Good thing they removed that dangerous hazard. The average speed of 160.577 was also a track record.
• Greg Biffle broke a 49-race winless streak, it was his eighth straight top 10 at Texas.
• It was the ninth win for Roush Racing there. No other team has more than three. It was the third time they’ve swept the Nationwide and Cup race there.
• The race finished with 234 laps without a yellow.
• The Kevin Harvick team found a $100 bill on their grill during one of the pit stops. No word on how many fans have called the shop claiming they lost it. I’m guessing it’s more fans than were in the grandstands.
• Rick Hendrick won his first Cup race with Geoff Bodine back in 1984 driving the No. 5. It was only the team’s eighth start. They went on to win two more races that season. That year there were only 30 races on the schedule.
Hendrick Motorsports is now winless in their last 13 races, and remember they have four chances every race. It’s their longest winless streak since back in 2002-03, when they went 15 races between wins.
Last Saturday night was the first time this year all four Hendrick cars finished in the top 10.
• If the playoffs started today Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon wouldn’t be part of it.
• Mark Martin has missed two of the seven races, yet he’s ahead of Regan Smith, Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, Marcos Ambrose, Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears, David Ragan, David Gilliland, David Reutimann, Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill and Michael McDowell in points, who have all run all seven events. That’s 14 guys, fans. He’s also ahead of four other guys who have run six of the seven races.
• The guys who have earned the most points in last 10 races (including the final three of 2011 are Tony Stewart (372) Martin Truex Jr. (355), Greg Biffle (354), Matt Kenseth (347), and Carl Edwards with 345.
NASCAR’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Needs a Wake-up Call
He’ll beat me up when he sees me next weekend at Thunder Road because he’ll tell you announcers shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, but I’m telling you Ken Squier belongs in NASCAR’s Hall of Fame.
There are 15 guys in and recently five new people were nominated bringing that list back to 25. You can’t convince me 40 people belong in the Hall of Fame before Kenly.
Racing is alive and well (although struggling a tad) today because of promotions. The idea is to get the word out to the masses. That’s true if your selling racing, hotdogs, computers or bowling or every thing else.
With the exception of P.T. Barnum who convinced the world everyone needed to go to the circus to watch monkeys riding elephants or maybe the guy who invented the pet rock, there’s no better promoter than Ken Squier. I ask you, where would NASCAR be if Ken Squier loved golf and not racing?
Most everyone knows he single-handedily convinced CBS TV to show the 1979 Daytona 500 live flag-to-flag. Sure it helped the East Coast was snowed-in and people were home to watch it. And there’s the end where the Allison Brothers, Donnie and Bobby, showed some displeasure with Cale Yarbrough so the fans wanted to tune in next week to see who was fighting who. What if the race wasn’t televised … we’ll never know!
It was Ken who started the Motor Racing Network (MRN). He knew early on you wanted the same announcers at each track and not some guy who spent the last 10 years following high school ping-pong calling some of the races. That’s true today at some tracks. Sadly some tracks have fans staying away because their announcer is just plain bad.
Calling the Daytona 500 “The Great American Race” was his idea. It was also his idea to put a camera inside the race car. Think about that for a minute, a camera inside the car showing us what the driver saw. The 1982 Daytona 500 was the first time they tried that. In 1984 it was Ken who called Yarbrough and asked if it would be alright if he chatted with him during the race.
He co-founded World Sports Enterprises with Fred Rheinstein. It was the first television production company to specialize in motorsports.
It’s time, put him in, and do it soon!!
Until Next Week
Get out and support some short-track racing. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”