After months of anticipation, the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) is ready for the inaugural Commonwealth Classic 65 at Richmond Raceway. Over the next few days, at least 38 ACT Late Model teams from the U.S. and Canada will make the trek to Virginia for the race on Saturday, March 30 at 1:00pm. Officials and fans will join them to see the long-running Northeast series take on the ¾-mile D-shaped speedway for the first time.
Everyone involved is excited about finally getting to race on the historic track. Richmond has hosted more than 200 events in NASCAR’s top-3 series along with events for the NTT IndyCar Series, the USAC Silver Crown Series, and the now-defunct International Race of Champions (IROC). Both Richmond Raceway and its predecessor, the ½-mile Richmond Fairgrounds Speedway, have been the site of some of the most famous moments in North American motorsports. ACT goes into Saturday’s event hoping to add at least one more moment to that list.
“We can’t wait to actually get to Richmond and get out on the track,” ACT managing partner Cris Michaud said. “The excitement for this event has been apparent from the moment we announced it. Drivers, crew members, car owners, everybody we talk to is thrilled to be heading down. We’re ready to show the fans of Richmond what ACT racing is all about, and we think they’re going to love it.”
The entry list is filled with racers that are familiar to Northeast racing fans. Some of them could end up being household names in Virginia by the end of the weekend. Five former ACT champions headline the drivers making the trek to Richmond this weekend. St-Denis, QC’s Patrick Laperle has five total championships between the ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT. He’s also looking for his 45th ACT-sanctioned Late Model victory. Former ACT U.S. champions Wayne Helliwell Jr. of Dover, NH; Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, NH; and Nick Sweet of Barre, VT are joining Laperle in Richmond, as is 2017 Série ACT Champion Jonathan Bouverette of Blainville, QC.
A number of racers on the entry list also have track championships under ACT rules. Hinesburg, VT’s Bobby Therrien was the 2017 Late Model Champion at Thunder Road while E. Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn captured the 2018 title at Seekonk Speedway. Rehoboth, MA’s Nicholas Johnson was also a 2018 champion at Thompson Speedway. Current ACT Late Model Tour standout Rich Dubeau of Lebanon, NH previously won Late Model championships at Canaan Fair Speedway and Claremont Speedway. All told, nearly one-third of the drivers in the field have a touring series or track championship in an ACT Late Model.
Still others are on the rise or have established themselves as top competitors in an ACT Late Model. Graniteville, VT’s John Donahue is one of the winningest Late Model racers in Thunder Road history, and his son Stephen already has Late Model wins to his credit at multiple tracks. Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert has been one of the top ACT Tour runners for nearly a decade and finished third in points this past season. Tom Carey III, Marcel J. Gravel, Mark Jenison, Boomer Morris, and Marc Begin are just some of the other entries who earned wins in an ACT Late Model in 2018.
All of these racers and then some are officially committed to be part of one of the biggest events in ACT’s 34-year history. For many of the drivers traveling to Richmond, it will be their first time at the track at all, never mind their first time racing there. As such, everyone from multi-time track and series champions to brand-new Late Model teams will begin Friday’s open practice day on equal footing. Regardless, they will ready to put on a great show for racing fans everywhere while potentially adding a huge accomplishment to their racing résumé.
The $5,000-to-win ACT Commonwealth Classic 65 on Saturday, March 30 is part of a huge card of action for the event’s inaugural edition. The Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models will run both open and crate-engine 75-lap events. Richmond Raceway will also host the Tour-type Modifieds, Mid Atlantic Street Stocks, and North East Mini Stock Tour with almost $165,000 in total posted awards.
Qualifying for the Commonwealth Classic begins at 1:00pm. General grandstand admission is $40 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. These tickets also include tunnel access for the Fan Zone and Walkway areas of the garage. Open practice for all divisions will be held from 11:00am to 5:00pm on Friday, March 29. The Fan Zone and Walkway will be open on Friday, but the grandstands will not.
2019 ACT Commonwealth Classic Entry List
CAR# DRIVER HOMETOWN TEAM
1 4NY Brandon Atkins AuSable Forks, NY Northline Utilities Dodge Charger
2 5MA Tommy Carey III Warwick, MA Brookside Equiment Sales/Lyon Auction Chevy Monte Carlo
3 5VT Bobby Therrien Hinesburg, VT Therrien Motorsports Chevy Impala
4 6MA Nicholas Johnson Rehoboth, MA Propane Plus/Lins Propane Trucks Ford Fusion
5 9QC Mathieu Kingsbury Blainville, QC DuroKing/Dynamitage Piche Ford Fusion
6 10ME Jesse Switser Whitfield, NH Laflamme's Landscaping
7 13VT Boomer Morris Barre, VT K. Bellevance/Classic Auto Chevy Impala
8 15MA Jake Johnson Rehoboth, MA Daffodil's Gift Shop/Lin's Propane Trucks Chevy Monte Carlo
9 15NY Gerard Giordano Jr. Freeport, NY K-1 Logistics Chevy Impala
10 18QC Jean-Philippe Bergeron Saint-Donat, QC Prolon Controls/JC Perreault Chevy Impala
11 19NH Bryan Kruczek Newmarket, NH Little Webb's Fuel/Sunoco Chevy Camaro
12 20VT Blair Bessett Barton, VT Eric Johnson Ent./Sanborn Machine Chevy SS
13 21ON Alexandre Tardif Notre Dame des Pins, QC Gestion Roy Electrique Ford Fusion
14 22RI Mark Jenison Warwick, RI Jenison Motorsports Ford Mustang
15 26VT John Donahue Graniteville, VT Donahue Motorsports Chevy Monte Carlo
16 27NH Wayne Helliwell Jr. Dover, NH E Keys 4 Cars/Unique Ford Ford Fusion
17 28VT Stephen Donahue Graniteville, VT Donahue Motorsports Chevy Monte Carlo
18 29MA Joshua Hedges New Bedford, MA Chuckran Auto Parts/NLaro Photo Toyota
19 30NH Rich Dubeau Plainfield, NH Upper Valley Equipment Rental Toyota Camry
20 32NH Jeff Marshall Gilman, VT Knudson Salvage/Fadden Automotive Chevy Monte Carlo
21 37QC Marc Begin St-Philibert, QC Begin Auto Parts Chevy Impala
22 38VT Tyler Cahoon Danville, VT Berlin Optical Expressions/P&H Transportation Chevy Impala
23 40VT Nick Sweet Barre, VT Mansfield Heliflight Chevy Impala
24 41QC Jonathan Bouvrette Blainville, QC Globocam/DLGL Chevy
25 48QC Alex Guenette Terrebonne, QC Larue Industrial Snow Blower Chevy SS
26 58VT Jimmy Hebert Williamstown, VT Hebert Excavation/Lowrey's Auto Chevy SS
27 64VT Chris Pelkey Graniteville, VT Vermeer Chevy
28 72MA Ryan Kuhn East Bridgewater, MA Everetts Auto Parts/Berniers Liquors Chevy SS
29 72VT Scott Coburn Barre, VT Coburn Motorsports Chevy Impala
30 77MA Jimmy Linardy Malden, MA Kayem Hot Dogs Chevy SS
31 81CT Tyler Chapman Quaker Hill, CT B&W Paving/Advance Resources Chevy Impala SS
32 83QC Martin Goulet Jr. St. Calixte, QC Goulet Motorsport Chevy Impala SS
33 86VT Marcel J. Gravel Wolcott, VT Gravel Motorsports Toyota Camry
34 91QC Patrick Laperle St-Denis, QC FRAMECO Ford Fusion
35 97NH Joey Polewarczyk Jr. Hudson, NH Pole's Automotive/Headman Headers Ford Fusion
36 00MA TJ Moreshead Seekonk, MA T. Moreshead Landscaping/Miller Chiropractic Chevy Impala
37 04MA CJ McLaughlin Bellingham, MA SciAps/Eagle Leasing Trailers Chevy SS
38 04NH Shawn Swallow Lancaster, NH North Conway Incinerator/Central Paving Chevy Impala
as of 03.26.19