Loudon, NH — We couldn’t properly call it the Northeast Classic without Mother Nature staying true and changing the weather 987-times in a seventy-two-hour span. We experienced it all, warm sunshine, blistering winds, downpouring rain, skies both clear and packed with clouds and even the occasional flurry of snow. Through it all, well over a hundred different stock cars took to the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 2nd Annual Northeast Classic with Derek Gluchacki taking the biggest win of his career in the 50-lap ACT Late Model Tour season-opening event.
Unfortunate mechanical failures from early-season gremlins whittled a 38-car field that participated in Friday practice to a 32-car starting grid for Sunday’s Northeast Classic. Bolstered by Canadian teams returning stateside for the first time in two years, a strong contingent of new faces and a collection of old favorites, the American-Canadian Tour was ready to start off the 31st season of Late Model racing in the Northeast United States and Canada.
Case-in-point, when the field started off for warm-up laps they were led by St-Edouard, Quebec’s Dany Trepanier, multi-time ACT winner Dillon Moltz and Jeffery Lebrecque Jr. from Strafford, New Hampshire. From the initial green, it was the ‘5’ show. Moltz in the RB Performance #5ME led the early goings with the #5MA of Tom Carey III hot on his heels.
On Lap 13, Quebec City’s Alexandre Tardif got sideways coming out of turn-two and slammed hard into the inside retaining wall on the backstretch, allowing the #91QC of Patrick Laperle, among others, to hit pit road for much needed adjustments. On the restart, Moltz chose the outside which allowed Carey to taking the lead on Lap 14 using the inside line. The five’s continued to stay in file across the speedway with the #7NH of former North East Mini Stock Tour (NEMST) champion Cody Leblanc stalling out in his rookie-year venture with ACT.
Following the Lap 26 competition caution, ‘TC-3’ continued to lead with Moltz stalking from behind, closely followed by DJ Shaw and Jimmy Hebert in third and fourth. This foursome would pace the field with Gluchacki and local Late Model star Jaime Swallow Jr. jousting each other in and out of the Top-5. Given the ten-to-go signal from Chief Starter Jason Lamoy, Hebert became the first to step out and try a new line, nearly taking second from Moltz in turn-two. Poised to work the bottom again in turns three and four, it all went up in smoke when Woody Pitkat and Raphael Lessard smashed into the turn-four SAFER barrier, ending their day just nine laps early.
On the restart, Hebert again darted to the bottom under Carey just after the start/finish line before bombarding into turn-one. Again, the move would be squandered by a yellow flag flying after the frontstretch spin by Derek Ming and a right-front flat tire under the Shawn Swallow machine. A second restart proved disastrous when Hebert went spinning, sliding backward into the turn-two wall, pinching 2021 Rookie of the Year Erick Sands with him while the avoidance-melee took several mid-packers including Jacob Burns, Remi Perreault, Jamie Swallow Sr. and Robby Gordon Douglas.
Following the red flag cleanup, Carey would lead Gluchacki, Moltz, Shaw and Jamie Swallow Jr. to the final restart of the race. Gluchacki launched beneath the Brookside Equipment #5MA, leading Lap 44 while a three-wide blanket of yellow and orange followed in the fight for fourth with Laperle pushing past Swallow Jr. and Moltz to steal the position. Keeping his momentum, Laperle would lead over Shaw for third on Lap-45 by just a grill cover! Carey would mount one final charge against Gluchacki in the final two laps, but the #03MA prevailed.
Gluchacki’s victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the biggest of his young career, his second ACT Late Model Tour win following Thompson Speedway’s Sunoco World Series in 2021. Tom Carey III earned his second-consecutive silver Northeast Classic trophy while Patrick Laperle made his return to the United States a statement, earning his best NHMS finish in third. DJ Shaw in the A.H. Fence #04VT took fourth and Dillon Moltz capped a strong run with fifth. 2013 Serie-ACT Champion Dany Trepanier took sixth, defending ACT Tour champion Ben Rowe charged from 25th to finish seventh, Jamie Swallow Jr., Jean-Phillippe Bergeron and Shawn Swallow rounded out the top-10.
The ACT Late Model Tour returns to its roots with the 24th Annual Community Bank N.A. 150 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont on Sunday, May 1st. The ACT Late Models will also join the annual Thunder Road car show and practice day on Saturday, April 30th alongside the Lenny’s Show & Apparel Flying Tigers, rk Miles Street Stocks and Burnett Scrap Metals Road Warriors. Race-day schedules, times and pricing information will be available soon on both acttour.com and thunderroadvt.com. The Community Bank N.A. 150 will also be available live online and around the world on FloRacing!
For more information about the American-Canadian Tour, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.acttour.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.
-ACT Tour Press Release
-Photo credit: Alan Ward