RC3 Looks for Major 'W' in ACT Return to Waterford

This Saturday brings one final challenge for Ray Christian III and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl’s Late Model drivers


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Since returning to competing weekly at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Ray Christian III has become the top mark in the Late Model division over that last two seasons, all culminating with his first ever track title this year.

This Saturday brings one final challenge for RC3 and the Speedbowl’s Late Model drivers, going wheel-to-wheel with the stars of the American-Canadian Tour for 150 laps to defend home asphalt.

Though D.J. Shaw clinched the 2022 ACT Late Model title this past Saturday at Seekonk Speedway, the opportunity to win the final race of the ACT season still remains. Since the announcement of the now season-ending Shoreline Twin 150’s for both the ACT Late Models and Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, there has been much excitement among drivers planning to attend. Especially, among Speedbowl stars.

“For sure! It’s always exciting when you have a touring series coming to your home track. It should be a good opportunity, hopefully our running there weekly plays into our favor a bit, we just got to revert to a few years ago with saving your stuff. Can’t just go for the sprints anymore, it should be interesting,” Christian told Racing America.

RC3’s first Speedbowl title was earned through dominant consistency, while also fending off foes such as three-time Late Model Bowl champion Jason Palmer.

“We won seven races, locked up the championship with two races to go, and just put a hurting on them. It was a dream season for us, we never finished outside the top three until the finale, but the points were over with. You talk about seasons like that in the shop and very rarely do they come to fruition.”

After scaling back from competing in Super Late Models from 2018 through 2020 to focus on his growing family, Christian got an opportunity to race again at the Speedbowl for fellow driver Randy Cole just before the 2021 season.

“I didn’t think I was going to be racing last year, then last minute the deal came up from Randy to drive his car. Then halfway through last year my wife and I bought out the car, this was our first full year as car owners. It’s interesting for sure, we both just work regular 40-hour a week jobs, luckily we stayed out of trouble and it didn’t cost us too much more money. Hopefully we can do more of the same next year.”

While it has a narrow racing surface, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl has been long praised by local and out-of-town racers as a tremendous two-groove track; including for Late Models.

“ACT Late Models are built for a track like the Speedbowl, it’s a true multiple-groove racetrack. You can run the top or bottom, there’s not a lot of tracks up where you can do that for long, let alone for 20 or 30 laps side by side. Jason Palmer and I would put on battles for 15 or 20 laps without batting an eye. Between the Speedbowl guys and the ACT regulars, it’s going to be a great show.”

After cutting his teeth as a youngster in Mini Stocks at the Bowl, Christian moved up to Late Models. Eventually in 2017 with backing from Crazy Horse Racing, he did a full season on the ACT Late Model Tour, but with limited success. But RC3 is not the same driver as he was then.

“We ran ACT fulltime in 2017 and we were still pretty green when it came to the cars, going to new tracks, and making it last for 150 laps. We ground our teeth for sure. But, doing Granite State, PASS, and a couple races down south with the Super Late Model, it definitely helped as far as racing higher caliber guys over the longer races, that changed me as a driver. We learned a lot along the way, our weekly program with the Late Model in 2017 was nothing like it is now.”

During his three years in Super Late Models, Christian’s major turning point came in the 2018 Granite State Pro Stock Series season finale which was held at Waterford. He celebrated his first SLM in front of many happy hometown fans. He hopes to celebrate in front of them again this weekend.

“To date, that’s still my biggest win. The home track feels, first ever Super Late Model win, passing Ben Rowe with 15 laps to go to do it; you can’t replace that. But, winning on Saturday would be up there; putting your alongside the guys that have won the Shoreline 150, and everyone that’s won on the ACT Tour over the years. A local guy has never won at Waterford on the ACT Tour, so to be the first to do it would be pretty killer.”

Along with the Shoreline Twin 150’s for ACT and PASS you can also see the season finales for the New England Supermodified Series and New England Pro 4 Modifieds, along with the Northeast Street Stock Championship. Post time is 1pm ET this Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Those unable to make it to the Connecticut Shoreline can watch live on RacingAmerica.tv.