-by Justin St. Louis

It may be the dead of a snowy, cold winter, but a handful of American-Canadian Tour racers are headed to the
track.  With Florida’s, ahem, slightly warmer climate than the frigid northeast, no less than five drivers with
ties to ACT are headed to the south the get their off-season fix.

Beginning this weekend at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL, the 4th annual “Speedfest” will see northern
representation from Maine racers Mike and Ben Rowe.  Ben, who scored Top 5 finishes in ACT Late Model Tour
competition at Thunder Road’s Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 and Chittenden Milk Bowl last season, is a heavy
favorite to take back a win that slipped away at Speedfest in 2007.  Father Mike, himself a Top 5 runner at the
Milk Bowl and the 1994 ACT Champion, will do his best to see that his boy waits another year.  Among the drivers
pre-registered are former Speedfest winners Eddie Hoffman and Charlie Menard, NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Busch
and David Stremme, and former White Mountain Motorsports Park Champion D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH.  Racing at
USA Int’l Speedway is January 24-26.

Two weeks later, up the road a piece in New Smyrna Beach, the 42nd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
will take place over nine consecutive nights of short track racing at New Smyrna Speedway.  Eight divisions will
compete during one of the longest, most stressful – and, by most reports, most fun – weeks in racing, kicking off
the traditional “Speedweeks” festival in Florida.

In the “Crate Lates” at New Smyrna – a crate-engine class of Late Model cars similar to those run in ACT, but
closer to the American Speed Association (ASA) Late Models of the Midwest and Southeast – ACT will be well-
represented by New Hampshire young gun Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk and Vermont teammates Eric Chase and Ryan Nolin.
Polewarczyk (at Seekonk Speedway) and Nolin (at Airborne Speedway) each took their first career ACT Late Model
Tour victories in 2007, while Chase was a solid performer to finish 11th in points.

Eighteen year-old Polewarczyk tried his hand at the World Series in 2006 running a Limited Late Model (sort of a
cross between a NAPA Tiger Sportsman car and a Late Model), but suffered a series of engine woes that kept him on
the sidelines for most of the week.  After blowing engines on each of the first two nights of racing, then-16 year-
old Joey Pole drove to an impressive sixth-place finish from the back of the field with a borrowed powerplant.
The next night, even that motor blew.  Polewarczyk, now in a different car, of course, is almost guaranteed a
better experience this time around.

Chase and Nolin, who have aligned themselves under one roof for 2008, will share the driving duties behind the
wheel of Chase’s #40 car.

“Everyone around is here all pumped up, ready to go,” said Chase from his Mansfield Heliflight headquarters in
Milton, VT on Monday.  “We’ve just finished up the new car, and now we’re figuring out our travel plans.”

Chase says it’s unclear whether he will drive on opening night, or if Nolin will steer the car.  “We’ll play it by
ear.  I’m too old to race every night, so Ryan’s going to have fill in for me,” he joked.

The veteran driver pointed out that although the crate-engine Late Models are the second-tier division at the
World Series, the competition will still be tough and exciting.

“That other class is just a week-long game of seeing how much money you can blow,” he said.  “There are some
talented drivers, sure, but if you wreck a car or blow a motor, you’re taking a major hit in the wallet for no
good reason.  We have plenty of talent in this division, too.  My team has come a long way, and we’re good enough
to race anywhere in the northeast, so we’re going to try our hand down south, too.”

Chase is right about the talent level in the Crate Lates; top drivers like Jimmy Lang, Drew Brannon, Tyler
Townsend, and Keaton Feller have entered the division for 2008, along with NASCAR Nationwide Series competitor
Jerick Johnson.  Brannon was a feature winner during last year’s World Series, while 15 year-old Townsend, of
Longview, TX, won in just his fourth start behind the wheel of a Late Model car at New Smyrna last year, finishing
third in points.  The World Series begins on Friday, February 8 and runs each night through Saturday, February 16.

To follow along with your favorite ACT drivers down south, click on www.newsmyrnaspeedway.org for the World Series
at New Smyrna Speedway, or www.usaspeedway.com for Speedfest.


Brent Dragon of Milton, VT has filed the first full-season entry for the ACT Late Model Tour’s 2008 season.
Dragon will drive the #55 Beverage Mart/Furniture World of Vermont Chevrolet in all 12 scheduled events, and
reports that he is “more excited this year than I’ve been in a long time.”

With the crew chief services of chassis specialist Mike Kenyon behind him, Dragon will try to finally get the
elusive ACT Late Model Tour title that Jean-Paul Cyr has been keeping for himself these last five years.  Dragon
posted a win at White Mountain Motorsports Park, runner-up finishes at Airborne and Ste-Croix, and finished third
in ACT points for the third straight year.


Did you know…?

-In a combined 25 starts on the ACT Late Model Tour in 2007, Joey Pole, Ryan Nolin, and Eric Chase tallied two
victories, six Top 5 finishes, and ten Top 10s.  Pole and Nolin each scored their first career victories, and
Pole’s 7th-place effort in points was a career-best.  Chase’s 11th-place points finish was the second highest of
his career, as he was 9th overall in 2005.

-It was feast or famine for Ben Rowe in ACT races in ’07:  In four starts, he had two Top 5 finishes, and two
finishes outside the top 25.  He began the season with handling problems at Oxford Plains Speedway (28th), then
suffered a flat tire in his next start at White Mountain (27th).  But he cranked it up at Thunder Road, which had
previously been his worst track, finishing 5th in the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic and 2nd at the Chittenden Milk
Bowl.  Father Mike Rowe, in three ACT starts, was 7th at Oxford in April, and 13th and 5th at Thunder Road.

-Brent Dragon, despite missing the field at OPS in April, put together a tremendous finishing average of 7.5 over
the balance of the season.  His win and pair of runner-up showings were complimented by three more Top 5s, and
only two finishes worse than 11th: a 16th at Oxford in the green-to-checkers Time Warner Cable 100, and 21st at
Kawartha Speedway after a flat tire.