-by Justin St. Louis

Torco Racing Fuels was recently named the Official Fuel Supplier of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT), in a partnership with Rob Tower of RT Raceparts in Hudson, NH.  Torco will be used in all Late Model cars competing on the ACT Late Model Tour, the Série ACT Castrol, and at Thunder Road in Barre, VT, and will provide championship and point fund bonuses to racers at the end of the season.

ACT, RT Raceparts, and Torco will also begin testing an unleaded fuel in race cars on both sides of the border in 2008, with the anticipation of a full-time switch to unleaded fuel in 2009.  It is expected that, not unlike current ACT rules including Goodyear tires, Koni shocks, and the ACT “spec” engine, Torco will become the fuel of choice by several tracks in the area.

“Having Torco Racing Fuels and RT Raceparts as our exclusive fuel supplier for 2008 and beyond will benefit all divisions of ACT, Thunder Road, and our associated members,” said ACT President Tom Curley.

In addition to the integration of unleaded fuel into ACT racing, Curley said the decision to partner with Torco was helped by the company’s fast and accurate method of testing fuel at the track.  As the current ACT rules have tightened the competition in recent years, it has become apparent that some teams have been looking to different fuel combinations for an advantage, including using multiple blends of octane and/or additives that may be in they “grey area” of the ACT rule book.

“Our relationship with Torco and RT Raceparts will address major issues involving the technical inspection of our race cars,” he said in a press release.  Curley notes that the required Torco fuel for ACT events will have its own blend and dye, and the on-site testing equipment developed by Torco will produce immediate – and most importantly, correct – results.

“The full support we are receiving from both companies will help to maintain the integrity of the fuel required in our rule book,” Curley finished.  “We thank Rob Tower for his cooperation in bringing this exciting new program to ACT racing.”


We took in the New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet in East Windsor, CT on Sunday, and left with a feeling of pride for one of our own, as St. Johnsbury, VT’s Johnny Gammell was inducted into the Hall by the NEAR Veterans Committee.  Gammell, a former winner of the Vermont State Stock Car Championship, the Chittenden Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, the 1959 Northeastern Speedway title, and countless feature victories over a 25-year career was honored by the Veterans Committee with Rhode Island’s “Lead Foot” Fred Luchesi and George Lombardo of Connecticut.  Gammell was previously honored with the Rice Memorial Good
Sportsmanship Award in 1963 and the Don MacTavish Award in 1971.

“Johnny was a quiet, shy kind of guy,” remembered Harold “Hard Luck” Hanaford, a competitor and friend of Gammell’s.  “But when strapped in that car, everything changed, he became a fierce competitor.  Given equal cars, there’s nobody I raced with that I’d have a harder time getting by.  He’d never hit anybody to get around ‘em. He’d just race you hard and clean.”

Other inductees on the day included famed Maine driver Dave Darveau; Connecticut Modified racer Dave Alkas; New Hampshire Supermodified stars Dick Batchelder and the late Howie Brown; the late Mike Scrivani, Sr., a long-time Midget and Modified owner; driver, photographer, announcer, and television and print journalist Dr. Dick Berggren; Modified owner Joe Brady; and writer Pete Zanardi.  While making his acceptance speech, Zanardi received a phone call of congratulations from the widely-recognized Dean of Motorsports, Chris Economaki.

Gammell is just the third Vermont native to be inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame, joining Milton driver
Harmon “Beaver” Dragon (Class of 2004) and Thunder Road Founder Ken Squier of Waterbury (Class of 2002).  Other members with ties to ACT and/or Thunder Road include drivers Ernie Gahan (’98), Rene Charland (‘98), Don MacTavish (’01), Dick McCabe (’02), Stub Fadden (’03), Robbie Crouch (’06), Jean-Paul Cabana (’07), Dave Dion (’07), and John Rosati (’07), and car builders/owners Fred Rosner (’01) and George Barber (’07).


Not much to report as far as the Speedfest events at Florida’s USA Int’l Speedway in Lakeland.  ACT part-timers Ben and Mike Rowe were both very strong in practice and qualifying, but loaded up wrecked race cars and headed home before the 200-lap Super Late Model main event started on Sunday.  Ben was leading his Friday night qualifier on lap 13 when the engine broke and he slammed the Turn 1 wall, destroying his car.  Mike finished fourth in that race, but blew a tire in practice on Saturday morning, hit the wall hard, and was done for the weekend.  Neither driver was injured.

Former White Mountain Motorsports Park champion D.J. Shaw, who made two ACT Late Model Tour starts in 2006, carried the northern banner at Speedfest.  The New Hampshire teen ran both the ASA Crat Late Model and Super Late Model events, driving from 13th to finish 5th in the ASA event and from 37th to 12th in the SLM race.

ACT Late Model Tour racers Joey Polewarczyk, Eric Chase, and Ryan Nolin will be in Florida for the 42nd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway February 8-16.


Did you know…?

-Twelve different drivers finished inside the Top 5 in their first Série ACT Castrol start (in some cases, their only start) during the 2007 season.  Obviously, the first five drivers at the season opener at Autodrome Montmagny (Donald Theetge, Jeff Déry, Sylvain Lacombe, Alexandre Gingras, and Marc-André Cliche) were in that group.  Here’s a look at the others: André Coursol (5th, St-Eustache in May); Mario Gosselin (3rd, Chaudière in June); Dave Pembroke (2nd, Capital City in June); Brian Hoar (4th, St-Eustache in July); Ryan Nolin (5th, Ste-Croix in August); Rick Rump (4th, Capital City in June); and Roger Brown (2nd, St-Eustache in July).

-Randy Potter, Jean-Paul Cyr, Joey Polewarczyk, Doug Coombs, and David Avery, started the ACT Late Model Tour season in the Top 5 at Oxford, and five more drivers began their Tour season in the Top 5: Trampas Demers (4th, Thunder Road in May); Sylvain Lacombe (3rd, St-Eustache in July); Jacques Laperle (5th, St-Eustache in July); Eddie MacDonald (1st, Oxford in August); and Pete Vanderwyst (2nd, Kawartha in September).

Comments, questions, and feedback are always welcome at media@acttour.com.  Stay up to date with all the latest at www.acttour.com, www.laserieactcastrol.com, and www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com!