RPM Eager To Unleash 2-Car Effort In Florida

ACT LogoGEORGIA, Vt. — The inaugural ACT Goodyear Speedweeks Cup may serve as a showcase for the ACT Late Model Tour next week, but RPM Motorsports hopes it serves as a springboard to another championship season.

RPM will field two cars at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in 100-lap main events on Sunday, Feb. 13, and Monday, Feb. 14 — one for seven-time ACT champion Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., and another for second-year driver Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, Maine.

It seems the goal — beyond visiting Victory Lane — is to get a two-car team up to speed as quickly as possible.

“It’s crucial that we get out there and start working and getting to know each other,” Hoar said. “I really don’t know Austin that well — I look forward to spending some time with him. Obviously, working with (team owner and crew chief Rick Paya) will be great to see what becomes of him. I’m sure Austin puts enough pressure on himself.

“It will be a lot of fun to work with a new driver and see where it goes.”

Theriault, just 17 and fresh of a strong rookie season in ACT last year, said he hopes to soak in as much information as he can from the likes of Hoar and Paya. RPM briefly utilized a two-car operation on a part-time basis in recent seasons.

“It’s definitely going to be new waters that we have to explore as individuals,” Theriault said. “A couple of us coming over from the old team, we have to explore what RPM’s all about. I know what they’re about, but we have to get in sync with Rick and the way he likes stuff done.

“This is a good opportunity to do that before points start to count and before the bulk of the races get going to see what we need to work on, see what we have down pat and see what we can improve on in terms of communication and working as a team.”

Paya is eager to unload in Florida and see his teams start to flourish.

“I’m looking forward to going down there,” Paya said. “We’re one big team under one banner, we really are, and that’s the part I’m excited about.”

Even though a fair amount of the Florida trip will be devoted to gelling as an organization, Hoar was quick to point out that he remains focused on the same thing he usually does behind the wheel of the No. 37 GossCars.com Dodge Charger — whether it’s an off-season race or not.

“My idea is to go down and try to win,” said Hoar, who owns the all-time ACT mark with 27 career victories.

“There’s obviously no pressure at all with these races, in terms of points or anything like that,” Paya said. “But at the same time, I want to win. That’s just me. Everytime we go somewhere, we want to give the guys the best cars we can to try and do that.”

A 28-car starting field expected for both nights will stand in the way of that, but so, too, will a race track that RPM teams have never competed on. In fact, only three of the ACT teams entered next week have race experience on New Smyrna’s fast, high-banked half-mile.

Hoar has been racing long enough in the northeast that he rarely visits tracks he’s never been to before, though his experience allows him to adapt quickly to new places. For Theriault’s part, he’s become accustomed to new things, as his rookie season was peppered with first visits to facilities virtually every week.

“Yeah. everything really has been new for me, and this is going to be no different,” said Theriault, who will drive the No. 57 Varney Insurance Ford Fusion. “It seems we were always a new team, new people, new track, new car. I guess I’m getting used to change.

“Hopefully there will come a day this year where the tracks will become more familiar. But being with RPM, it’s a very, very professional organization. You can see the teamwork, and how it succeeds toward victory. With all their success, there’s nothing they leave behind, no details that they miss.”

Teams will qualify through traditional heat races for Sunday night’s event. On Monday night, the finishing order from that first race will be inverted to comprise the starting grid for the second 100-lap main. An overall champion will be determined based on lowest total “score,” determined by adding the numeric totals of a team’s two finishes.

“Certainly it shines a little light on us,” Hoar said of having ACT compete during Speedweeks, just days before the Daytona 500 a few miles down the road. “We really get a couple of premiere nights out of the deal. In all the Late Model Digest magazines and newspapers, ACT is recognized as a strong Late Model series. I think sometimes the ‘Late Model’ thing gets us tagged as a “baseline division’, but I think our race model, the number of cars we have and the competition is strong.

“This is a good chance for us to showcase that.”

Green flag is slated for 7:30 p.m. both nights.