The American Canadian Tour (ACT) has announced a “Three Stars of the Race” award program for the 2014 race season. The program is designed to recognize three “non-podium” race teams who have had an outstanding race. Finishing position is not necessarily a criterion. The award will be based on team and/or individual effort. The award may be presented to the team based on an achievement by a crew member, crew chief, spotter, driver or owner.
A panel of race officials will select three stars at each 2014 point-counting event, the International 300 to be held July 20, 2014 at the Airborne Park Speedway, the Bond ACT Invitational at the New Hampshire International Speedway on September 20, 2014, and the Peoples United Bank Milk Bowl held at Thunder Road on October 4-5, 2014.
The teams picked will each receive a coupon for a free American Racer Tire valued at $125.00. From the various winners, one team will be selected as the single most outstanding star of the season. That team will be awarded $1,000.00 at the annual ACT Banquet of Champions.
“It became apparent to me at the Lee USA New Hampshire Governor’s Cup race last week that many stories developed throughout the weekend worthy of some kind of recognition. I spoke with other ACT officials and staff, and they concurred. That was the basis for developing this program. Obviously, as a hockey fan (note: the ACT +/- qualifying system) this is a “take-off” from the NHL three stars of the game program. Anyway, there is rarely a race that goes by without someone other than the top three making an impression. I think sometimes those efforts should be recognized,” said Tom Curley, President of the American Canadian Tour.
The awards will be announced with the posting of the official race reports and can be found on the ACT web page at acttour.com.
The three recipients of the first Three Star Awards as a result of their efforts from the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at the Lee USA Speedway are:
*Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, Hebert started dead last after taking a 2013 100% provisional to get into the race he had won a year ago. His crew struggled all weekend to get the 58VT up to the form it had throughout the 2013 campaign. Obviously, they found the fix. With just three cautions spread over the 150 laps, Hebert made a steady ride to the front finishing 6th and keeping his 2014 championship hopes within reach.
*Ben Ashline, Pittston, ME, Ashline has not raced with ACT since the July 2012 Oxford 250. A shoulder operation had him wondering until the Wednesday before the Lee opener if he was even going to get in a race car. His practice times indicated the rust from time out of the seat was apparent. Not his race effort. Ashline and crew figured it out, and come race time, he charged from the 24th starting position in a stout field to finish 7th. The kid from Pittston with the family team was certainly deserving of this comeback star.
*Emily Packard, E. Montpelier, VT, Packard was one of two female racers to attempt to qualify for the Lee opener. Her rookie season touring was certainly up and down. Some excellent finishes followed by being involved in wrecks, many not of her mistakes. It was evident during practice on Saturday at Lee that Emily and her Neal Woodward led team were on the same page. Steady and fast times all day Saturday and a very competitive 150 laps made the choice for a star of the race an easy pick for the U-32 High School Junior.
The next race eligible for the ACT three star recognition is the ACT Merchants Bank 150 season opener at Thunder Road in Barre, VT, which will open its 55th year of stock car racing with the annual Barre Car Show in downtown Barre on Saturday, April 26, 2014. A full afternoon of practice will follow after the popular race car parade from downtown up Quarry Hill to the race track. Sunday will open with the traditional Class Day celebration with all cars on parade beginning at 1:00. Qualifying for the 16th annual Merchants Bank 150 will begin at 1:30 on Sunday, April 27, 2014.