When the American-Canadian Tour kicks off their 2014 campaign at Lee USA Speedway (NH) on April 13 there will be a newly organized team beginning their journey towards an ACT owner’s championship. Although this will be a new team, the drivers should be no strangers to those who follow ACT Late Model racing.
Splitting duties in the driver’s seat for the newly-established team will be car owner Eric Chase, 2013 Milk Bowl winner Nick Sweet and seven-time ACT champion Jean Paul-Cyr.
ACT President Tom Curley told Speed51.com about the newly assembled team on Wednesday and shared his excitement about being able to see what the team can accomplish in 2014.
“They’re splitting the driving duties for the title and they’re making a pretty concentrated effort,” Curley said. “They’ve got it figured out and they’re pretty happy about it. When you get that kind of lazy attitude with no pressure and let’s go have some fun, they could be pretty disruptive. They’re all going to be looking out for each other in terms of saying, ‘oh boy, I don’t want to be the one to screw this one up.’ They’ve got enough championships among them and seat time that I think it’s going to be pretty interesting.”
Chase, who employs Sweet full-time to work on and set up his race cars, will be providing the equipment for the team. In addition to driving the car, Sweet will also supply a pit crew for the team, maintain all of the cars at his shop in Barre, Vermont, and be at all the events lending his knowledge to the team.
”I’m excited to be a part of it,” Sweet said. “I’m the one who gets the cars there and supplies the crew. Eric supplies all the equipment and Jean has all the credentials. I think it’s an all-around good fit for the team.”
Due to each of the driver’s busy schedules outside of ACT Late Model racing, none of the three drivers could commit to running full-time in 2014. Instead, they decided to join forces as three of the most experienced and successful Vermont-based Late Model drivers to make a run at the owner’s championship.
“Basically, Eric can’t commit all of his time to the tour this year with his weekly racing at Thunder Road,” said Sweet. “Jean really couldn’t with his schedule and it would be tough for me as well. We decided that we’d split it amongst the three of us and try to run for an owner’s championship.”
As for who is going to drive what events in 2014, Sweet said that’s not 100-percent decided on but they have a good idea of what it will look like.
“Jean is going to run all the Airborne races and Groveton,” Sweet told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Eric is going to race Thunder Road and White Mountain. I think I’ll get half the races and those two will split the other two. I’ll get the tracks that are more on the road like Lee, Beech Ridge, and the Canada race.”
With three feet of snow or more still on the ground at surrounding race tracks in the Vermont area, Sweet looks forward to shaking down the car during the April 12 practice day at Lee USA Speedway for the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup.
“We’re going there with a brand new race car,” Sweet said. “There’s no track in New England that isn’t covered with snow besides Lee. I don’t think we’ll have any time to test it. Saturday will be a big test day and R&D for us.”
This sort of effort between Chase, Cyr and Sweet will be one of the first deals of its kind on the American-Canadian Tour and President Tom Curley looks forward to witnessing it all unfold.
“I like them coming together like this,” Curley said. “It’s something different that you don’t see happen often. It should be fun to watch from a fan's perspective.”