Eddie MacDonald Wins Thrilling ACT Invitational at NHMS
Eddie Mac Edges Out Nick Sweet Off Turn Four for Victory
Eddie MacDonald of Rowley, Massachusetts claimed his second American Canadian Tour Invitational after a thrilling battle with Barre, Vermont’s Nick Sweet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH on Saturday, September 24. MacDonald and Sweet swapped the lead four times over the final 15 laps of the 50 mile event on the “Magic Mile.” The race wasn’t decided until the final corner, when MacDonald edge Sweet coming off turn four to take the checker and the $4,000 pay day.

MacDonald seemed to have a slightly better car on the restarts, but Sweet came back strong after a couple of laps. MacDonald came from the 25th starting position to take the lead on lap 32. Sweet came from the 27th starting spot and cleared traffic on lap 35. The 2010 Thunder Road Champion set his sights on MacDonald with just 15 laps to go. It took him just five laps to run down the Inaugural ACT Invitational Champion and take the lead on lap 40, before the second caution of the event on lap 41.

MacDonald took the lead back after the caution, but held on for just two laps before Sweet took over again. Sweet would lead until the final caution on lap 45. One lap after the restart MacDonald took over for good, but not without a fight from Sweet. The two took the white flag side-by-side as the crowd rose to their feet. Sweet had the inside line and seemed to have the advantage down the back stretch. The two stayed door-to-door through turns three and four, but Sweet got loose coming out of four giving MacDonald the edge.

“We were lucky at the end. I was so psyched to get my new sponsor, Hancock Electric, in victory lane,” said MacDonald. “I didn’t know it was Nick (Sweet) in that car. I feel bad cutting him off, but wanted to do everything I could to win.”

“Great race at the end,” said Sweet. “Everything happens to me in twos (at NHMS). Three years ago we finished second to Eddie (MacDonald). Last year we wrecked on lap two. This year we finished second to Eddie (MacDonald) again.” 

Former Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Shawn Martin of Turner, Maine led early and held off two-time White Mountain Motorsports Park Champion Quinny Welch of Lancaster, New Hampshire in the late stages of the event to take third. Brad Leighton, a former NHMS track champion from Center Harbor, New Hampshire edged out eight-time ACT Champion Brian Hoar of Williston, VT at the line to complete the top five.

“Today I felt like I was on top of the world,” said Martin. “That was probably the race of my life.”

Hoar, last year’s Invitational winner Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. of Hudson, New Hampshire, Tom Carey, Jr. of New Salem, Massachusetts, former Série ACT Castrol Champion Karl Allard of St-Felicien, Quebec and Glen Luce of Turner, Maine completed the top ten.

The 50 mile, third annual ACT Invitational was completed in 45 minutes and 36 seconds with three cautions including the first on lap 27 for debris. The lead was swapped six times between four drivers. MacDonald edged Sweet by just 0.161 seconds.

Many of the 43 car field will head to Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road next weekend for the 49th annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl. Booth Bros./H.P. Hood qualifying will be Saturday, October 1 with the Milk Bowl on Sunday, October 2.

The ACT season will come to a close the following weekend with the Rent-A-Wreck Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, New York on Saturday, October 8.

Third Annual ACT Invitational Unofficial Results
American Canadian Tour
New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, New Hampshire
Saturday, September 24, 2011
1. (25) 17MA Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, MA, Hancock Electric Pontiac, 50
2. (27) 40VT Nick Sweet, Barre, VT, Mansfield Heliflight Chevrolet, 50
3. (6) 94ME Shawn Martin, Turner, ME, BRP Recreational Chevrolet, 50
4. (2) 78NH Quinten Welch, Lancaster, NH, Local Lineman 104 Chevrolet, 50
5. (31) 55NH Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, NH, Subway of NH & VT Chevrolet, 50
6. (26) 37VT Brian Hoar, Williston, VT, Gosscars.com Dodge, 50
7. (32) 97NH Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, NH, Pole's Automotive Ford, 50
8. (5) 07MA Tom Carey, Jr., New Salem, MA, Summit Ice Ford, 50
9. (28) 48QC Karl Allard, St-Felicien, QC, Larue Snow Blower Ford, 50
10. (11) 7ME Glen Luce, Turner, ME, Stevens Electric Ford, 50
11. (24) 57ME Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, ME, Varney Insurance Ford, 50
12. (3) 12NH Guy Caron, Lempster, NH, Lavalley Building Supply Chevrolet, 50
13. (33) 91QC Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC, Gestion MN Ford, 50
14. (22) 15VT Joey Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, Galeforce Ford, 50
15. (23) 88ME Jeff Taylor, Farmington, ME, Erik Designs Ford, 50
16. (29) 26VT John Donahue, Graniteville, VT, National Guard Ford, 50
17. (8) 89VT Scott Payea, Milton, VT, Leahy Press Chevrolet, 50
18. (12) 80QC Donald Theetge, Boischatel, QC, NAPA 200 Montreal Chevrolet, 50
19. (16) 21QC Jean-Francois Dery, Quebec, QC, Construction Sous Bois Toyota, 50
20. (30) 27NH Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Dover, NH, E-Keys 4 Cars Ford, 50
21. (15) 08NH Donnie Lashua, Canaan, NH, RSB Chassis Chevrolet, 50
22. (13) 18VT Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Fund Chevrolet, 50
23. (17) 17RI Ray Parent, Tiverton, RI, Amtrol Ford, 50
24. (9) 51ME Ricky Rolfe, Albany Twp., ME, RB Performance Ford, 50
25. (14) 29NH Aaron Fellows, Croydon, NH, New England Outdoor Furnace Dodge, 50
26. (19) 41VT Jamie Aube, Bow, NH, Marcotte and Sons Chevrolet, 50
27. (20) 19QC Dany Trepanier, St-Edouard, QC, Circuit Riverside Speedway Ford, 50
28. (10) 32VT Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, Harrison Concrete Chevrolet, 50
29. (38) 31NH Luke Hinkley, Claremont, NH, R.E. Hinkley Co. Dodge, 50
30. (39) 61ME TJ Brackett, Buckfield, ME, Brackett Motorsports Toyota, 50
31. (42) 23ME #Dave Farrington, Jr., Jay, ME, Atlantic Contracting Ford, 50
32. (36) 5RI Richard Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI, Aqua Science Chevrolet, 50
33. (43) 15ME #Ben Ashline, Pittston, ME, DS Norton Construction Chevrolet, 50
34. (7) 71ON Dan McHattie, Cavan, ON, J.J. Stewart Chrysler Dodge Charger Dodge, 50
35. (35) 34NH Todd Davis, Claremont, NH, R.E. Hinkley Co. Dodge, 50
36. (37) 7NC Ben Lynch, Derry, NH, BenLynchRacing.com Chevrolet, 50
37. (18) 55VT Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, Beverage Mart Chevrolet, 50
38. (1) 14VT Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT, Vermont Strong Chevrolet, 50
39. (40) 16NY Mark Lamberton, Mooer's Fork, NY, Richard Green Trucking Chevrolet, 49
40. (4) 21MA #Pete Yetman, Peru, MA, MTN Motorsports Chevrolet, 45
41. (34) 50ME Jeff White, Winthrop, ME, Phoenix Welding Chevrolet, 41
42. (21) 40QC David Michaud, St-Annes, QC, Excavation Mario Michaud Chevrolet, 38
43. (41) 11RI Ryan Vanasse, Warwick, RI, Team V Racing Chevrolet, 17
Lap Leaders: Pete Yetman, 1-20; Shawn Martin, 21-31; Eddie MacDonald, 32-39; Nick Sweet, 40-41; MacDonald, 42-44; Sweet, 45-46; MacDonald, 47-50.
Cautions: 3 (Laps 27, 41, 45)
Time of Race: 45 minutes, 36 seconds
Margin of Victory: 0.161 seconds

Eddie MacDonald and his father, Red, celebrate the win at NHMS.  (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com)
MacDonald (#17) edges out Sweet (#40) to the checkers.  (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com)