Thursday, May 23, 2013
It's been three weeks since Jeff White last raced his Late Model car, but the layoff ends Saturday with the third annual American-Canadian Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
"We're really looking forward to this," said White, of Winthrop, who won the Late Model points championship at Oxford Plains Speedway. "It's going to be a lot of fun. It's kind of a bummer to wait this long, but it's one of those deals. It's going to be a good race."
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Camping World Truck Series will also be at Loudon on Saturday.
The ACT Invitational, which will pay out $80,000, will feature 43 cars.
Pittston native Ben Ashline, who leads the ACT rookie point standings, is also racing this weekend.
"Everybody gets excited to hear the word Loudon," he said. "There is a lot of prestige. It's the biggest track in our area. That place is really fast, too. A lot can happen quickly there. It's just a completely different animal."
ACT hosted a test session at Loudon in early August that drew 45 drivers. White said he clocked between 32 and 33 seconds a lap.
"We're close," White said. "We're fine-tuning a few things here and there. We're touching up the body work to make it look better. The car was decent there before."
Ashline, who's raced at Loudon once before, also is busy tinkering with his car. He said the track at Loudon is different from any other in New England.
"You're doing 140 mph going into the corners at Loudon," he said. "At Oxford, I think my straight-away speed is 95-100 mph, which would be a good lap. The tracks around here, they don't have the same downforce. The aerodynamics are huge. You have to try to brace the fenders to handle the downforce. It's just a lot different."
Ashline leads Dave Farrington Jr., of Jay, by 13 points in the ACT rookie point standings. There is just one remaining points race -- Oct. 8 in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
"It's ours to lose," Ashline said. "We have to make sure we do well in New York."
Ashline also plans to race in the 49th annual Milk Bowl at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., on Oct. 2.
White said he may also race in the Milk Bowl.
"It depends on how we do at Loudon," he said. "If we have enough money to buy a set of tires, we may go up there and give it a go. We'll see."
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Johnny Clark won his third PASS 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, collecting more than $10,000.
"It was our biggest race of the year," Clark said.
This is the third consecutive season Clark has won a feature that paid $10,000 or more. Clark said the victory, his seventh of the season, is a big boost to the team.
"There are so many costs with running a whole program," he said. "This will definitely help us get into the black. It makes a difference going in the black or red at the end of the year. When you win big-money races, it helps."
Clark has two victories and a second-place finish at Beech Ridge this season.
He also all but wrapped up his fourth consecutive and sixth overall Pro All Stars Series North points championship.
Clark, of Farmingdale, leads Lonnie Sommerville by 108 points with just two points races left on the schedule. It's been a dominant summer for Clark, who has finished in the top five in all but two of the 12 races this season.
"We're having a good year."
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Unity Raceway will host its final points races of the season Saturday night.
There shouldn't be much drama when the green flag drops at 6 p.m.
The six division points leaders all hold comfortable leads heading into the weekend, including Jeff Burgess in the Late Model class.
Burgess, of East Madison, opened up a 21-point lead over Skowhegan driver David Folsom I after the pair were running neck and neck for most of the season.
Folsom finished 15th in the feature last weekend while Burgess checked in second place.
"It would've made for a good last week if they were closer," said George Fernald Jr., who runs the track for owner Ralph Nason. "They've been within single points all year. All (the leaders) really have to do is start. They are pretty much all set."
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640