WATERBURY, Vt. – One of the biggest events in the history of American-Canadian Tour continues to get bigger.
Thirty-five drivers have now filed their entries for the ACT Commonwealth Classic 65 at Virginia’s Richmond Raceway on Saturday, March 30. With nearly three weeks still left before the event, the potential is there for even more names to be added to the list by the time the haulers arrive in Virginia.
“The interest in this event from teams has already surpassed what we were hoping for,” ACT Managing Partner Cris Michaud said. “When we first agreed to be part of the Commonwealth Classic, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. The amount of entries we have speaks to how excited ACT late model teams are for the chance to race on this track – without spending a fortune to do so. We’re thankful to Tom Mayberry and the Pro All Star Series for giving us and our teams this opportunity.”
The latest round of entries includes even more names known to ACT Late Model and weekly racing fans in the Northeast. Patrick Laperle threw his name into the mix at the end of February when he sent his entry in. Laperle is one of the most prolific and popular drivers in the history of ACT, making him one to watch at Richmond.
A win for Laperle and the FRAMECO Racing team he is driving for would be big in more ways than one. The Quebec veteran is currently tied with Brian Hoar for the most victories in ACT-sanctioned late model events. His next win would be his 45th and would break that tie.
Two more strong weekly late model racers have also submitted their Commonwealth Classic entries. Nicholas Johnson is the latest racer to commit to the event. Johnson was the 2018 Thompson Speedway late model champion, meaning all of the track’s top-three point drivers last year will be at Richmond. It also adds another family dynamic to the event as Johnson’s cousin Jake previously sent in an entry.
Marcel Gravel has also made the decision to travel south. Gravel is the official track record holder at Vermont’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl, a record his set in qualifying for the 2017 Vermont Milk Bowl. He also captured his first Late Model win there last August. He will drive a second car that his team purchased over the winter while carrying his familiar No. 86VT.
There have been several surprises on the Richmond entry list, and the latest one is Blair Bessett. The veteran has spent decades racing on the NASCAR North Tour, ACT Pro Stock Tour, and in Thunder Road’s weekly late models and Flying Tigers. He will climb back behind the wheel in a car prepared by his friend Eric Johnson.
These drivers just the latest additions to an event that will feature a who’s-who for ACT late model racing’s past, present, and future. Former ACT champions Laperle, Wayne Helliwell Jr., Joey Polewarcyk Jr., Nick Sweet and Jonathan Bouvrette are all making the trip to Richmond. Also making the trip are weekly track champions such as Johnson, Ryan Kuhn and Jeff Marshall.
Established ACT star Jimmy Hebert and rising standouts Rich Dubeau and Christopher Pelkey are on the entry list, as are father-son duo John and Stephen Donahue. Add in a large contingent of Quebec drivers and several new faces to ACT, and the event already has the makings of a classic.
The ACT Commonwealth Classic 65 on Saturday, March 30 is part of a huge day of action at Richmond Raceway. Almost $165,000 in awards have been posted for a card that also includes the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, tour-type modifieds, Mid Atlantic Street Stocks and North East Mini Stock Tour. Qualifying begins at 1 p.m. Open practice is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 29.