ACT Pushes First Challenge Cup Season To 2021

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The inaugural New England Late Model Challenge Cup will now take place in 2021 as multiple tracks planning to participate are still waiting on the go-ahead to start racing for 2020. (Alan Ward photo)
The inaugural New England Late Model Challenge Cup will now take place in 2021 as multiple tracks planning to participate are still waiting on the go-ahead to start racing for 2020. (Alan Ward photo)

WATERBURY, Vt. – American-Canadian Tour officials announced Tuesday that the debut season of the New England Late Model Challenge Cup presented by American Racer has been postponed until 2021.

The decision was made due to continuing uncertainty about when multiple Southern New England tracks who signed up for the program can officially get their season underway.

Guidelines and restrictions related to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak had already delayed the racing season across the region. While three of the five tracks originally planning to participate in the Challenge Cup have finally been able to start their seasons, two others — Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut — are still waiting for the go-ahead from state officials.

The latest indications are that neither track will be reopening before late July at the earliest, likely resulting in a further-shortened season for both.

This situation would put their home track drivers who registered for the Challenge Cup at a significant disadvantage compared to what was expected when the program was announced. As such, out of basic fairness to these racers, officials decided to put the Challenge Cup on hold until 2021 so its first season can be held on a more level playing field.

All teams who registered for the Challenge Cup will be sent a full refund of their entry fee within the next two weeks. It is expected that all sponsorships, contingency awards, and raffle prizes announced for 2020 will carry over into the 2021 season.

“We waited as long as possible to make this decision, because we were still hopeful the Challenge Cup could happen this year,” ACT managing partner Cris Michaud said. “However, with the ongoing wait to start racing for tracks in Southern New England, this was the fairest route to take. We want this program to live up to its name and give every Late Model racer in New England a fair shot at the title. By postponing a year, we can