WATERBURY, Vt. – One of the rising stars of Northeast late model racing is joining the American-Canadian Tour full-time this season.
Massachusetts native Ryan Kuhn has filed a full-season ACT Late Model Tour entry will run the full 10-race schedule throughout New England and Canada.
Kuhn was last year’s Seekonk Speedway late model champion, earning the title at age 17. He also made ACT starts at three different tracks and finished in the top-12 in all of them.
Most recently, Kuhn took 10th place in the Commonwealth Classic 65 at Virginia’s Richmond Raceway to open the season.
Now 18, Kuhn is making the jump to the ACT Late Model Tour in his No. 72MA Everett’s Auto Parts Chevrolet.
He’ll be going up against some stout competition in his first full year, including multi-time champions Scott Payea and Wayne Helliwell Jr., established frontrunners Jimmy Hebert and Rich Dubeau, and fellow upstarts like sophomores Dylan Payea and Christopher Pelkey.
According to Kuhn, this competition is what excites him most about joining ACT.
“The American-Canadian Tour is really the best of the best drivers,” Kuhn said. “I think it’s the best competition in Late Model racing on the East Coast, to be honest with you. We wanted to get away from local short track stuff and get into touring series racing, and I’m happy to be running in a full-time touring series in 2019.
“I think it’s a big stepping stone to my dream goal.”
Like the rest of the ACT Late Model Tour, Kuhn will open his point-counting campaign on Sunday, April 14 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. The track is one of the handful on the schedule where he has prior experience.
Kuhn is optimistic that this experience will help him get off to a strong start in his rookie ACT season.
“I’m excited to get back to Oxford Plains,” he said. “We missed the setup last year, and I think we’re going to change a whole lot in the car for the next show. I’m also looking forward to Thompson. We were stout there last year and honestly had a car to win. Hopefully we can go back to that same equipment and have a shot to win.”
Kuhn will also be visiting multiple ACT tracks for the first time, including Autodrome Chaudiere and Star Speedway.
Despite his success in weekly late model racing and limited Tour racing, he is trying to keep his goals realistic for 2019, while also hoping to exceed them.
“Our main goal is to get rookie of the year,” Kuhn said. “A lot of people out there have the goal to win the championship, and that’s ultimately my goal too, but we’re just out there to do the best we can.
“A top-five in points would be a win for us. If we could do that, it would be awesome.”
Regardless, Kuhn is looking forward to getting behind the wheel with ACT.
He said in a press conference at Richmond Raceway that the ACT late model is his favorite type of car to race, and he doubled down on that sentiment this week.
“They’re just fun to drive,” he remarked. “They’re fun to drive and hard to drive. It really comes down to setup and driver. These style Late Models bring a lot of driver into play, and it’s so much fun just hanging it out there sideways, especially at Richmond.
“Richmond is probably one of the slickest tracks other than Oxford to race on, and it was a lot of fun racing there.”