NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Recap by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Victory Lane Radio photo —
Eddie MacDonald continued his dominance at the New Smyrna Speedway on Wednesday night, scoring his third straight victory and sweeping the American Canadian Tour American Racer Challenge at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
“My guys worked so hard all weekend long,” MacDonald said in victory lane. “It is unbelievable to come here and get all three wins.”
MacDonald’s victories on Monday and Tuesday gave him the 2015 American Racer Challenge Cup, ACT’s points trophy for the World Series at New Smyrna.
Brad Babb and Tom Carey, Jr. brought the field down off turn four to the green flag and headed off into turn one just after 7:30 p.m. local time. Even though Babb was able to jump out front at the green, he was quickly challenged by modified regular Keith Rocco.
Babb and Rocco battled door-to-door for multiple laps in the early going, but Babb was able to hold on and open up the gap by the time the field crossed for lap 15. The two drivers were holding ground on the rest of the field and starting to pull away.
The first caution flag on the race flew on lap 17 when Josh Demers spun down to the bottom after contact off turn four. During the first caution, Aaron Fellows decided to pit from inside the top five and made adjustments to his ride.
The ensuing restart on lap 18 saw Keith Rocco work the inside groove around Babb and start to open up the gap on the rest of the field.
The mid-pack battle at quarter distance was between Alex Labbe and Eddie MacDonald. Both drivers were trying to make their way up through the field after starting deep in the pack. The field was double-wide four rows deep in the middle of the field, putting on a show for the fans after Tuesday night’s rainout.
The second caution of the feature event flew on lap 29, when contact between Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Pole Jr. sent Helliwell spinning in turn three. During the second yellow, Aaron Fellows and Travis Stearns pitted to check their motors, which were lacking power.
The third restart of the 100-lap event saw Rocco rocket out to the point and start to leave the rest of the field in the dust. Ray Parent struggled to hold the bottom lane and slid back to fourth spot when Brandon Atkins slid on by.
The middle of the field was under a blanket when the crossed flags came down from the flag stand. Keith Rocco continued to show the way, with Babb second, Atkins third, Rowland Robinson and Ray Parent holding the top five spots.
When the field crossed under lap 60, a trio of stars were starting to make their charge through the field. MacDonald, Pole and Helliwell had worked their way into the top seven spots and were ready to pounce on the front of the pack.
MacDonald found himself moving to the outside of Atkins and Robinson three-wide, when contact was made and Atkins went spinning in turn three on lap 66. Both Atkins and Robinson were forced to the pit area for quick repairs, but both returned to the track for the finish. MacDonald was able to continue, now running inside the top five.
The stage was set — a regular weekly racing night showdown between the best of ACT Tour. When the green flag flew with 34 laps to go, MacDonald pounced. He dove down into turn three under the top two to make it three-wide, but backed out before a problem ensued.
The top four drivers battled wheel-to-wheel with 30 laps to go, this time with Bradley Babb out front, but not for long. A move to the inside on lap 71 saw Eddie MacDonald move to the bottom of the track and find himself back out front at New Smyrna Speedway.
A caution for Pete Yetman slowed the field once again on lap 73. The caution was quick and the field bunched back up and watched Eddie MacDonald go back to work, but closely challenged. Babb and Pole Jr. were in hot pursuit for the bottom quarter of the feature event.
Pole Jr. made the move to the bottom of Babb on lap 79, but he came up just short.
With 20 laps to go, the top six drivers were nose to tail in the battle for the victory. Wayne Helliwell Jr. did everything he could to make the charge. He found his way to the bottom of Babb on lap 85 and both drivers were beating and banging for the second spot.
Helliwell Jr. was able to find his way to second with ten laps to go and make a huge charge to try and get the point. He closed the gap and was stalking MacDonald, but couldn’t make the run work and came up just a bumper short at the checkered flag.
The finale of the American Racer Challenge Cup was completed in 44 minutes and 54 seconds. MacDonald’s margin of victory over Helliwell was .232 seconds.
The ACT Tour kicks off their 2015 points season on April 12 at Lee USA Speedway.
- Eddie MacDonald
- Wayne Helliwell Jr.
- Joey Polewarczyk Jr.
- Bradley Babb
- Alex Labbe
- Keith Rocco
- Daniel Descoste
- Josh Demers
- Rowland Robinson
- Ray Parent
- Nick Sweet
- Tom Carey Jr.
- Brandon Atkins
- Brandon White
- Eddie LeClerc Jr.
- Emily Packard
- Aaron Fellows
- Pete Yetman
- Donald Theetge
- Travis Stearns