Strap In Racing By Big Bigelow: Xfinity Race Run at Charlotte’s Roval October 10 Was Just Stupid

Jimmy Hebert (58VT) will try to seal his first ACT championship in the season finale at Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway. October 17. (Daniel Holben Photo)

Disclaimer – I’ve never been a big fan of road courses, but in the past few years I’d at least tune in to see how it was going. If I had bought a ticket to last Saturday’s event I’d demand a refund.

I haven’t heard, but if fans mail in their un-ripped ticket because they refused to go into the grandstands would they get their money back?

Did NASCAR expect fans to sit there through a monsoon? Could fans even see the cars? Did you know because the event started with rain tires on the cars if it did rain they would not throw a yellow? It would be up to the teams to decide when to change tires. “Rain tires” would become junk after a few laps run on dry pavement. The Xfinity teams only got two sets of rain tires, I’m not sure how many the Cup guys got.

I sure hope NASCAR makes some adjustments to the rules. I’m not sure how many fans will pay to sit out in the rain to watch that.

From the Mail Bag

Al, a long time reader from South Carolina, wrote, “Got home from the campground late afternoon in time to observe the Xfinity event conclusion in a driving rain storm in Charlotte – while any observer would have categorized that fiasco as, charitably, “eye-rolling”, the conversation should quickly be shifted to the ongoing insanity of conducting points-counting races, much less playoff events, at restrictor plate tracks. This observer finds it mind numbing that NASCAR continues to allow demolition derbies to influence a championship.

Unequivocally laughable and an ongoing disgrace.

ACT Late Model Tour

The Lee’s Family Trailer Sales & Service 150 for the ACT Late Model Tour wraps up their season at Oxford Plains Speedway, October 17 at 1 p.m. 2020 was the 35th season of the ACT Late Models.

This will be the third ACT trip of the year to Oxford. It is the first time since 2008 that ACT has three events in a season at the track.

Point leader Jimmy Hebert, now in his ninth year on the Tour has a 38-point lead over D.J. Shaw. If Shaw earns maximum points (winning his heat, the 150 and leading the most laps) Hebert would need to finish 10th or better to claim his title. Hebert’s two this season gives him the tiebreaker.

Should Shaw pull off the comeback, he would make history along the way. The three-time Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model Champion would become the first driver to also own an ACT title. As the current PASS point leader and most recent series winner, Shaw has a chance to win two of the Northeast’s most prestigious touring titles in the same year.

Behind Hebert and Shaw, Ryan Kuhn sits third in the standings. However, he is scrambling to get a car together after destroying his ride in a rollover at the Milk Bowl, October 3.

• This will be the 35th ACT Late Model Tour contested at Oxford. The first event held there was May 21, 1995, which was won by Stacy Cahoon.

• Eddie MacDonald has the most wins with five (in 14 starts).

• The most top 5s are Eddie Mac and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. with 11.

• Brent Dragon has the most top 10s with 15.

Flying Tigers Also Headed to Oxford

They first visited in 2019 with Jason Woodard beating a 33-car field to win the event. The Tigers race weekly at Thunder Road and White Mountain Motorsports Park. This year’s Oxford Open caps a banner year for the division. The Flying Tigers averaged more than 30 cars a week at Thunder Road with at least 27 every week. At White Mountain, weekly car counts more than doubled from the previous season.

The Tigers are ACT’s longest-running division. They first were created in 1963 and competed at Vermont’s Thunder Road and Catamount Stadium through the 1969 season before being upgraded to the Late Model Sportsmen.

When Tom Curley and Ken Squier reopened Thunder Road in 1982, following a protracted legal battle, they decided to revive the Flying Tiger class for the “modern area”. The Tigers have competed weekly at Thunder Road ever since – in fact, from 1982-86, they were the track’s only weekly division!

Since 1992, they have been Thunder Road’s “middle division”, marking the final stepping-stone to the Late Model ranks.

The Tiger division at White Mountain Motorsports Park adopted the same rules in 2019. Other tracks the division has raced at either weekly or for special events include Airborne Speedway, Riverside Speedway, the former Canaan Fair Speedway, Lee USA Speedway, and Sanair Super Speedway.

Eight Drivers Still in the Hunt for the 2020 Cup Championship

The one thing I like about the latest “tweak” to the playoffs was when they announced drivers would carry the playoff points they earned into the next round.

Playoff points are five points for each win and a single point for winning a segment.

The points headed into the next round are, Kevin Harvick 4,067, Denny Hamlin 4,054, Brad Keselowski 4,035, Chase Elliott 4,027, Joey Logano 4,022, Martin Truex Jr. 4,017, Alex Bowman 4,009 and Kurt Busch with 4,006 points.

Out of this group, five of them have won Cup titles. They’ve won 28 of 32 races this year, including 13 of the last 14.

Clint Bowyer

I found it hard to believe Clint Bowyer has been in the Cup series for 15 years. He made one start in 2005 and at the end of this season (with four races to go) he has shown up for all 36 races run the past 15 seasons.

He announced last week he was retiring from Cup racing.

As of today he has 10 wins, 82 top 5s and 225 top 10s.

He’ll be joining Fox with Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy next season. He was asked if he was ready to retire, he said, “I was getting close to being ready. Was I ready after this pandemic and this COVID year of no fans and a weird way to go out?

“No, and I don’t think probably Jimmie Johnson was either, but was I looking for that ‘what’s next’ moment or opportunity? And that answer is absolutely, ‘Yes.’”

He finished second in points in 2012 to Brad Keselowski, 2,400-2,361. The rest of the top 10 that season were Jimmie Johnson 2,360, Kasey Kahne 2,345, Greg Biffle 2,332, Denny Hamlin 2,329, Matt Kenseth 2,324, Kevin Harvick 2,321, Tony Stewart 2,311, and Jeff Gordon with 2,303 points.

He finished in the top 10 in points six times.

“I love being a part of this sport. That was so important for me. I didn’t want to just retire. If this opportunity with Fox didn’t come to the table, I was going to be in a car somewhere, somehow.

“I wasn’t going to just quit and run off into the sunset because I like this sport and I wanted to find my way and a future within it, and luckily this happened.”

Until Next Week

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