Oxford, Maine -- Newmarket Bryan Kruczek grabbed his first career American-Canadian Tour (ACT) win at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday after a thrilling back-and-forth battle in the event’s late stages.
Kruczek took the lead for good from Hudson Joey Polewarczyk for good on lap 107 of an event that was shortened to 125 laps after a rash of cautions. He then pulled away over the final 18 circuits to win the ACT Late Model Tour season opener.
The Late Model and Super Late Model veteran, who is in his first year driving for Bobby Webber Jr Racing, started third in the main event and got underneath polesitter Chip Grenier of Graniteville, Vt., on the eighth lap. Kruczek held the top spot through a series of yellows until the event’s sixth caution on lap 45 for Corey Mason’s spin.
While Kruczek lined up with Grenier on his outside for the restart, it was Hinesburg, Vt.’s Bobby Therrien who made a daring three-wide move into turn one from the third position to get the lead. Therrien would pace the field through several more cautions while a series of drivers diced for position behind him.
Kruczek poked the bumper back out front for three circuits following a lap-85 restart. Therrien would get ahead once again on lap 89, but was barely in front of a four-way battle with Kruczek, Therrien, and Dany Trepanier.
The 96th circuit would alter the complexion of the event. Lancaster's Shawn Swallow went for a spin to bring out the 12th caution of the event. On the restart, a five-car tangle happened in turn one involving Mason, Scott Coburn, Marc Begin, Peyton Lanphear, and Christopher Pelkey. At this point, the decision was made to shorten the event to 125 laps from the scheduled 150 due to the amount of yellows, setting up a 29-lap sprint to the finish.
On the restart, Therrien and Kruczek went toe-to-toe for the advantage. But on lap 99, the two slapped doors in turn 2 and slid up the track slightly. Polewarczyk, a four-time ACT winner at Oxford, saw his opportunity and darted three-wide underneath them to move into the lead.
However, the battle was far from over. Kruczek muscled his way beneath Polewarczyk off turn two a few laps later and led lap 105, only for Polewarczyk to return the favor a lap later. It was Kruczek making the final move, however, putting the crossover on Polewarzcyk on lap 107 for the ninth and final lead change of the event. He then drew away in lapped traffic in the closing stages to earn the victory.
Polwearczyk eventually settled for second. Therrien crossed the line third but was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for a wheelbase violation. This handed the final podium spot to Williamstown, Vt.’s Jimmy Hebert, who had come on strong late in the event.
Heat race wins when to Ryan Kuhn, Kruczek, Scott Payea, and Polewarczyk. Dylan Payea and Wayne Helliwell Jr. won the consolation rounds.
The ACT Late Model Tour continues its fast early-season start at Barre, Vt.’s Thunder Road next Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. for the 21st Community Bank 150. Admission is $25 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under.
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 3 ) Bryan Kruczek ( 19NH ) , Newmarket, NH , 125 Laps
2. ( 11 ) Joey Polewarczyk ( 97NH ) , Hudson, NH , 125 Laps
3. ( 17 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 125 Laps
4. ( 1 ) Chip Grenier ( 9VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 125 Laps
5. ( 7 ) Rich Dubeau ( 30NH ) , Plainfield, NH , 125 Laps
6. ( 22 ) Rowland Robinson Jr. ( 28ME ) , Steuben, ME , 125 Laps
7. ( 2 ) Dany Trepanier ( 19QC ) , St-Edouard, QC , 125 Laps
8. ( 10 ) Scott Payea ( 37VT ) , Colchester, VT , 125 Laps
9. ( 24 ) Quinten Welch ( 78NH ) , Groveton, NH , 125 Laps
10. ( 6 ) Dylan Payea ( 7NH ) , Milton, VT , 125 Laps
11. ( 15 ) Jean-Francois Dery ( 21QC ) , Quebec, QC , 125 Laps
12. ( 18 ) Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) , New Salem, MA , 125 Laps
13. ( 19 ) Mathiew Kingsbury ( 9QC ) , Blainville, QC , 125 Laps
14. ( 4 ) #Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 125 Laps
15. ( 8 ) Alexandre Tardif ( 21BC ) , Notre Dame des Pins, QC , 125 Laps
16. ( 13 ) Wayne Helliwell Jr. ( 27NH ) , Dover, NH , 125 Laps
17. ( 9 ) #Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E. Bridgewater, MA , 125 Laps
18. ( 16 ) Joshua Hedges ( 29MA ) , New Bedford, MA , 125 Laps
19. ( 12 ) Marc Begin ( 37QC ) , St-Philibert, QC , 125 Laps
20. ( 26 ) Shawn Swallow ( 04NH ) , Lancaster, NH , 124 Laps
21. ( 29 ) Steve Fisher ( 24VT ) , S. Burlington, VT , 124 Laps
22. ( 30 ) Claude Leclerc ( 11QC ) , Lanoraie, QC , 124 Laps
23. ( 32 ) Corey Mason ( 1NH ) , Groveton, NH , 124 Laps
24. ( 36 ) Peyton Lanphear ( 22VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 124 Laps
25. ( 27 ) Scott Coburn ( 72VT ) , Barre, VT , 123 Laps
26. ( 14 ) Christopher Pelkey ( 64VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 122 Laps
27. ( 34 ) Joel Hodgdon ( 36VT ) , Craftsbury Common, VT , 119 Laps
28. ( 28 ) Marcel J. Gravel ( 86VT ) , Wolcott, VT , 96 Laps
29. ( 35 ) Jason Larivee Jr. ( 70RI ) , West Greenwich, RI , 90 Laps
30. ( 31 ) #Mike Foster ( 7VT ) , Williston, VT , 82 Laps
31. ( 23 ) #Trent Goodrow ( 31MA ) , Carver, MA , 60 Laps
32. ( 25 ) Bryan Mason ( 10NH ) , Stark, NH , 55 Laps
33. ( 20 ) Jonathan Bouvrette ( 41QC ) , Blainville, QC , 39 Laps
34. ( 21 ) Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 00NH ) , Candia, NH , 14 Laps
35. ( 33 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 12 Laps
DSQ Bobby Therrien ( 5VT ) , Hinesburg, VT
Lap Leaders: Chip Grenier 1-7, Bryan Kruzcek 8-45, Bobby Therrien 46-85, Kruczek 86-88, Therrien 89-96, Kruczek 97-98, Joey Polewarczyk 99-104, Kruczek 105, Polewarczyk 106, Kruczek 107-125. (9 lead changes among 4 drivers)
Time of Race: 1:25:45 Margin of Victory: 1.876 seconds
Cautions: 13 (laps 12, 13, 18, 34, 39, 45, 50, 55, 65, 80, 85, 96, 96)
Heat Winners: Ryan Kuhn, Bryan Kruczek, Scott Payea, Joey Polewarczyk
Consi Winners: Dylan Payea, Wayne Helliwell Jr.