Story By: ACT TOUR – HICKORY, NC – The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) got its first taste of the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” on Thursday, April 1. Twenty-nine teams made the trip to North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway a day early for an open practice session prior to the Hickory 125 on Friday, April 2 and the Easter Bunny 125 on Saturday, April 3.
Even though few members of the field had previous experience at Hickory, it didn’t take long for them to get up speed. By the end of the second practice session, the entire field was within seven-tenths of a second, a potential preview of the weekend ahead.
As the afternoon wound down on the windy day, two names rose to the top of the speed charts: New Salem, MA’s Tom Carey III and Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon. The drivers were 1-2 during the second practice session. In the third session, Carey turned the fastest lap of the day at 15.961 seconds on the 0.363-mile oval.
Although Cahoon also ran a sub-16-second lap in the session, he did so while testing a different set of tires than what will be used in Friday’s and Saturday’s features. Both Carey and Cahoon were so happy with their cars that they called it a day after the third session and didn’t come out for the final 15 minutes.
Candia, NH’s Jimmy Renfrew Jr.; Wolcott, VT’s Marcel J. Gravel; Hermon, ME’s Mike Hopkins; and Stark, NH’s Jamie Swallow Jr. also turned heads throughout the afternoon. The wide mix of drivers who were among the fastest was another promising sign for the two feature events.
There were only two minor incidents throughout the quartet of practice sessions. Cumberland, RI’s Mike Mitchell spun in turn two during the third practice. Duxbury, VT’s Peyton Lanphear then went sliding across the start/finish line just as the practice day ended. Neither driver suffered any damage.
The one ACT racer to encounter a serious setback was Lancaster, NH’s Shawn Swallow, who bent a valve early in the day. Swallow reported that he was able to find the needed parts and will attempt to make repairs prior to Friday’s event.
The American-Canadian Tour hits the track at Hickory Motor Speedway on Friday, April 2 for the Hickory 125 and Saturday, April 3 for the Easter Bunny 125. They join the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, who are running the Easter Bunny 150 each night. Post time is 5:15pm for both events.