Rowe & Shaw to Decide Heavyweight Title Battle at Haunted Hundred
Waterbury, VT — The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) crowns its 2021 champion this Saturday, October 23 at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway with the Haunted Hundred. The 30th ACT Late Model Tour title has come down to a razor-close fight between two of the most accomplished Northeast racers in the 21st century.
With 11 races in the books and 1 remaining, Turner, ME’s Ben Rowe leads Center Conway, NH’s D.J. Shaw by just one point. The titans now head to “The Cement Palace” for a 100-lap showdown knowing that every move they make could be the difference in who takes home the $10,000 championship check.
Rowe and Shaw are no strangers to success, having combined to win 15 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model championships. Over the past two years, both have found a second home on the ACT Late Model Tour. Rowe is driving for the same Richard Moody Racing team that he has racked up 10 PASS titles for. Shaw is in his second year behind the wheel for Arny Hill Motorsports — and the first year in a new Dale Shaw Racecars machine.
Both pilots and teams are looking for their first ACT title. By Saturday evening, one of them will have filled one of the few remaining holes on their racing résumé.
“It would be pretty huge for me,” Shaw said. “It’s been something on my radar the last couple years. The next thing I wanted to do was win an ACT race, and we did that this year, so the next goal became to win the ACT championship. We have a chance, and hopefully we can get it done. And if we don’t get it done, then we’ll see if we can talk Arny into trying again next year!”
“We feel good,” Rowe said of his chances. “It’s kind of just another race in one sense, because that’s how you have to approach it to be successful. We’ve gone through some more things than usual because you don’t want to have a mechanical problem. But the rest of it is just show up, race hard, get all the points you can, and see how it shakes out.”
The two drivers have taken vastly different approaches to their current position. Shaw won at Lee USA Speedway in May, has three runner-up finishes, and leads ACT with seven top-five efforts. Rowe’s best single-race result is a quartet of third-place runs. However, he has been remarkably consistent, posting the best average finish of any ACT full-timer.
The one-point gap means every spot will matter from the moment Haunted Hundred qualifying begins. Drivers can earn up to five points in the heat races. In the main event, ACT awards 75 points for the winner, 68 points for second, and then a two-point drop per position down to a minimum of 24 points. There are also 5 bonus points for leading a lap and 5 more points for leading the most laps, giving both drivers an incentive to get to the front and stay there.
Another X-factor is the race length. At 100 laps on a 1/3-mile oval, it’s one of the shortest ACT features this year, meaning drivers may have to make their moves sooner. Both Rowe and Shaw have experience at Seekonk in the Super Late Model ranks with Shaw winning the DAV Memorial Classic last month. They will put that to use steering clear of any trouble that could derail their chances.
“It’s definitely more of a sprint,” Rowe noted. “I think the heat races and the bonus points are going to be a huge factor. They always seem to come into play. The heat race is going to be the biggest obstacle right off the bat. You try to do the best you can in that, get the most points out of the heat race you can, get a good plus-minus, try to start up front, and then go from there.”
“This will be our first trip with a Late Model, so hopefully we can get it to go as good as the Super (Late Model) has this year,” Shaw added. “We’ll try to have a solid day, not make mistakes, and just take what the race gives us. You can get caught up (in a mess) so quickly at Seekonk — it’s a tight bullring, and you’ve just got to finish, keep it in one piece, and hopefully be there at the end.”
Both Rowe and Shaw will also have to battle many other standout racers. The race for third remains hotly contested between North Dartmouth, MA’s Derek Gluchacki, Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert, and New Salem, MA’s Tom Carey III. The three drivers have five wins between them this year. Gluchacki also still has a mathematical chance at the title if both Rowe and Shaw run into problems. Stephen Donahue, top ACT rookie Erick Sands, and Matt Anderson are trying to finish their seasons strong.
A large field of local Late Model racers will take on the touring stars. Former Seekonk Speedway Late Model champion and ACT Rookie of the Year Ryan Kuhn has entered the Haunted Hundred. So have reigning Seekonk Late Model champion Vinny Arrenegado Jr., young talent Jacob “Rowdy” Burns, 2021 Seekonk Late Model runner-up Chase Belcher, Richie Murray, and Nick Uhrig. Multi-time Pro Stock champion Fred Astle will pilot a car for Hartwell Motorsports.
Two other Haunted Hundreds are on Saturday’s schedule, making it a huge afternoon to close out the Northeast racing calendar. The Tri-Track Open Modified Series are going 100 laps at “The Action Track of the East” with a large field expected to chase a $6,000 top prize.
Northhampton, PA’s Matt Hirschman is trying to wrap up his sixth Tri-Track Modified championship in the series’ eight-year history. He’ll be challenged by six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby, 811 Call Before You Dig Modified Challenge champion Chase Dowling, reigning NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore, multi-time Thompson Outlaw Open Modified Series winner Ronnie Williams, and many more.
The PASS Super Late Models are awarding three championships in their Haunted Hundred. The PASS North, PASS National, and PASS New England South titles are all on the line at the series’ third trip of the year to Seekonk.
Going into Saturday’s spectacle, Hallowell, ME’s Johnny Clark just needs to avoid disaster to secure his seventh PASS North crown and first since 2011. Clark has already wrapped up the PASS New England North championship. Hudson, NH’s Derek Griffith has a commanding lead in the PASS National standings over D.J. Shaw, who is trying to hold off Clark for the PASS New England South title. They’ll be going up against Curtis Gerry, Dan Winter, Ryan Kuhn, Kate Re, Trevor Sanborn, Jake Johnson, and others ready for one last race in 2021.
The ACT Late Model Tour wraps up its 30th season at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway this Saturday, October 23 at 1:00pm. ACT, the Pro All Stars Series, and Tri-Track Open Modified Series all are going 100 laps in the “Haunted Hundreds”. The pits open at 8:00am and the grandstands open at 11:00am. Grandstand admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. Speed51.TV will offer a live pay-per-view.
There is an optional open practice for all divisions on Friday, October 22. The pits will open at 10:00am with practice from 12:00-5:00pm. Overnight hauler parking is allowed. Pit passes are $20 per person for the Friday practice and $40 per person for Saturday’s event.