LOUDON, N.H. — Rhode Island native Ray Parent claimed the biggest win of his career in dramatic fashion, overpowering the best short track drivers in the Northeast to win the fourth annual American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Parent drove around the outside of 2012 TD Bank 250 winner Joey Polewarczyk Jr. on lap 36 and pulled away for top honors. Canadian veteran Patrick Laperle came from 31st on the grid to finish second, while Polewarczyk hung on for third. ACT points leader Wayne Helliwell Jr. made his way from the 28th starting position to fourth at the finish, while Maine veteran Rick Rolfe completed the top five.

“This is an incredible feeling,” an astounded Parent said in Victory Lane. “My mom has been in the hospital for a few days, I didn’t think my father was going to be here but I just found out he made it and that mom was released a few hours ago. Winning here is like a dream come true, it’s the biggest race of the year even if it doesn’t pay ACT points. I want to thank Tom Curley and Bond Auto Parts for making this event a reality. I couldn’t be happier.”

Laperle wrapped up his second ACT Castrol Series championship the previous week in his native Quebec, and charged his way past Polewarczyk Jr. coming off the final corner to secure second.

“I was pretty happy with our progress in the first half of today’s race,” Laperle said. “I had passed about ten cars by the first caution; the car was hooked up pretty well. We were all three- and four-wide out there for a while, it was crazy. I saw a hole open up coming through turns 3 and 4 on the final circuit and was able to jump in there and get second. I’m very happy today.”

Polewarczyk Jr. has enjoyed a fine season in ACT competition, with his summer highlight being the huge non-points victory at the 250 in Oxford in July. On Saturday, he was super fast, but fell short of a second win here.

“We all were racing pretty hard out there today,” Polewarczyk said. “I’m proud we were able to challenge for the lead and actually be out front for a lap. Yet my car started getting a little tight as the race went on; I lost that forward drive up off the corners and just didn’t have anything for Ray. I’m happy for him and will have to get ready for the Milk Bowl next weekend. We’ll get them in Barre.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the fourth annual ACT Invitational were Tom Carey Jr., Brian Hoar, Ben Lynch, Dan McHattie and Bryan Mercer. Four cautions slowed the pace, while Parent’s margin of victory over Laperle was just over one second. Thirty-three of the 42 starters finished on the lead lap, while 39 were still running at the finish.

Aside from Rolfe with a solid top-five finish, other Maine drivers in this year’s Invitational had a tough challenge. Newly-crowned Oxford Plains Speedway champion Shawn Martin finished 13th, with friend and runner-up Travis Stearns of Auburn right behind him in the 14th position. Rising star Austin Theriault of Fort Kent finished 15th, while nine-time Oxford champion Jeff Taylor came home 19th.

Other notable Maine drivers include veteran Glen Luce (21st); Dave Farrington Jr. (24th); Rowland Robinson Jr. (26th); TJ Brackett of Buckfield (32nd); and Ben Ashline of Pittston (33rd).

The race had five lead changes among four drivers, pretty competitive for Late Model drivers on a superspeedway.


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