LOUDON, N.H. -- The American-Canadian Tour went big in 2009 with its inaugural ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In 2010, it'll go even bigger.
ACT announced on Friday that the second annual ACT Invitational will see an increase in its starting field, race distance, and purse on September 18.
The field will be increased from 36 starters in 2009 to 43 this year. Ten laps will be added, bringing the distance to 60 laps around the 1.058-mile speedway, and the prize purse has been increased throughout the field, from just over $65,000 to more than $73,000. The 2010 ACT Invitational winner will receive a minimum of $4,000; inaugural winner Eddie MacDonald won $3,500.
The race distance was increased to offer race teams the choice to make a pit stop. A mandatory caution period will take place between laps 28 and 38, and teams will be allowed -- but not required -- to change tires and make adjustments.
"This format really sounds like a lot of fun," said Milton driver Brent Dragon in an ACT press release. "I think it will certainly add some strategy to the race and make for some tough decisions about whether to pit or not."
ACT also anounced that over 60 teams will be invited to test and "audition" for a starting spot in the Invitational in August; 2009 "At Large" invitees Nick Sweet and Brandon Watson both finished on the podium.
Like 2009, all 14 ACT Late Model Tour events and all 11 Serie ACT-Castrol Edge events will be Invitational qualifying races that award the winner an automatic starting berth in the race. Also like 2009, four special events will award starting berths: the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic (May 30) and CARQUEST Vermont Governor's Cup 100 (June 24) at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, the TD Bank 250 at Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway on July 18, and the third annual Coors Light 200 Showdown at Autodrome Chaudiere in Quebec on August 28.
In addition, the 2010 track champions and/or point leaders at Thunder Road, Oxford Plains, Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway, Twin State (N.H.) Speedway, White Mountain (N.H.) Motorsports Park, Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl, Capital City (Ont.) Speedway, and Kawartha (Ont.) Speedway. Each point leader or champion will receive a $400 bonus for competing at NHMS, and a $400 bonus will be paid for each qualifying race win.
"The great success we had with the inaugural ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last year has given us the confidence to invite several more teams to make up the starting field for this year's race," said ACT president Tom Curley. "We will soon be announcing another great promotion for all the fans that attend weekly affiliate ACT tracks and all touring events during the upcoming season."