Driver Reactions: ACT Switching to Hoosier Tires for 2021

On Friday afternoon, the American Canadian Tour announced that they would be making the switch from American Racer to Hoosier racing tires for the 2021 season. 

According to a press release, the Tour worked with Hoosier Tire East to create a series-specific compound for both the Late Model and Flying Tiger divisions. 

The tires will not change in price remaining at $130. The ACT makes the switch after using American Racer tires since 2014. The first event where Hoosier tires will be used will be the 2021 Community Bank N.A. 150 at Thunder Road on May 1st and 2nd, according to the release. That means that the twin events at Hickory, NC scheduled for April 1st and 2nd, as well as the Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on April 17th will be the final races under the American Racer banner. 

We spoke with drivers from around the garage area about the news. Here’s what they had to say: 

Bobby Therrien, #5vt Late Model, Former Milk Bowl and Thunder Road track Champion:

“I’m excited for the change! It’s something I have wanted for a long time and after testing them this past fall, I feel like it is going to improve the quality of racing for the fans and the racers.”

Bobby Therrien’s Fast One Motorsports team pushes his car to the grid at the 2020 VT Milk Bowl. in 2021, Therrien’s #5vt machine will be racing on Hoosier Tires instead of American Racers

Logan Powers, #31vt Flying Tiger, 8th place points finish in 2020:

“From what I’ve heard, the tire is supposed to be similar to the American Racers, but better from the start. I think that’s what we all wanted. Something that will produce from the start of its life. I hope the track will provide a tire limit like they had before, otherwise you will have people buying four tires every week. I am excited to see what the Hoosiers will do and hopefully it will only make the racing better in every division! It will be a whole new learning experience and I think it could even out the playing field for everyone as we don’t know what to expect!”

Matthew Smith, #04vt Late Model, 2020 Thunder Road Rookie of the Year

“I like it. I don’t mind a new tire as long as the testing shows that it will hold up. I know of some adjustments that need to be made to accommodate the new tire but with ample warning I think we will be in for a good year of racing. I’m excited to know that when the PASS guys come visit, the track won’t be all messed up like it had been with us being on American racers. In general I don’t mind a new tire and it’s good to see the divisions in the north east kind of starting to align.”

Jimmy Hebert, #58vt Late Model, 2020 American Canadian Tour Champion

We are fine with it. I actually feel it will play into our favor a little as we seem to have a better grasp than most on the structure of a tire how air molecules work from all the research and learning we have done over the past few years. I also think it will help our team when going to Thunder Road, as there has been some inconsistencies most of us fought there last year which really gave locals more of an upper hand, having worked with them all summer, knowing what to buy and avoid. From what I’ve heard they wear a little quicker, and our cars are known for being long run cars that are easy on tires, so all in all we welcome the change. I’m glad to see they’re waiting until after NHMS, as tires can cost you a race car in a hurry, and with no knowledge, it would have been dangerous. 

Jimmy Hebert gives a thumbs up after clinching the 2020 American Canadian Tour Championship at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Jason Pelkey, #64vt Flying Tiger, 1 Win in 2020

“I personally am pretty excited, I’ve never had the opportunity to run on Hoosier tires, so It’s hard to say how different it’s going to feel, but I think it’s going to open the door for teams to try different things especially during the longer races”

Tom Carey III, #5ma Late Model, 11th place point finisher in ACT competition, with 2 Top 5 finishes 

“I’m looking forward to it, I think change is a good thing. I believe Cris wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t good for the series. My only complaint would be not running them until the third race of the year, but we’re all in the same boat.”

Cooper Bouchard, 2021 Late Model Rookie of the Year Competitor, 1 2020 Win in the Flying Tiger Division at Thunder Road

“I think it’ll even out the playing field in New England for the Tigers, and National Stage for the Late Models. It’ll be interesting to see how people adapt to the new tires in  both divisions. The Tiger tires weren’t the best and lasted forever, and were at their best when they were almost down to slicks. So it’ll be interesting to see how these hold up and how often they’ll have to buy tires now. As far as the Late Models go, It’ll be a learning curve for everyone, although some will pick it up quicker than others, but hopefully it will even out the playing field, similar to when (Thunder Road) got paved. Everyone had something new to deal with together, and you found out who the best were by how quickly they adapted and found speed while dealing with new circumstances across the board.” 

Cooper Bouchard celebrates a victory during the 2020 season. In 2021, He will be racing for Rookie of the Year honors in the Late Models at Thunder Road

Tyler Cahoon, #38vt Late Model, 1 time winner at Thunder Road in 2020

“Cahoon Motorsports is excited about the news, as we have seen many tire manufacturer changes for the division, since the late ‘80s.  These changes have always brought an extra piece to the puzzle teams will have to figure out for their setups, keeping us all on our toes.  With this change comes exciting new challenges and racing to look forward to. Our R&R Fireworks and Berlin Optical Expressions teams will be looking forward to a great start at both WMMP and Thunder Road.”

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