Milton, Vermont's Jean-Paul Cyr scored the biggest payday in his stock car racing career Sunday with his victory in the $10,000 to win Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road, Barre, VT. The four-time and defending ACT Tour champion, who started 17th in the 30 car field, took the lead on the 116th circuit of the 200 lap event. He then survived five restarts and a pit strategy that included running the entire distance on one set of tires, en route to victory. "The guys gave me an awesome car," commented the winner of then 27th edition of the event. He added, "I guess I'm going to have a little more fun in England," referring to his upcoming trip to Great Britain to participate in the F-1 Stock Car Championships in two weeks.
Dennis Demers of Shelburne, VT finished second, about two car lengths behind Cyr. Like the winner, he elected to maintain track position and forgo a pit stop for fresh runner. Demers started third on the grid and was among the frontrunners during the entire event. Third was awarded to Montpelier's Dave Pembroke after a review of video footage of the finish.
Pembroke, Patrick Laperle from St Denis, Quebec, and Phil Scott, also from Montpelier, crossed the finish line three-wide. Pembroke, the middle car in the pack, beat the other two by inches at the stripe. Laperle was fourth and Scott, fifth. Ironically the trio all pitted for tires.
Fifty-five cars, from six states and two Canadian provinces, attempted to qualify for the 30 starting positions. A series of heat races, consolation rounds, a "C" feature and a Last Chance/B Feature gave drivers multiple chances to make the field. Of the top five finishers, three transferred into the main event through consi rounds.
Lancaster, NH youngster, Roger Brown started on the pole by virtue of his performance in the heat race. Brown, a former ACT Tour Rookie of the Year improved his heat starting position by 10 positions to claim the coveted starting spot. At the drop of the green, Brown, who has earned the nickname "Rocketman" was off like his namesake and immediately moved to a multi-car length advantage over second place starter, Dave Wilcox. While Wilcox battled for position, Brown established a blistering pace around the high-banked, quarter-mile oval. Then on the 28th lap, Brown's lead came to an abrupt halt in Thunder Road's front stretch wall. A car that was apparently heading to the pit area moved into the leader's path. On Thunder Road's front stretch, Brown quickly ran out of room and hit the wall. He was not injured and was credited with 28th.
Brown's demise gave the lead to Pembroke on lap 29, but his position at the head of the field was short lived. Brent Dragon pulled in front two laps later. Dragon, the defending winner of the Labor Day Classic held the advantage until Cyr took over.
Dragon, from Milton, VT, battled an ill handling race car to hold on for sixth. Charlotte, VT driver, Rich Lowrey followed Dragon across the line with Chad Wheeler, Cris Michaud and John Donahue completing the top ten.
In addition to winning the $10,000 prize, Cyr has positioned himself to earn bonus money in the remaining ACTion Super Series races. Sunday's Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 kicked off the three-race Late Model Series. A $5,000 bonus has been posted for the driver who can win two of the three events. An extra $20,000 is on the line if a driver can win all three.
The next event in the ACTion Super Series is the $10,000 to win REMAX Alliance National 150, Sunday, September 25 at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH. The Series will conclude Sat/Sun, Oct 1-2 at Thunder Road with the 42nd annual New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl.