Ste-Croix, Qc – Veteran Quebec stock car driver, Donald Theetge of Boischatel, Qc scored his first career American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model win Saturday night at the 5/8ths mile Circuit Ste-Croix, his home track. Sylvain Lacombe of Terrebonne, Qc was second and Milton, Vermont’s Brent Dragon was third. A pair of Vermont drivers, Dave Pembroke of Montpelier, and Milton’s Jean-Paul Cyr rounded out the top five. (photo at right - (left to right) Sylvain Lacombe (2nd), Donald Theetge (winner) and Brent Dragon (3rd))

The victory in the Banlieu Ford 100 was not an easy one for Theetge as he had to contend with a hard charging Roger Brown from Lancaster, NH. Brown, 26, the 2003 ACT Late Model Rookie of the Year, is one of the Tour’s young upstarts. From the 27th lap on and for nearly 40 circuits around the fast speedplant, the duo waged a battle for the lead that had the near capacity crowd on their feet. (photo: #99 of Roger Brown battled with eventual winner Donald Theetge for nearly 40 laps)

Five-time ACT Tour Champion, Brian Hoar of Williston, VT, making a rare appearance, started on the pole. A caution for Phil Scott’s excursion off the backstretch on the first lap gathered the 29 car starting field back up for a restart. When the green flew for the second time, Brown got the jump and moved into the lead leaving Hoar to contend with Theetge and outside pole sitter, Martin Lacombe from Terrebonne, Qc.

Theetge made quick work of his fellow Countryman but was not able to overtake the event’s pole sitter as easily. Hoar, who has previously won an ACT Late Model race at the Quebec oval, looked comfortable in his Late Model, but Theetge’s knowledge of the track allowed him to gain the upper hand on the 14th circuit. Theetge was able to pass race leader Brown on a restart following a caution on the 27th lap. A couple of additional yellow flags keep the lead pair together and the partisan Quebec fans on their feet.

The Brown/Theetge battle at the head of the pack wasn’t the only being fought at the track that night. A pack of some ten cars include Dragon, Cyr, Pembroke, Hoar, Claude Leclerc, Andre Beaudoin, and Mark Lamberton diced back and forth for position before the checkered flag fell. Martin Lacombe settled for sixth followed by Brown, and Mooers Forks, NY driver Lamberton. Phil Scott, who recovered from his second lap off-track incident raced to ninth and Leclerc, a 60+ year-old racing veteran from Lanoraie, Qc rounded out the top ten.

Race winner Theetge, a regular competitor with the Quebec-based Série Castrol, was one of eight Quebec competitors who attempted to qualify for the ACT Late Model Tour’s Banlieu Ford 100. “This race was a good tune-up for the $10,000 to win Mega Classique at Sanair in July,” Theetge said in victory lane. “The ACT and Série Castrol cars matched up pretty well. Both Tours have a lot of good drivers and I think the fans will see a very exciting feature race as well as qualifying.”

Runner-up Lacombe, winner of a 2002 ACT Tour race at Ste-Croix and third-place Dragon agreed. “Sanair is one of my favorite tracks and I can’t wait until we return there July 8-9,” added Dragon. (photo below: Brent Dragon (55) tries to retain his third place position against Sylvain Lacombe. Lacombe, who started 17th, was impressive as he advanced through the field)

The ACT Tour’s third of 12 events on the 2006 schedule is set for Sunday, May 21 at New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway. Post time is 2:00 pm.

(Ste-Croix photos courtesy of Guy Fortier, St Hubert, Qc 450-672-5939)