A pair of veteran stock car drivers lead the contingent of Ontario stock car drivers in to the upcoming $10,000 to win Mega Classique at Quebec’s Sanair Super Speedway. Derek Lynch, 35, from Warkworth, and Robbie Thompson, 34, of Fergus have both filed entries for the American-Canadian Tour’s (ACT) fifth event of the 2006 race season and first at the 7/8ths mile tri-oval since August, 1998.

(PHOTO RIGHT: A young Derek Lynch chats with veteran Beaver Dragon while sitting on the Sanair pit wall during a break in action during a GM Service Parts Pit Stop contest in the early 1990s)

Ironically both drivers cut their racing teeth on the short tracks of Ontario before moving to ACT’s former Pro Stock Tour in the early 1990s. More recently both drivers have opted to race the more affordable yet highly competitive ACT Late Model car.

Thompson recently took delivery of a car build by McColl Racing of London, ONT. While he’s been pleased with the car’s performance during preliminary testing sessions, Thompson had to wait until June 24 to test his ride in competition. He couldn’t have been disappointed with the outcome in the Late Model Spring Shoot Out at Kawartha Downs, a 3/8 mile, banked oval near Peterborough. In the 100-lap main event Thompson finished a close second to Jeff Hanley, son of legendary Canadian racer and three-time ACT Champion, Junior Hanley.

“For a car that’s right out of the box we’re really pleased,” the veteran competitor stated. “We were one of the fastest cars at Kawartha and it would go anywhere, high or low. I started ninth and was able to catch up to and run with Jeff. My car was faster through the corners (than his) and I could get up to Jeff’s door, but I couldn’t get the pass done. Hanley was running the larger crate motor while I was using the ACT-legal engine I’ll use at Sanair,” he explained.

Thompson continued, “We’ve tested with ACT’s Goodyear tires so I’ll be comfortable with them. The group of people I’m working with is great – as a driver, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with and this is the best bunch I’ve had since I started racing back in 1988,” he finished.

Lynch, the 1995 winner of the prestigious Oxford 250 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway, has also been testing his race car in preparation for Sanair. “I’m hoping I’ll remember how to get around the track although the Late Model car and its spec engine could possibly change the way I drive it. Sanair was always a favorite track of mine and I can’t wait to get back there,” Lynch said.

Other Ontarians heading to Sanair include Steve Munro from Carp, Spencer MacPherson of Carleton Place, Cobourg’s Norm Mayhew, and Rick Rump from Ottawa. Like Thompson and Lynch, Munro has previous experience at Sanair.

With the entries from the Ontario drivers, the list of Late Model drivers looking to qualify in one of the 43 available starting positions exceeds 50. Representatives from all six New England States as well as New York and Quebec will converge on Canada’s lone super speedway on Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9. The event at Sanair will kick off the three race ACTion Super Series with its designated race events paying $10,000 each to win.