Contributed by: ACT Staff
“Even though we went to all of the Super Series races, I was never able to qualify – as a first year driver, the tracks were all new and the competition was very tough, but I had great experiences. To still be able to take home a $1,500 bonus, that’s pretty amazing,” the youngster commented upon receiving his championship trophy in front of a large crowd on Booth Bros/HP Hood Qualifying Day at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval in Barre, VT. “
Marcel Gravel from Wolcott, VT finished second in the standings and will receive $1,200 for his efforts. Gravel was crowned as the top freshman driver at Thunder Road following the Late Model division’s season ending race. Earning $1,000 in the Bond Auto/WIX Reserve Champion program was second generation Braintree, VT driver, Cal Poulin.
Sam Caron of Colchester, VT, finished fourth in the standings after the three Super Series races. His point fund earnings are $900. Rounding out the top five was Claremont, New Hampshire’s Mike Jurkowski who will claim $750.
The Reserve Champion program and its $10,000 point fund was put in place for Late Model drivers not making the field in any or all three main events comprising the ACTion Super Series. Since a limited number of starting spots was posted for each of the events, and upwards of 50 cars were expected to attempt to qualify for each of the three $10,000 to win races, ACT president Tom Curley developed the innovative program in 2005. True to form, an average of just over 55 Late Models turned out for the events at Quebec’s Sanair Super Speedway on July 9, Thunder Road’s Sept. 3 Bond Auto Labor Day Classic, and the 43rd annual New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl, Oct 8. Instead of sending the non-qualifiers home with nothing but their purse money, the Bond/Auto Wix Reserve Champion program gave those drivers a separate year-end point fund.
“From the initial ACTion Super Series experiment at Lee USA in September, 2004, we knew that a lot of good race drivers wouldn’t make the starting field in subsequent events. And there would be a lot of different reasons. Those drivers go through the same efforts and have the same expenses as the drivers who make the big money features. We wanted everyone to have a positive experience racing in the Super Series events, but when you’re on the sidelines watching the others, it can be hard to take. That’s when the concept came to me,” explained Curley.
Drivers eligible for the Bond Auto/Wix Reserve Champion program were those who did not make the starting field through a heat race, consolation round, or a “Last Chance/B” feature. The Reserve Champion program awards points based on a driver’s finish with 100 going to the first driver not making the main event. The next non-transferee is awarded 99 points with a one point declination awarded to each subsequent competitor who is eligible. In all, 57 competitors earned points in one or more of the ACTion Super Series events in 2006, two more than in 2005.