ACTion News 5/30/07

ACTion News – 5/30/07
-by Justin St. Louis

The hammer has fallen for one American-Canadian Tour (ACT) driver following the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road on Monday. Brian Hoar of Williston, VT was competing in the race to “test” for the upcoming ACT Late Model Tour events at the track later this year, and crossed the finish line in second place. Hoar failed technical inspection, however, as his car found to be in violation of ACT’s strict Koni sealed shock absorber rule.

Hoar’s #45 team had made external alterations to their shocks, and were penalized severely for it. Hoar and team have been stripped of all championship points and purse money earned in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic and placed on a three-month suspension from competition at Thunder Road.

They have also been handed a $4,000 fine and will be on technical probation for all ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT Castrol events for the remainder of the 2007 season.

“A good part of our success over the past five years has been our strict policy on the Koni sealed shocks,” said Thunder Road Manager and ACT President Tom Curley. “The modification to the shocks was inexpensive and external, but still did not comply with the ACT rulebook. Thunder Road is as disappointed as the #45 team, but we feel strongly about upholding the integrity of our shock rule.”

The three-month suspension for Hoar is limited only to Thunder Road events, but includes the Vermont Governor’s Cup 100 on July 12, an event that many ACT teams are looking forward to as a test session, not unlike Hoar did at the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. Hoar’s suspension will end in time for the ACT Late Model Tour’s Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 on Sept. 1/2.

This should serve as a “one-time only” warning to ACT competitors – play with fire, and you will get burned.


Long heralded as the biggest weekend in motorsports, Memorial Day weekend was chock full of auto racing surprises. The “big” races had surprise endings in Charlotte and Indianapolis, but the real stories came in the world of Late Model racing.

For starters, Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC, who has been one sick kid of late, climbed behind the wheel of his brand new Junior Hanley-built ACT Late Model at the Serie ACT Castrol event at Autodrome St-Eustache on Saturday night, with intent to complete the entire 100-lap distance. Laperle was released from a Quebec hospital recently after a severe illness, and is still in the recovery process. Ever the racer, he not only took part in the St-Eustache 100, he very nearly won the whole show. Laperle fended off the toughest customer St-Eustache has seen in years – Sylvain Lacombe – to lead 88 laps before the pair were wrecked by lapped traffic. After the yellow, Laperle, again with Lacombe in tow, soldiered back through the field to finish in the top ten. That’s surprise number one.

Surprise number two came in the form of Normand Lavigeur, who found himself to be having a good day as of lap 89 of the St-Eustache 100. Lavigeur inherited the lead as Laperle and Lacombe spun, and then missed a lap 90 melee that included top-three runner Alexandre Gingras flipping his car down the frontstretch. Lavigeur held on to win the race over Steven Boissonneault (who publicly accepted part of the blame in the Gingras wreck) and unofficial point leader Jean-Francois Dery.

Surprise number three came at Maine’s Wiscasset Raceway on Sunday, as 17 year-old racer D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH held off 50-something veteran (and former Wiscasset champion) Mike Rowe to win the Coastal 200 and its $10,000 top prize. Shaw and Rowe were driving ACT-legal Late Models in a race once dominated by pro stocks. Dale Shaw, D.J.’s father and a champion driver himself, was in the stands at Thunder Road on Monday and reported that Sunday was the first time his boy had ever turned a lap at Wiscasset. The Coastal 200 was D.J.’s second big win of the year, having also captured the NH Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway in April at the wheel of the same ACT-legal car.

The fourth surprise was held for Dave Pembroke of Montpelier, VT, who at halfway thought he had the 45th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic in hand at Thunder Road on Monday. Pembroke earned the pole position in “plus/minus” heat race qualifying and jumped out to a big lead over the first 65 laps. A series of cautions bunched the field up, however, and Cris Michaud was able to sneak in front of Pembroke. Following a heated 20-lap battle, Pembroke inched back into the top spot, then had to hold off a challenges in lapped traffic for the win.

The last big surprise was the finish of the Allen Lumber Street Stock feature at Thunder Road. On the last lap, Craftsbury, VT’s Mike Martin was running in fourth place. Then, as leaders Logan Blacklock, Billy Hennequin, and Josh Demers came together, Martin snatched the lead and sped to the checkered flag. Demers finished second with a mangled race car, Blocklock spun to the infield, and Hennequin was penalized for dumping Blacklock out of the lead.

Incidentally, we’re hearing that Monday’s event at Thunder Road may have been Blacklock’s final race. The Addison county teenager has enlisted to serve his country in the military, and is expected to leave Vermont in the near future. For that, we salute you, Logan Blacklock, and wish your last race could have had a slightly better ending.


Did you know…?

-Dave Pembroke has extended the streak of different winners in the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic to sixteen, dating back to Dave Dion’s final win in the event in 1992. Since then, no driver has been able to grab multiple victories in the prestigious holiday race.

-Tom Therrien of Hinesburg, VT grabbed his fourth career win in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman event at Thunder Road on Monday, joining his younger brother, Street Stock rookie Bobby, as a feature winner this season. The last pair of siblings to win in the same season at Thunder Road was the Fecteaus last year – “Pistol Pete” won the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship in the Late Model division, “Super Joe” was a winner in the Street Stocks. Pete and Joe Fecteau also won once each in 2005.

-If the Power Shift Junkyard Warriors continue to race as well as they have been, Thunder Road officials will be holding tryouts for the next Jack Roush “Gong Show” at the Milk Bowl. Okay, that’s not true, but the Warriors have been doing well lately, and Monday’s feature was lots of fun to watch. Jared Henry of East Barre, VT won the race and becomes the 50th different Warrior winner since the division began in 2003. Henry’s brother, Randy, is also a winner in the division.

The ACT Late Model Tour heads north of the border for the first time in 2007 with the Challenge ACT 100 at Circuit Ste-Croix near Quebec City on Saturday. Thunder Road’s Thursday night season gets under way on June 14 with the Ferguson Waterworks card. As always, email with any questions or comments.