ACTion News 6/06/07

ACTion News – Wednesday, June 6, 2007
-by Justin St. Louis

Donald Theetge proved on Saturday night that he is a man of his word.  Theetge predicted on Thursday that he would bring his car to victory lane following the Challenge ACT 100 at Circuit Ste-Croix in Quebec, and that’s exactly what he did.  The home-track driver ran a brilliant race from the fifth starting spot – first by holding off a challenge from fellow Frenchman Karl Allard that lasted 50 laps while running in second place, then by dispatching of race leader Jean-Paul Cyr with a pick move in lapped traffic to take command with 14 laps remaining.

Exactly as planned, Theetge drove into victory lane and was welcomed by a throng of screaming hometown fans.  He left the winner’s circle in seventh place in the ACT Late Model Tour point standings, and with a huge wave of momentum on his side.

Theetge has made more of a steady progression from the season opener than anyone else on the Tour so far.  He failed to qualify at Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway in April, then finished an off-the-radar 19th at Thunder Road in May.  A week after Thunder Road, however, Theetge earned the “plus/minus” pole at Airborne Speedway and finished eighth.  Now, he has his first victory of the year, and is beginning to look the part of a potential championship spoiler as the schedule progresses.

“Jean-Paul Cyr is a great driver and he has a great team.  He’s going to be very tough to beat this year,” said Theetge.  “Now we have to give him a challenge on the other side of the border.  We have to keep thinking that to be fast in the United States.  We’ve got a good car right now.  When we go to White Mountain in a few weeks, that’s a track we’ve never been to before, and we’ll have to qualify.   But we have good car, and this a great team.  We came here to win the race, and that’s what we did.  If we can get into the top five in points we’ll be very happy.”


Counting the drivers that made their first ACT Late Model Tour starts of the season, 13 drivers either set or matched their best finish of the year at Circuit Ste-Croix on Saturday.  Winner Donald Theetge and runner-up Brent Dragon led the charge.  Dragon actually matched his second-place run at Airborne Speedway a few weeks ago, but Theetge improved seven positions from eighth place at Airborne.  Brian Hoar, in fourth place, is in the same boat as Dragon, having also finished fourth at Airborne, and it’s the same story for 14th-place finisher Ryan Vanasse.  Karl Allard finished in sixth place, improving 10 spots from Airborne, and veteran Claude Leclerc finished 15th at Ste-Croix for his best result of the season.  Making their first starts of the year were Yvon Bedard (16th), Serie ACT Castrol winner Normand Lavigueur (24th), Eric Lehoux (22nd), Jacques Poulin (15th), Ontario veteran Robbie Thompson (11th), and rookies Jonathan Desbiens (23rd) and Eric St-Gelais (27th).


Did you know…?

-Jean-Paul Cyr has finished on the podium in all four ACT Late Model Tour events this season.  No other driver has been able to accomplish that feat since the series’ inception in 1992.  In fact, only two other drivers have even finished in the top five in the first four races.  In 1994, Jim Cilley finished 4th, 5th, 3rd, and 3rd to open the year, while Scott Dragon posted finishes of 1st, 5th, 4th, and 5th in 2003.  Cyr’s results in 2007 have been 2nd at Oxford Plains, and 3rd at Thunder Road, Airborne, and Ste-Croix.

-Counting all divisions since 1992, only six times (out of a possible 49) has a feature winner from the first Thursday night event of the Thunder Road season gone on to win the track championship.  The most recent driver to do so was Seamus Curley, who won the opening Thursday night race of 2003 and became the Power Shift Junkyard Warrior “King of the Road” at the end of the year.  Before Curley were Phil Scott (Late Models, 2002), Brian Hoar (Late Models, 1999), Jimmy Young (NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, 1997), Tim Martin (Allen Lumber Street Stocks, 1995), and Jason Gibbs (Street Stocks, 1994).  We’re guessing that a bunch of drivers want to change that statistic on Ferguson Waterworks Night, Thursday June 14.

-In terms of geography, the ACT Late Model Tour saw its most diverse field of cars this season at Circuit Ste-Croix.  Race teams traveled from seven locales: Canadian provinces Quebec (10) and Ontario (1), and US states Vermont (9), New Hampshire (5), Maine (1), Massachusetts (1), and Rhode Island (1).  With the exception of Maine’s lone driver in the race, Ron Henry, who finished 19th, all were represented in the top half of the finishing order.

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