ACTion News 6/27/07

ACTion News – Wednesday, June 27, 2007
-by Justin St. Louis

Okay, race fans, pack the cooler, hop in the ol’ family truckster, and get ready for an exciting ACT tripleheader weekend!  Thunder Road kicks things off with Sanel Parts Plus Night on Thursday, as NASCAR’s “Herminator” (known by some as Kenny Wallace) straps in to a Late Model on the Barre, VT high banks.  Qualifying for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks and Power Shift Junkyard Warriors begins early at 6:30pm, with the Post Parade and regular racing program set to roll out at 7:00pm.  Wallace will be signing his new Coastal 181 book, “Inside Herman’s World” and trying to recover from the intimidation of Thunder Road’s famous “Widowmaker” Turn 4 wall.

Friday night, head north of the border to Autodrome Chaudière for the Série ACT Castrol PRO-FAB 100.  If you’ve never been, Chaudière (in Vallée Jonction, QC) is a brand new  1/3-mile, progressively banked oval, similar in shape to Thunder Road.  The unique banking of the track provides multi-groove action, and creates lots of great side-by-side racing.  It’s a don’t-miss!

On Saturday evening, come back Stateside to White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, NH, as the ACT Late Model Tour takes on the “Kings of the Park” in the White Mountain 150.  Stacy and Tyler Cahoon, Quinny Welch, Kendell Legendre, Dan Colby, Oren Remick, and Brock Davis have fared very well against some strong ACT company in recent weeks, and Saturday’s extra-distance event should be another classic Granite State turf battle.


As mentioned, the White Mountain regulars have been particularly effective against some ACT invaders of late, defending their home track for each of the last two weeks.  Tour regular Eric Chase carried the ACT banner at White Mountain last Saturday, but only reached seventh place as Quinny Welch and friends put on a clinic.  Other ACT cars in the field included those of Randy Potter (8th), Jamie Aube (10th), John Donahue (12th), Marc Curtis, Jr. (21st), Joey Polewarczyk (22nd), and Roger Brown (25th).  The week before, Stacy Cahoon held off Dan Colby and Oren Remick, but Brown and Potter were strong top-five finishers.

Meanwhile, Furniture World of VT Spring Green winner Ryan Nolin made the long haul from Georgia, VT to the New Hampshire seacoast on Friday night, and went home with a nice piece of hardware after holding off young Lee USA Speedway hotshoe Jeff Labrecque for the victory in his first-ever appearance at the track. 

“I asked Dave Pembroke about the setup in the pits at Thunder Road on Thursday,” said Nolin.  “He gave me some good tips, and my crew hit it dead-on.  We showed up late and missed practice, so we used the heat race as our test session.  We passed cars right away, and I pulled into the pits after a few laps to check the stagger.  I made it back out in time to take the checkers, but I had to start last for the feature.”

Nolin started last on the field, then used the outside lane to pass former track champions Ricky Wolf and J.R. Baril before tackling Labrecque.  A late nudge from Labrecque sent Nolin sideways out of Turn 2, but Nolin gathered it back up and completed the pass.

“It was a lot of fun, and Lee has some tough racers.  The 24 (Labrecque) really had me sideways, but somehow the car got straight and we won the race.”


Before Nolin continued a season-long trend of “where’d-he-come-from?” winners of Friday, sophomore Late Model racer Marcel Gravel of Wolcott, VT turned heads at Thunder Road on Thursday night, winning the WDEV 50 in convincing style.

Gravel, a low-buck racer who continues to have the only open trailer in the Late Model pits (and even that’s borrowed!), passed former Milk Bowl champion Dwayne Lanphear on the outside to take the lead, then held off former “King of the Road” Jamie Fisher for his first career win.

If you had asked a veteran ACT race fan at the beginning of the season which drivers would have won races at this point in the year, the general consensus is that almost nobody would have picked Randy Potter and John Donahue to win at Oxford, Scott Payea and Marcel Gravel to win at Thunder Road, or Ryan Nolin to win at Airborne and Lee USA.  It’s a nice problem to have when the underdogs beat the established veterans and the drivers everyone expects to dominate.

This sends a message, loud and clear, that it’s anyone’s game in 2007 – take your pick for the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford on July 22.  If you’re right, you’re Nostradamus or something.  The Bond Auto Labor Day Classic at Thunder Road?  Sure, whatever you say.  The Vermont Milk Bowl?  Pfff… good luck!  Surprises are the rule this year, not the exception.


Did you know…?

-Joey Laquerre’s second extra-distance NAPA Tiger Sportsman victory of the season, in Thursday’s WDEV 100 at Thunder Road, moves him into sole possession of first place on the all-time winners’ list for the division.  Laquerre’s 15th career Sportsman win breaks a month-long tie with Mark Barnier for the top spot.

-Following his third-place finish on Ferguson Waterworks Night on June 14, Joel Hodgdon’s fifth-place run in the WDEV 100 marked the first time that a Sportsman rookie has earned back-to-back top-five finishes since 1999.  That year, Jay Laquerre took a feature win on July 1 and then finished third three days later.

-James “Flopper” Dopp won the Power Shift Junkyard Warrior feature for the second week in a row on WDEV Night.  Dopp is now the fourth driver (third plus one with an asterisk, actually) in the history of the division to do so.  Steve “Mudflap” Quenneville and Maynard Bartlett, Sr. each did the double in 2004, then Maynard Bartlett, Jr. created the asterisk last season.  Junior won the regular feature on July 13 last year, then was part of the winning three-car “team” the next week.  Either way, it counts!

We end this week’s column with a bit of sad news, as we’ve lost four-time Airborne Speedway Modified Champion Charlie Trombley of Mooers Forks, NY.  Trombley was famous for driving the #5 7/8 car, and raced against the likes of Bob Bruno, Dick Nephew, Don MacTavish, Jean-Paul Cabana, Ernie Reid, Jackie “Speed” Peterson, and Buck Holliday.  He competed far and wide across the U.S. and Canada, and was the Airborne king in 1959, 1960, 1963, and 1966.

Godspeed, Charlie Trombley.