Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACTion News – Wednesday, July 25, 2007
-by Justin St. Louis
The first “Late Model Edition” of the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway has come and gone, and it seems that the new face of short track racing stock car machines has officially moved into a spotlight position, replacing the more expensive pro stock race cars of years past and opening the door to potentially hundreds of teams across the northeast. At Oxford on Sunday, 97 of those teams showed up to compete.
“Rocket” Roger Brown of Lancaster, NH, a former NAPA Tiger Sportsman competitor at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road and current American-Canadian Tour standout, grabbed the $25,000 top prize along with $10,800 in lap leader bonuses for a payday just shy of $36,000 – not a bad day’s work.
A quote from race winner Brown – who won by a mere six feet at the finish line, one of the closest ‘250’ finishes in history – after winning the 34th annual Maine short track classic on Sunday night is the perfect way to sum the more affordable ACT “spec” philosophy: "The difference is that I just won $36,000 with a $25,000 race car, and those (pro stock) guys won $36,000 with an $80,000 race car. And in my opinion the racing is every bit as good if not better.”
Unofficial third-place finisher Scott Payea echoed Brown’s thoughts.
“The check for third place in the 250 was worth $7,500,” Payea said. “One of our rival series based in the northeast paid $7,500 to the winner at a race all the way down in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday. Those guys have to travel a lot of miles to race, they put $40,000 into a single motor, and they’re only getting $7,500 to win. It doesn’t make any sense. I can race the rest of the entire season on $7,500, and I didn’t even win the race!”
“I blew up a motor at White Mountain,” said Brown, “but now, in one race, I’ve got enough to replace it and buy another one if I want, plus everything else the car might need, and still have plenty left over. It’s great racing, and it’s good money.”
Tracks and series represented at the TD Banknorth 250 included the American-Canadian Tour’s ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT Castrol, Thunder Road (Barre, VT), White Mountain Motorsports Park (North Woodstock, NH), Wiscasset (ME) Raceway, Lee USA (NH) Speedway, Riverside Speedway (Groveton, NH), a host of outlaw drivers from various regional and national touring series, and of course, Oxford Plains Speedway.
A whopping 45 of our own ACT/Thunder Road drivers and/or teams attempted to qualify. Of those that made it, here are the unofficial results, as of press time on Tuesday: Roger Brown (1st), Scott Payea (3rd), David Avery (6th), Trampas Demers (8th), Eric Chase (9th), Brent Dragon (10th), Cris Michaud (11th), John Donahue (12th), Brad Leighton (13th in a Phil Scott/Pete Duto team car), Karl Allard (14th), Jeremie Whorff (16th driving the Fearn/Laquerre/Bellerose car), Randy Potter (17th), Joey Laquerre (18th), Eric Williams (24th), Jamie Aube (25th), Ron Henry (26th), Pete Potvin (33rd), A.J. Begin (36th), Ryan Nolin (37th), and Jean-Paul Cyr (43rd).
On behalf of everyone at ACT/Thunder Road, we thank and congratulate all 97 of the teams and competitors that showed up to support the TD Banknorth 250 and make it a success. It is a tribute to your hard work and belief that Late Model racing is a good thing, that you had the opportunity to race in the event. You all made us very proud!
Now, the Rocketman, Payea, and company will head to Autodrome St-Eustache just outside of Montreal for the ACTion Super Series 200 on Saturday night. The race pays another good chunk of change – one that could keep a team not as fortunate as those that placed well in the TD Banknorth 250 – going strong for a while. $6,000 to the winner, and a healthy $800 for last place is nothing to sneeze at.
“$800 for last will cover your expenses for the weekend,” Payea said last month. “Those Super Series races are a good deal for everyone.”
More than 40 teams are expected from the ACT Late Model Tour and the Série ACT Castrol, as the event awards championship points to both series. Post time on Saturday night is 5:30pm.
The Série ACT Castrol was at Circuit Ste-Croix on Tuesday night for the annual “4 x 25” event, cumulatively scored in the style of Thunder Road’s Milk Bowl. Four 25-lap segments made up the event, with the overall finish determined by a point system that awards the winner of each segment one point, the second-place driver two points, etc. The driver with the lowest overall total after all four segments is declared the winner. In the event of ties for any overall positions, the driver with the highest finish in the final segment is awarded the overall position. Again, because of press deadlines, you can read about the results of the race on our website at www.acttour.com or www.laserieactcastrol.com.
The 48th Times Argus Mid-Season Championship is upon us at Thunder Road on Thursday, with double points on the line for the ACT Late Model, NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stock, and Power Shift Junkyard Warrior divisions. The extremely popular annual driver autograph session is also set to roll out at intermission, so make sure you bring a t-shirt, a notepad, a picture, your kid sister, or anything else you may want your favorite drivers to sign! Make sure to pick up a copy of the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and see the annual Mid-Season Championship special edition insert with photos, standings, stories, and a whole lot more! Also, just announced, the M&M Beverage Enduro 200 preview, rained out one week ago will run on Thursday. Post time is 7:00pm on Thursday, July 26, with preliminary events beginning at 6:30pm. Adults get in the gate at the regular rate of just $9, kids 6-12 get in for $3, and a family ticket for any two adults and any two kids is only $18. Kids under 6 get in for free!
And don’t forget, the 23rd Annual M&M Beverage Enduro 200 Extravaganza is this Sunday, July 29, at 6:30pm! Over 100 amateur racers will slam, bang, and crash their way around Thunder Road’s high banks for 200 laps, each one trying to win the $2,000 top prize. Also on tap are the 50-lap, $1,000-to-win Allen Lumber Street Stock special and a two-segment race for the Power Shift Junkyard Warriors. Regular admission rates remain in effect for this special event filled with motorized mayhem, crazy drivers, and spectacular action!
Get to Thunder Road early on Sunday, and you can check out some cool hot rods with the Vermont Auto Enthusiasts. The group organizes the show at Thunder Road each year, and will be accepting donations to benefit Camp Ta-Kum-Ta for children in need. The Vermont Auto Enthusiasts will be showing their rides at Thunder Road from 11am to 3pm. Admission is free, but fans are highly encouraged to give to a great cause in Camp Ta-Kum-Ta.
Did you know…?
-The Times Argus Mid-Season Championship is Thunder Road’s longest-running event, beginning in 1960 with hometown winner Larry Granger in the flathead coupe division. Pat Mid-Season Champions include Harold “Hardluck” Hanaford in 1965, “Fast” Eddie Ruggeri of Springfield, MA in 1971, and rookie Jeff Spooner in 1996. Multi-time winners are Doug Ingerson (1963, ’67), Lennie “Tiger” Stockwell (1966, ’69), Bobby Dragon (1973, ’75, ’77), Chuck Beede (1985, ’90, ’94), Jim Cilley (1993, ’95, 2000), Pete Fecteau (1997, 2003, ’06), Rich Lowrey (2001, ’05), and Cris Michaud (2002, ’04).
-Fecteau, Lowrey, and Michaud have dominated the Times Argus Mid-Season Championship in recent years, each winning twice since 2001. Between them, Fecteau’s lifetime average finish in the event (Late Model years, 1992-present) is 9.733, with Lowrey at 10.375 and Michaud at 10.500. The best year for the trio was in 2002 when Michaud won with Fecteau finishing in fourth place and Lowrey in fifth. Last year was their second-best effort, as Fecteau took the Triple Crown, Lowrey finished fifth, and Michaud came home eighth.
-Roger Brown became the fifth driver to win the TD Banknorth 250 in his first career start in the race. He joins Joey Kourafas in 1974, Butch Lindley in 1976, Geoff Bodine in 1980, and Jeremie Whorff in 2006. Some pretty nice company for the Rocket, eh?
As always, make sure to check our websites for news and updates, including race finishes and point standings, at www.acttour.com, www.laserieactcastrol.com, and www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com!