ACTion News 11/07/07

ACTion News – Wednesday, November 7, 2007
-by Justin St. Louis

Just a couple of quick notes this week, as it’s time to look back at the 2007 American-Canadian Tour/Thunder Road/Série ACT Castrol racing season by the numbers.

First, we’re hearing that youngster Brooks Clark has a new chassis under construction at Jeff Taylor’s Distance Race Chassis shops in Maine.  Clark, one of the young lions of Thunder Road’s Thursday night Late Model division, has designs on racing the full slate of events in 2008.  The Fayston, VT driver attempted about 75% of the Thunder Road schedule, and was impressive on a number of occasions, including a pair 8th-place runs midway through the year and a 14th at the “regular season” opener in May.  He drove the #68 A.W. Clark, Jr. & Son, Inc./Lackey’s Sunoco Chevrolet in 2007.

Shawn Fleury reports that his Late Model car is on jack stands and being prepared for next year.  Fleury drove most of the year for Massachusetts car owner Scott Fearn, but purchased a former Mike Rollins chassis (which, in turn, was a former Cooper MacRitchie ride) in August to compete with his own family team.

“We made a lot of changes on the car trying to make things work, and we were going really good in the B feature at the Milk Bowl before we were caught up in a crash,” he said.  “That car was a lot different than Scott’s car, but my crew caught on quick and they did a good job.  We were fourth in points entering double-points night when we blew a clutch, so that can’t be too bad for our first full year in a Late Model.”

Fleury finished the year with his #31 VT Army Guard/Ultramar team in a three-way tie for 13th overall with feature winners Kip Stockwell and Dwayne Lanphear.  While a win wasn’t in the cards for Fleury, a career-best runner-up effort on Pepsi Night in July and a third-place finish behind quasi-teammate John Donahue (driver of the National Guard car) on NAPA/Make-A-Wish Night in August were highlights.


Okay, let’s get on with it… 2007 in review “by the numbers”:

1 – Driver that qualified for every one of the 17 NAPA Tiger Sportsman features at Thunder Road in 2007.  “Double-Oh Joe” Steffen piloted the famous orange and black tiger-striped Winooski Press/Northern Coal & Oil Chevrolet to the starting grid every time out, the only driver to do so all year.

1 – The number of times a rookie driver has won a championship at Thunder Road.  It happened this year for the first time in the Allen Lumber Street Stock class when Hinesburg, VT’s Bobby Therrien put together a six-win season and held off veteran driver Lloyd Blakely for the title.

2 – The position Pete Vanderwyst finished in at Kawartha Speedway in September’s ACTion Super Series Summer Sizzler 200 – the only ACT Late Model Tour start of his long career to date.

3 – The number of drastically different cars Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior driver Brett “Buttercup” Pierce drove to podium finishes at Thunder Road, including wins in a Ford Escort and a Honda CRX.

4 – Times that Brian Hoar missed a top-three ACT Late Model Tour race finish by “this much.”  Hoar finished fourth at Airborne Speedway, Circuit Ste-Croix, Autodrome St-Eustache, and Thunder Road.

5 out of 6 – The number of first-time Champions across all six ACT-sanctioned divisions/series.  While Jean-Paul Cyr collected his seventh ACT Late Model Tour title, Patrick Laperle (Série ACT Castrol), Dave Pembroke (Thunder Road Late Model), Nick Sweet (T-Road Sportsman), Bobby Therrien (T-Road Street Stock), and Bunker Hodgdon (T-Road Warrior) were each Kings of their respective classes for the first time.

6 – The number of rookie drivers (all divisions combined) to win at least once at Thunder Road

7 – Times Jean-Paul Cyr finished on the ACT Late Model Tour podium without earning a victory.  It was Cyr’s first winless season since 2001.

8 – The number of teams that helped Cyr put his wrecked racer back together after a grinding heat race crash at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park in June.  Cyr eventually qualified 27th and finished a shockingly strong third place.  The performance has since been hailed as one of the greatest one-day comebacks in New England racing history, and it almost certainly assured Cyr of his 2007 ACT Late Model Tour Championship.

9 – The number of races that Gregg and Trevor Lyman and Matt White combined to start behind the wheel of the #17 Lyman Excavating Tiger Sportsman car.  White was a feature winner in the car on Charter Communications Night in July, while son Trevor and father Gregg posted best finishes of 6th and 12th, respectively.

10 – Wins at Thunder Road by a car with the number “1” on it.  Street Stocker Bobby Therrien carried the number to a modern era record-tying six wins by himself, joined twice each by Sportsman Scott Coburn and Warrior Chad Brown.

0 – Starts made by a Late Model car at Thunder Road with the number “1” on it during the year.

15 – Consecutive Top 10 finishes for Thunder Road Warrior driver Jamie Davis to end the season.  Davis began his streak with a 4th-place effort on WDEV Night, June 21, and never fell out of the Top 10 race finishers for the rest of the year.

15 – The number of rookie drivers to earn at least one Top 10 finish at Thunder Road.

18 – Drivers that earned a top-three finish in ACT Late Model Tour competition.

19 – The number of career victories by Steve Renaudette, the all-time leader in the Street Stock division.  Tommy “Thunder” Smith pushed his total to within four wins of tying Renaudette’s mark, taking two features in 2007.  Smith leads all drivers in the four-cylinder era of the division, which began in 1993.

22 – Different drivers that have been crowned Champion of the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division at Thunder Road since its inception in 1982.  Barre, VT’s Nick Sweet drove the #50 Fortier’s Community Care Home/SymQuest Group Chevrolet to the title this year.

43 – Late Model competitors in “regular season” events at Thunder Road during the year.

52 – Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior drivers at Thunder Road throughout the season.

56 – The number of different ACT Late Model Tour feature winners since 1992.  Randy Potter, Scott Payea, Ryan Nolin, Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk, Jr., Eddie MacDonald, “Irish” John Donahue, and Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Travis Adams were first-time winners in 2007.

57 – The number of different drivers on the all-time Warrior winners’ list since the division began in 2003.  Nine new names were added in 2007, including two-time winners Scott Weston, Chad Brown, and Brett Pierce.

60 – The number of different main event winners in 2007, combining all events held on the ACT Late Model Tour, Série ACT Castrol, and at Thunder Road.

61 – Allen Lumber Street Stock competitors at Thunder Road.

62 – NAPA Tiger Sportsman competitors at Thunder Road.

80 – Adding first-time winners Marcel Gravel and Chip Grenier, the number of different drivers on the all-time “weekly” Late Model winners’ list since the division began in 1992.

88 – Drivers that earned a top-three finish in weekly competition at Thunder Road, combining all four divisions.

154 – The number of different drivers to attempt an ACT Late Model Tour event.

192 – Different drivers on the all-time Tiger Sportsman winners’ list.  Rookie of the Year Joel Hodgdon was added to the list this year, along with fellow rookies Kyle Tatro and Shawn Sicard, and sophomore racer Chris Chambers.

223 – The number of different drivers on the all-time Street Stock winners’ list.  Six new names were added in 2007.

509 – Laps led by Patrick Laperle, combining the Série ACT Castrol and the ACT Late Model Tour.  Out of a possible 3,451, that’s nearly 15%... not bad considering Laperle only raced in six Tour races and completed no laps in the Castrol season opener at Autodrome Montmagny.  Laperle edged Scott Payea by just a single lap, 266-265, to lead the Tour, and walloped Sylvain Lacombe on the Série ACT Castrol, 351-286.

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