Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACTion News – Wednesday, November 14, 2007
-by Justin St. Louis
Patrick Laperle will be feted as the Série ACT Castrol Champion for 2007 this weekend at the Best Western Hotel Universal in Drummondville, QC. The veteran American-Canadian Tour competitor put together one of the most consistently dominant seasons in recent memory to capture the title, and collects his honors – which include a check for $10,000 – Saturday night.
Laperle will be recognized along with the rest of the Top 15 Série ACT Castrol drivers, Rookie of the Year Eric St-Gelais, the to-be-announced Most Improved Driver and Sportsmanship award winners, and the winner of an ABC-approved body from Five Star RaceCar Bodies of Wisconsin.
Québec journalist Marc Patrick Roy of Speed51.com will emcee the event. Festivities include a social hour, dinner, and dancing, and will begin at 6:00pm.
We reported last month that there has been a lot of interest in American-Canadian Tour Late Model equipment in Ontario. It was announced that Brent Dragon will be driving for Mike and Tom Kenyon of Kenyon Racing Products in Kemptville, Ontario in pursuit of his first career ACT Late Model Tour Championship. Dragon will step out of his long-campaigned Dale Shaw Race Cars seat and into a Kenyon house car – a brand new Port City chassis. The Canadian-based car will be maintained in Dragon’s Milton, VT race shop.
Thunder Road “King of the Road” Dave Pembroke, meanwhile, has gone in the other direction. His 2007 championship-winning car and equipment have been sold to an Ottawa-based team.
“Going to that (Série ACT) Castrol race in Ottawa was the best decision we’ve made in a while,” said Pembroke. The Montpelier, VT racer hauled to Capital City Speedway on a whim in early June for the Série ACT Castrol’s debut at the track, and led 53 laps before finishing second. Interest in Pembroke’s car, a Port City, was frequent throughout the year and an Ottawa-area car owner has purchased the entire Pembroke operation.
Pembroke reports that he is weighing his options for 2008, but at this point will likely return to defend his Thunder Road title with a new car. Don’t be surprised if he makes that return in a Dale Shaw-built car. Pembroke drove a Shaw car for owner David Storey in 2005-06, finishing second in ACT Late Model Tour standings both years.
We’ve received word that David Avery’s race shop has become a busy place of late. Long time racer Denny Stampfl of Seekonk (MA) Speedway and Waterford (CT) Speedbowl notoriety drove to the Avery shop in North Woodstock, NH unannounced recently with a truck and trailer, looked the race car over, decided he liked it, and bought it on the spot. Look for Stampfl to compete in a handful of ACT events in 2008, something he has done since 2004.
Not long after the Avery shop was vacated, a deal was struck with Richard Moody Racing of Auburn, ME to purchase one of the team’s immaculately prepared Late Models driven by Ben Rowe. Rowe, you’ll recall, steered an Avery machine to four ACT Late Model Tour wins in 2006, while Avery has seen a fair amount of success behind the wheel himself. Who will be driving the former RMR car next year remains to be seen, so stay tuned.
Allen Lumber Street Stock rookie driver Josh LaCourse has purchased the #10 Ford Mustang driven by Alan Maynard. LaCourse was a steady improver in 2007 with the help of dad Steve Violette, a former Street Stocker himself. The youngster will make the switch to the ex-Maynard rear-wheel-drive Mustang, while Violette may occasionally compete in the front-wheel-drive Ford Tempo that his boy drove to four top-ten finishes and 13th overall in championship points.
Did you know…?
-Josh LaCourse was one of fifteen rookies to contribute at least one top-ten finish at Thunder Road in 2007. Combining all eligible rookie drivers in the Late Model, NAPA Tiger Sportsman, and Allen Lumber Street Stock divisions, 76 top-tens were recorded, including a dozen main event victories.
-Jean-Paul Cyr’s 95-point margin of victory over Scott Payea for the ACT Late Model Tour Championship was the fifth largest in the series’ history, dating back to its inception in 1992. Brian Hoar clinched the 1999 Tour title over Chuck Beede by a mammoth 184-point spread for the largest defeat ever. The year before that, he beat Chris Fisher by 156 points for the second-largest beat of all time. Cyr’s 119-point advantage over Dave Pembroke in 2005 ranks third ahead of Patrick Laperle’s 102-point deficit behind 2002 Champion Phil Scott.
-Cyr recorded the slimmest margin of victory for the Tour title in 1996 when he beat Dave Whitcomb. The deciding factor was the famous three-wide finish in the Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway involving third-place race finisher Cyr, runner-up Ron Weston, and winner Whitcomb. Whitcomb entered the day 16 points behind Cyr and made up all but two, just falling short of the championship. Ironically, Lance Ferno captured the ACT crown over Gary Caron by only three points the previous season.
Everyone at ACT offers their congratulations to newlywed Late Model driver Scott Payea and his lovely bride Katrina! The high school sweethearts were married at the Vermont Country Club in South Burlington on Friday, November 9.