Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACTion News – Wed., July 2, 2008
-by Justin St. Louis
You used to hear – and may still – your uncle get into a little “bench race” about the glory days of short track stock car racing. Fields full of race cars. Drivers from all over the map. Good, hard, honest rivalries that made fans cheer, boo, argue, and high-five. And then he’ll wonder where the years went, and what went wrong with racing.
Do your uncle a favor and bring him to a race at Thunder Road. Sit with him and point out three cars: One white and green with orange 6’s on the doors, another red and black with grey 7’s and a little “VT” next to them, the third a stars-and-stripes #26. Introduce him to the names Cris Michaud, Eric Williams, and John Donahue, then have him listen to the couple thousand fans that each driver has in his corner.
Your uncle will have an all new bench race to run by the time he gets home.
Michaud, Williams, and Donahue have made it rather obvious that they would like to decide the Late Model “King of the Road” Track Championship among themselves this season. Michaud wants to become the first four-time champ in the division and only the second four-time Thunder Road Track Champion in history. Williams, who has won just about every major event Thunder Road offers, is looking for his first Late Model title. Donahue, who is now emerging as a weekly podium contender, is also searching for championship number one. Michaud and Donahue each have a pair of wins already this season, while Williams has three runner-up finishes, a third, a seventh, and a tenth in six Thunder Road starts this year (including American-Canadian Tour events).
Tell that old uncle of yours that, yup, he may have seen some great racing back in his day, but it looks like maybe the glory days are taking place right in front of us.
Here’s an idea: bring that uncle to the Pepsi Holiday Fireworks Spectacular on Thursday (July 3). A full card of ACT Late Models, NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, Allen Lumber Street Stocks, and Power Shift Online Junkyard Warriors is on tap, plus the biggest Independence Day holiday fireworks display in the area. General admission is $9.50 for adults, $3 for kids (6-12), and just $20 for a family of four. Post time is 6:30pm, gates open at 5:00pm.
The Michaud-Williams-Donahue trio went 1-2-3 in the CARQUEST Vermont Governor’s Cup 100 last Thursday evening in the presence of Gov. Jim Douglas, and now sit 1-2-3 (actually, 2-1-3, if we’re going in order) in championship points. Defending “King of the Road” Dave Pembroke sits fourth in points ahead of multi-time champ Phil Scott, sophomore Chip Grenier, and veterans Jamie Fisher, Joe Becker, Trampas Demers, and Shawn Fleury.
NAPA Tiger Sportsman driver Brendan Moodie committed a crime at Thunder Road, and he’s making no apologies. He’s been charged with theft of a 30-lap feature win. Moodie, who at 23 years old is already a veteran with a decade’s experience behind him, absolutely stole the show away from leader Josh Lovely in the final corner at the CARQUEST Governor’s Cup, using the lapped car of rookie Josh Demers as a pick in Turn 4. Moodie dove low when perhaps Lovely expected otherwise, and the three drag-raced door-to-door-to-door to the finish line. If Moodie won by a foot, that may be an exaggeration.
Lovely posted his best finish of the year in second, but don’t expect the sting to go away until he carries the checkered flag himself. As an eight-time winner in the Sportsman class, Lovely certainly knows how to get the job done. Lance Allen came home third for his second top-three of the season.
Travis Hull committed a similar theft in the Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior division, taking the win away from lead contenders John Prentice and Kevin Dodge on the white flag lap. Prentice held on for a career-best second, while Scott Weston snuck in for third. Dodge, in just his third start, was fourth.
Jason Corliss took his second career Allen Lumber Street Stock win over Garry Bashaw, Dave LaFleche, Tim Campbell, and Lloyd Blakely.
The ACT Late Model Tour was rained out at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday. Qualifying heats were run before rain washed the balance of the program away. Heats were won by rookies Nick Sweet and Jonathan Urlin, former ACT Champion Brad Leighton, and young up-and-comer Pete Potvin. The White Mountain 150 will be completed on Saturday, August 2. Pit pass wristbands will be honored at no charge on the make-up date. Grandstand tickets will be honored with a $5 surcharge at the front gate on August 2.
The Série ACT Castrol was also rained out (for the second time) at Autodrome Montmagny Speedway in Québec on Sunday. No make-up date has been announced as of press time.
Next up is the AUTOPRO 150 at Autodrome St-Félicien for the Série ACT Castrol on Saturday, July 5 at 7:00pm. The Castrol cars have been absent from the half-mile tri-oval since 2006, and their return is among the most highly-anticipated events on the northern schedule.
The ACT Late Model Tour heads west to Ontario’s Kawartha Speedway on Sunday, July 13 for the 5th Annual Summer Sizzler 200. If you didn’t travel out for ACT’s inaugural Kawartha visit last year, you missed out big time. State-of-the-art everything, including indoor grandstands with closed-circuit television coverage of the race, an award-winning restaurant, and phenomenal side-by-side racing. And did we mention horse racing on Saturday and a slot casino on-site? Don’t miss it!
Congratulations to ACT part-timer Eddie MacDonald on his victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. MacDonald and crew chief Rollie Lachance took a little under-funded New England-based team and beat the DEI, Gibbs, Hendrick, and Childress cars in an exciting race, just like it should be.
MacDonald says that now that half of his summer’s two goals are complete, he’ll go after completing the other task – winning the TD Banknorth 250 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday, July 20. The biggest one-day short track race in America will pay a guaranteed $25,000 to the winner, plus $100 for each lap led. ACT’s “Rocket” Roger Brown was thrust into the national spotlight with his 250 victory last summer.
How big is the TD Banknorth Oxford 250? Ask Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick, who has built his own ACT-legal Late Model with the sole intention of winning at OPS. For more information on the race, including ticket ordering information, visit www.oxfordplains.com. (And by the way, for our money, the party on Saturday night ain’t half bad, either. But nobody asked.)
Not much to report on the “ACT Tracker” this week, since most places were rained out. We would like to give a belated congratulations to Série ACT Castrol driver Dany Ouellet on his 50-lap victory at Autodrome Montmagny on June 22. Other Castrol drivers in the field were Éric St-Gelais (3rd), rookie Patrick Hamel (4th), Bob Hudon (6th), Kevin Roberge (9th), Jacques Poulin (10th), Stéphane Lecours (11th), Stéphane Durand (12th), and Jonathan Desbiens (13th). Also, back on June 20 at Kawartha Speedway, ACT part-timer Brandon Watson finished 3rd in the Kawartha/Capital City Summer Shootout Series, a 6-race big-money series. Other ACT drivers included Steve Munro (9th), Justin Holtom (15th), and Spencer MacPherson (16th).
Did you know…?
-Through six events at Thunder Road in 2008, only ten drivers have qualified for every NAPA Tiger Sportsman feature. They are, in order of point standings through the CARQUEST event, Craig Bushey (1st), Tom Therrien (2nd), Joey Laquerre (4th), Tony Rossi (9th), Matt Potter (10th), Derrick O’Donnell (11th), Eric Badore (13th), Mark Barnier (14th), Ricky Roberts (15th), and Jimmy Hebert (19th). 32 drivers have attempted to qualify for every event.
-It’s not much easier in the Allen Lumber Street Stock division, where only 15 of the 23 drivers to have raced every event have made all six features this year. They are Jason Corliss (1st), David Allen (2nd), Lloyd Blakely (3rd), Mike Martin (4th), Erik Steel (5th), Tim Campbell (6th), Justin Gordon (8th), rookie Mike MacAskill (10th), rookie David Whitcomb (11th), Gary Mullen (12th), Garry Bashaw (13th), Tommy Smith (14th), Steve Mandigo (15th), rookie Brett Pierce (17th), and Markus Farnham (22nd).
-In the “even tougher” department, try the ACT Late Model Tour. Only nine of 22 “100%ers” have made every feature so far (not including those qualified for the White Mountain 150). They are Scott Payea (1st), Jean-Paul Cyr (2nd), Patrick Laperle (3rd), John Donahue (4th), Randy Potter (5th), Brent Dragon (6th), Pete Potvin (9th), Scott Dragon (11th), and Jamie Fisher (14th).
Catch all the news and updates online at www.acttour.com, www.laserieactcastrol.com, and www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com. Email questions and other stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org.