ACTion News 8/13/08

ACTion News – Wednesday, August 13, 2008
-by Justin St. Louis

Martin Lacombe defeated the odds in a big way on Saturday night to capture the Toromont CAT 100 at Capital City Speedway, the second Série ACT Castrol win of his career.  Lacombe has had nothing but bad luck in 2008 – at the opening event at his home track, Autodrome St-Eustache near Montréal and his hometown of Terrebonne, QC, Lacombe blew and engine in practice.  After a hasty powerplant swap, he made his way to the lead pack… then the transmission broke.

At Autodrome Chaudière in June, Lacombe was caught up in a mid-race crash, and finished 10 laps off the pace.  At Autodrome St-Félicien in July, Lacombe led the race by a comfortable margin before running out of gas with just three laps remaining.  And at Capital City last weekend, after a two-hour rain delay and a terrible evening forecast, Lacombe had to pit mid-race after suffering a flat tire.  When he came back onto the track he wasted little time in getting to the front, but was nearly crashed out of the race on a lap 82 restart as he and then-leader Jean-François Déry came together.

But after a few quick saves down the concrete frontstretch, Lacombe held on, took the lead, and then walked away from Brent Dragon to score a well-deserved victory.  Alexandre Gingras rebounded from a tough first three races with third place.  Teenage sensation Brandon Watson came home a career-best fourth, with 60-something Claude Leclerc in fifth place.

Martin Lacombe in Capital City Speedway Victory Lane (Stéphane Lazare photo)

Martin Lacombe will now get his chance at two in a row as the Série ACT Castrol returns to Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jct., QC on Saturday (Aug. 16) for the Luminaire Napert 150.  Reports, however, indicate that he’ll have to face the challenges of not only Gingras, Leclerc, Déry, and Karl Allard, but also his older brother, former Série ACT Castrol Champion Sylvain Lacombe, as well as St-Félicien runner-up Mario Gosselin and hometown favorite Marc-André Cliche.


They say that the third time’s a charm, right?  The American-Canadian Tour Late Models will try to charm Mother Nature and New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday as well, with the twice-rained out White Mountain 150.  First-round qualifying was completed on June 28, with Brad Leighton, Pete Potvin, and rookies Jonathan Urlin and Nick Sweet winning their heats.  Racing begins at 6:00pm.


Speaking of rain… Thunder Road fans are no doubt geared up for the Vermont ACE Hardware Dealers event on Thursday (Aug. 14) after nearly a month of rainouts at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement.”  Double features for the Allen Lumber Street Stocks highlight the four-division card, as the Late Models, NAPA Tiger Sportsmen, and Power Shift Online Junkyard Warriors tag along for regular championship events.  We’re sick of the weather telling us what to do, so here’s what’s going to happen – we’re gonna beat the rain and have ourselves some fun!  Gates open at 5:00pm, racing goes at 6:30pm.  It’s just $9.50 for adults, and only $20 for a family of two adults and two kids.

And you know what?  We’ll do it all again on Sunday with the Casella Waste Management Tiger Sportsman 100 at 5:00pm!  Gates open at 3:30pm, regular admission – Double features for Warriors, regular events for the Late Models and Streets.


Thunder Road will have its first alternative energy-powered race car on the high banks on Thursday, as a team from the University of Vermont (UVM) brings its “GreenSpeed” race for an exhibition run.  AERO (Alternative Energy Racing Organization), the car’s design team at UVM, received second place in technical design during the International Formula Hybrid Competition at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH in May.  The car also received awards for Best Hybrid-in-Progess, Most Innovative Design, and Chrysler’s Best Hybrid System Engineering Award.

GreenSpeed is a true hybrid, using a 50-kilowatt (approx. 40 HP) Azure lithium battery and a 35 HP Honda motorcycle engine simultaneously.  The lithium battery is charged through regenerative braking – essentially, every time the brakes are applied, energy from braking is redirected into the battery.

Paul Hines, Assistant Professor at the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, is an Advisor for the AERO project.  “The test at Thunder Road will be GreenSpeed’s first high-speed test, as the car did not compete in the on-track portion of the IFHC in May,” said Hines.  “We are very excited to see what the car can do on the track, and we’re hoping to introduce this new type of race car to Thunder Road’s fan base.”


Congratulations to ACT Late Model Tour driver Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk, Jr. on landing a ride for the Sept. 12 NASCAR Camping World East Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  Polewarczyk made his series debut at Thompson, CT last month driving for Barney McRae, finishing 16th on the lead lap.  At NHMS, Polewarczyk will steer the Dave Davis-owned #03 Chevrolet that Rogelio Lopez put on the pole position a year ago.  Polewarczyk will face former NHMS winner and TD Banknorth Oxford 250 nemesis Eddie MacDonald at the race, and will do it in front of the big-money Sprint Cup Series teams to boot.  Good luck to one of ACT’s own!


Did you know…?

-Thunder Road has had 14 first-time winners in 2008 – Rookie Matt White scored in the Late Models, with Lance Allen and Sean McCarthy getting it done in the NAPA Sportsman class.  Bunker Hodgdon, Vern Woodard, Dave LaFleche, Josh LaCourse, and rookie Brett Pierce are the Allen Lumber Street Stock first-time winners, with Neal Foster, Fred Schroeder, Jeremy Fleury, and Justin Gay in the Power Shift Warriors.  Plus, True Value Modified Racing Series driver Kirk Alexander won the first-ever TVMRS event on Memorial Day.

-We only named 13 drivers there.  So who’s the 14th?  Believe it or not, Robbie Crouch, the six-time ACT Champion.  Crouch has won at Thunder Road more times than we can count, but he had never done so in the present-day Late Model division until his Fisher/Federated Auto Parts score on July 25.

-Six of the first-time Thunder Road winners this season have actually won in another division, as well.  Hodgdon, Pierce, LaFleche, and McCarthy are all former Warrior winners.  White has victories in the Sportsman division and the M&M Beverage Enduro 200, and Crouch was a multi-time winner in the 1970s Late Model Sportsman and 1980s/1990s ACT Pro Stock Tour.

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