Saturday, January 10 2009 @ 11:00 PM EST
Contributed by: ACT Staff
American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model driver Patrick Laperle from Montreal was honored as a first time winner of the United States ACT Championship at the annual Banquet of Champions on Saturday night at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington, VT. Over 500 teams and fans celebrated with Laperle, as he became the first Canadian driver to win the ACT title since Jr. Hanley took the honors in 1995. Laperle is the first Quebec driver to ever win the US championship. Laperle won the ACT Canadian Serie Castrol championship in 2007. Laperle beat Milton, Vermont driver Scott Payea for the 2008 US title by a single point in the final race of the year. He had to win his third Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl at Thunder Road last fall to win the ACT title.
The 40th winner of the prestigious MacTavish Award was given to Milton, Vermont’s Brent Dragon. The award named for legendary New England racer Don MacTavish, who lost his life racing at the Daytona Int’l Speedway in 1969, made Dragon the third member of the first family of racing in Vermont to be honored with receiving the MacTavish, following wins by his father Harmon “Beaver’ Dragon in 1979, and uncle Bobby Dragon in 1983.
Thunder Road International Speedbowl crowned Hyde Park, VT’s Eric Williams the 2008 ‘King of the Road’. Williams had previously won titles in the ACT NAPA Sportsman division at both Airborne Speedway and Thunder Road. Williams captured the 2008 Late Model crown on the final race of the year by only 3 points over multi time track champion from Montpelier VT, Phil Scott.
The top teams from all divisions were awarded trophies and year-end bonus checks totaling over $60,000.00 for their 2008 racing contributions. The NAPA Sportsman championship went to Cambridge, VT’s Craig Bushey who announced he would be moving to the ACT Late Models in 2009. The Allen Lumber Street Stock winner had to use the last day of the season to capture his crown. Plainfield, VT’s Jason Corliss won by a single point. Travis Hull of Graniteville, VT won the Power Shift Warrior title.
The first annual ACT Crew Chief of the Year award was presented to Pete Knights, crew chief for Groveton, New Hampshire’s veteran driver Randy Potter. The award recognized Knights dedication, professionalism and support of ACT Late Model racing in the Northeast region.
John Walker from Plattsburgh, NY was awarded the Ken Squier Award for his many contributions to ACT and Thunder Road as a working official for over a decade.
The Gordon R. Nielsen Rookie Achievement award went to Rookie of the year Late Model racer Nick Sweet of Barre, VT. Sweet also won the award as a Street Stock driver in 2003. Thunder Road rookies who qualified for the award were Late Models, Matt White from Northfield; Sportsman, Hinesburg’s Bobby Therrien; Street Stocks, Mike MacAskill from Barre, VT
Racers and officials in all divisions voted for sportsmanship and most improved driver awards. ACT Late Model winners included sportsmanship award, Milton’s Eric Chase; most improved, Graniteville’s Pete Potvin III. Thunder Road sportsmanship winner was Barre’s Mike ‘Beetle’ Bailey, while Waitsfield, VT’s Brooks Clark won the most improved driver award. The Thunder Road Sportsman division awards went to 40-year veteran racer Joey Laquerre for sportsmanship, and the most improved award overwhelmingly went to Williamstown sophomore driver Jimmy Hebert.
The annual Eddie Carroll Memorial award is given to a deserving Street Stock driver for his sportsmanship. The 2008 honors went to Morrisville’s, Super Joe Fecteau.
The 2009 season for the American Canadian Tour kicks off at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee New Hampshire on Sunday April 19, 2009. Thunder Road celebrates its 50th season with the 11th annual Merchants Bank 150 over the weekend of May 03, 2009. For information call 802.244.6963 or visit www.acttour.com or www.thunderroadspeedbowl.com