Banquet of Champions

Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 10:00 PM EST

Contributed by: ACT Staff

Brian Hoar and Nick Sweet Take Top Honors at ACT/Thunder Road Banquet of Champions
Seven-time American Canadian Tour (ACT) Champion Brian Hoar of Williston was honored for his 2011 ACT Late Model Tour stock car championship on Saturday, January 22 at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel and Conference Center in South Burlington. Hoar earned three wins and never finished outside the top ten in the 13 event 2011 season. The championship was his second in a row with car owner and crew chief Rick Paya, who also has seven career titles as a crew chief and owner. Over 400 team, fans and officials were in attendance to help celebrate the team’s championship, which included a $10,000 point fund check. The team earned over $30,000 for their efforts in 2010.
The 42nd Annual MacTavish Award was given to two-time Série ACT Castrol Edge Champion Donald Theetge of Boischatel, Quebec for his dedication to Northeast stock car racing and ACT for over two decades. The prestigious MacTavish Award is named for legendary New England racer Don MacTavish who was killed in 1969 while racing at Daytona International Speedway. Theetge began racing with ACT in 1988 on the former Pro Stock Tour and has been one of the most skilled and respected drivers in the Northeast and Quebec ever since. He accepted the award at the 2010 Série ACT Castrol Edge Banquet of Champions in Quebec City, Quebec on Saturday, January 15.
The 2010 Thunder Road International Speedbowl Late Model Championship honors went to hometown favorite Nick Sweet of Barre. Sweet earned the “King of the Road” title in just his third season of Late Model competition. The 2008 ACT Late Model Tour Rookie of the Year and former Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen Champion returned to his hometrack and finished sixth in 2009. During his 2010 Championship run, he won two of the biggest events of the season in the opening day Merchants Bank 150 and the Carquest Governor’s Cup 100. In one of the closest battles in Thunder Road history, Sweet edged out runner-up Dave Pembroke and third place finisher Lt. Governor Phil Scott for the title.

Multi-time Lee USA Speedway Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. of Dover, NH and car owner Bruce Berhardt were honored as the winners of the first Ford Blue Oval Cup Challenge. The special program was designed for competitors who ran the newly designed Ford engine on the ACT Late Model Tour, Série ACT Castrol Edge or any of the nine ACT affiliated tracks. Helliwell’s nine feature wins at Lee helped him earned the 2010 Late Model Championship and the Ford Cup title.
Thunder Road also crowned its 2010 Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen Champion Tony Rossi of Peacham. Rossi earned two wins including his first career Tiger victory during his championship season. He beat runner-up David Finck by a mere nine points in the final standings.
Jason Bonnett of St.Albans earned the 2010 Bond/Wix Tiger Tour title. The 2010 tour was increased to four events at four different tracks. Bonnett finished the season with three top fives including a win at Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, New Hampshire.
The Allen Lumber Street Stock title went to three-time 2010 feature winner Mike MacAskill of Williamstown. Cabot’s Ken Christman won the Junkyard Warrior title with 12 wins during the season.
The third annual ACT Crew Chief of the Year Award went to seven-time ACT Tour Champion crew chief/owner Rick Paya. Paya led the Rick Paya Motorsports team to their second straight ACT Late Model Tour Championship.
The second annual Pete Hartt Memorial Media Award went to Stefan Hard of the Times Argus. The award is given in memory of former WDEV personality and Times Argus Sports Editor Pete Hartt. Hard was awarded the special honor for his coverage of regional stock car racing.
The 2010 Ken Squier Award was given to WDEV Radio based in Waterbury. The station has been a long time supporter of both ACT and Thunder Road, often broadcasting events live.
The Gordon R. Nielsen Rookie Achievement Award went to Danville’s Jason Corliss. The former Allen Lumber Street Stock Champion took the Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen Rookie of the Year title and earned his first career Tiger win in 2010.
Sportsmanship and Most Improved Driver Awards were handed out to all four Thunder Road divisions as well as the ACT Tour based on driver and official voting. ACT Late Model Tour winners were Mark Lamberton of Mooers Forks, New York for the Sportsmanship Award and Jeff Zuidema from North Brookfield, Massachusetts for the Most Improved Driver Award.
Thunder Road Late Model awards went to Brooks Clark from Fayston for Sportsman and Northfield’s Matt White for Most Improved. The Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen awards were presented to Mike Ziter of Williamstown for Sportsman and Milton’s Eric Badore for Most Improved.
The 2010 Ed Carroll Memorial Award for Sportsmanship in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks went to Wolcott’s Jamie Davis. The Junkyard Warrior Sportsmanship Award was given to Kevin Dodge of Barre.
Teams will get the chance to break the winter off season with a trip to the first ACT Goodyear Speedweeks Cup at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Florida on Sunday, February 13 and Monday, February 14. The 2011 ACT Late Model Tour season will kick off on Sunday, April 17 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. Thunder Road will open its doors with the 13th Annual Merchants Bank 150 on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1.