Contributed by: ACT Staff
Veterans Head for International 300
The twenty-five thousand ($25,000) to win International 300 has a record number of American Canadian Tour (ACT) winners headed to the summer spectacular. Recent Vermont Governor’s Cup winner Nick Sweet from Barre, Vermont and Quebec’s Patrick Laperle will be joined by Ray Parent from Tiverton, Rhode Island and State of Maine drivers Jeff White from Winthrop and Rowland Robinson, Jr. from Steuben.
Sweet is a two-time Thunder Road Champion and has enjoyed success on longer tracks such as New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he has two second place finishes to Eddie MacDonald in the inaugural Bond Auto ACT Invitational in 2009 and again in 2011.
“I heard that Eddie was coming to Airborne. This is my chance to get even for those two second place finishes. The first one I kind of wrote off, as he had more experience than me, the second one he just plain beat me, and that one still stings! I have driven in a lot of Milk Bowl-type events and I hope that gives me an edge. I know how much everyone wants to win the money, but if it comes down to Eddie and me in the third segment, I sure hope it’s me at the checkers,” said Sweet.
Laperle started his racing career at Airborne, with his brother Eric. Literally, the twin brothers flipped a coin the first night there to see who was going to drive the first week and the plan was to switch the next week. Patrick won the toss. He never gave up the driver’s seat and became one of the most popular and colorful drivers ever to race on both sides of the border. Ironically, Eric never ran a lap, but he has become one of the best crew chiefs in the Northeast not just for his brother, but in the development of some young Quebec teams over the past 20 years.
The usually flamboyant Laperle, never short on words or opinions said, “I come to win the money! That’s it!”
Ray Parent won his first ACT US event at Airborne Speedway this past May. In what was one of the most competitive events of the year, Parent held off Blainville, Quebec’s Jonathan Bouvrette in a final lap photo finish dash off turn 4 by just .041 seconds. The Amtrol Ford Fusion team has established themselves as one of the favorites going into the International.
White and Robinson will make the long haul from Maine to attend the second International in Plattsburgh. White has momentum on his side, winning the last event held before the International at the White Mountain Motorsports Park in Woodstock, NH. The family team of Robinson has consistently had some solid top ten performances at Airborne.
“I like the chances of teams like Jeff White and Jr. Robinson in this kind of event. Obviously, it takes some luck and a consistent race car to get the job done, but stringing three segments together, even without winning one of the segments, still gives someone a chance to win the $25,000 dollars. A 50-lap and two 75-lap segments is a lot different than a straight up 150 or 200-lap race. It generally comes down to positioning yourself for that third segment with some solid finishes in the first two. Then you can take the gloves off and have at it for the win in the third segment. It should be a lot of fun to watch, “said Chris Michaud, former Milk Bowl winner and ACT Race Director at Thunder Road, home of the three segment Milk Bowl.
Filling out the race day card on Sunday will be the Airborne Sportsman Modified teams running a 50-lap special point race. They will be joined by the Pro Cam Truck Series from Quebec, and the Thunder Road Tiger division, which was introduced to Airborne when it changed from dirt to asphalt back in 1990.
Advanced sale tickets for the event are available now from the ACT office. Sunday reserved seat tickets are just $35, adult general admission is $25 and kids (ages 6 to 12) are just $5. Saturday, July 19’s Black Cat Hell Drivers Thrill Show tickets are just $10 for adults, $3 for kids (ages 6 to 12) and $20 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 kids).