Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT Hands Out Three Stars for Chaudiere 200
The American Racer Three Star program is designed to recognize three teams in no particular order of performance that had outstanding races at American-Canadian Tour (ACT) U.S. Tour events. There are no specific criteria for deciding who might receive the award of a free American Racer Tire (value $125.00), but a special effort by a team, exceptional race, just plain old hard luck, or any other accepted reason is used to decide the award recipients.
The Three Stars are chosen by ACT officials and will receive certificates for use of a free American Racer tire at a race of their choosing during the 2015 season.
Saturday, September 12 saw the ACT U.S. Tour, Série ACT, and the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) head to Vallée-Jct.,QC’s Autodrome Chaudiere for the fourth and final ACT/PASS doubleheader of the 2015 season as well as the third ACT combination event. 32 ACT Late Models attempted to qualify for 28 starting spots on the tight quarter-mile oval before a crowd that ranked as the second-largest in track history.
After a rough start to the event, the second half went caution-free. A barnburner developed at the front between Quebecers Jean-François Déry and Donald Theetge and New Hampshire’s Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. Helliwell eventually got underneath Theetgein lapped traffic with 11 laps remaining and went on to his fourth win of the season. But a number of stories behind the lead group were worthy of attention as well. After due consideration, the Chaudiere 200 Three Stars are as follows:
*Brandon Atkins, Au Sable Forks, NY – #4NY – The 2014 ACT Tour Rookie of the Year entered 2015 with a new car and high expectations, but had endured a somewhat disappointing season through 10 races. Although they entered Chaudiere seventh in points, the Northline Utilities team had just two top-10 finishes in point-counting events and spun out of the lead at White Mountain Motorsports Park in June.
The team came to Quebec with their second car to save the primary vehicle for the big end-of-season events – but the second car proved worthy against stout competition. Atkins finished second in his heat to earn the 11th starting spot in the feature. He then remained in the top-10 for 198 of the 200 laps and came home with a seventh-place lead-lap finish. The effort moved Atkins up to sixth in points and showed the team is getting their program headed back in a positive direction. The #4NY team receives a Star Award for their persistence and dedication through a long season.
*Jonathan Bouvrette, Blainville, QC – #41QC – Bouvrette has been strong in standalone Série ACT events in 2015 and built a big lead in the Bond Auto New Champions standings as a result. However, he had struggled in combination events and U.S. appearances heading into Chaudiere. After a tire came off the rim during his consolation race, it appeared the DLGL Software team could be in for another long night.
But after quickly putting a spare tire on, Bouvrette charged back up into a qualified spot. He started 22nd in the main event and steadily marched forward, cracking the top-10 for the first time on lap 79. Although the drive eventually stalled out, he eventually finished eighth on the lead lap. When combined with a tough evening for his competition, Bouvrette now effectively has a two-race lead in the New Champions standings with just a handful of events remaining. The #41QC receives their first Star Award of the season for bouncing back from adversity.
*Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT – #58VT – After a miserable first half of the 2015 season, the Hebert Excavation team had shown a spark in the past six weeks to climb back into the top-10 in ACT Tour points. However, when a right-front tire went flat in the opening laps of their heat race – forcing the team to use a spare for the rest of the night – it appeared the first-half jinx was rearing its ugly head again.
But Hebert went out and drove from last to fourth in his consi to qualify for the main event. He then charged forward in the main event from the 19th starting spot, rising as high as ninth by lap 52. The car tightened up after a series of cautions, but the #58VT still ended with a respectable 11th-place finish. Hebert receives his third Star Award of 2015 for a race that embodied the team’s season: constantly facing adversity, but always fighting through and making it out the other side.
The stars of the ACT U.S. Tour and Série ACT can be seen at the 7th Annual Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday, September 26. Forty-three ACT Late Model racers from the northeast United States and Canada will be part of the 50-lap, 52.9 mile event. The Invitational will take the green at 5:00pm.
Série ACT makes their third visit of the year to Autodrome St-Eustache for a 200-lap event Sunday, September 20. Both Tours head to Airborne Park Speedway on Saturday, October 3 for the 41st Annual Fall Foliage 200 which will crown the 2015 Série ACT Champion.