Contributed by: ACT Staff
ACT Three Stars Selected for Fall Foliage 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.
AIRBORNE PARK SPEEDWAY
FALL FOLIAGE 200
The 41st Annual Fall Foliage 200 at Plattsburgh, NY’s Airborne Park Speedway is perennially a grueling affair that nonetheless is seldom decided until the final laps. The 2015 edition was no exception. The drama began just 34 laps into the event when Hudson, NH’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr. suffered a broken shock mount while leading, dealing a crushing blow to his bid to repeat as ACT U.S. Champion. Meanwhile, Quebers Dany Trépanier and Jean-François Déry were duking it out from the get-go for the Série ACT Q.C. Championship in their season finale.
After the top dogs positioned themselves in the first ¾ of the event, the final 50 laps were some of the hardest-fought of the 2015 ACT season. Alex Labbé, Patrick Laperle, Nick Sweet, and Brian Hoar all took turns at the front, with the leaders running side-by-side for numerous circuits. Hoar eventually inherited the win after Laperle was found to be in violation of ACT’s shock rule, but memories of the thrilling duel will remain. Behind the lead quartet, a number of other drivers had outstanding efforts in their own right, and there were several deserving candidates for the American Racer Three Star Awards. The winners for the Fall Foliage 200 are:
*Dany Trépanier, St-Edouard, QC – #19QC – The 2015 season was one to remember for Dany Trépanier and his Construction JC-7 team. Trépanier finished second in the 2014 Série ACT point standings, and entered his sixth season with the Tour with a new car from Crazy Horse Racing and the determination to win his first title. Entering the Série ACT season finale at Airborne he held a 30-point lead over 2013 Champion Jean-François Déry on the strength of one win and eight top-5 finishes.
Trépanier knew entering the event he had to look at the big picture; one wrong move could cost him the prize he had worked all season for. After starting 18th, Trépanier drove a clean, smart race. He worked his way into the top-10 by lap 60 and ran there most of the event, eventually finishing ninth. Coupled with Déry’s eighth-place result, it was more than enough to secure the Série ACT crown. ACT congratulates Trépanier and his team, and they receive a Star Award for knowing the situation and doing exactly what they needed to clinch their title.
*Brandon Atkins, Au Sable Forks, NY – #4NY – The Fall Foliage 200 was the first event at Airborne since the death of Leon Gonyo, a veteran of racing for more than 40 years and a staple of Airborne for the past decade. In tribute to his fallen idol, Brandon Atkins carried yellow #4’s on his car at Airborne just as he did the previous week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Atkins started last in his heat and was moving forward when an incident with Gaetan Gaudreault left him with heavy right-side damage. After making repairs Atkins again started last in the main event – and again rocketed to the front. The Northline Utilities Dodge entered the top-10 on lap 84 and cracked the top-5 on lap 151. Although the drive didn’t leave Atkins with enough car to challenge the leaders, his fifth-place finish was his best of 2015 and positioned him to potentially finish as high as fourth in the final standings. Atkins receives his ACT-high fourth Star Award of the season for a stellar day that continues his late-season push.
*Brad Babb, Windham, ME – #15NH – Over the course of the 2015 season, seeing Brad Babb in contention at an ACT event has gone from a pleasant surprise to an expectation. It’s now a shock when they struggle – which is how his day began at Airborne. Babb was unable to break out of the pack in qualifying and was relegated to the 20th starting position for the Fall Foliage 200. To compound matters, an “accordion effect” a dozen laps into the event resulted in a puckered nose on his Joey Laquerre–owned Ford.
But Babb has faced adversity before this season, and he’s always bounced back. He did so again on Saturday, staying on the lead lap through a pair of long green-flag runs and readying for the final sprint. Babb then took advantage of three late restarts and sliced to a final sixth-place finish. He is now all but assured of finishing third in the final ACT Tour standings, which surpasses almost everyone’s expectations entering the season. The team receives its third Star Award of 2015 and is already on the short list of title contenders for 2016.
The cars and stars of ACT now head to Thunder Road Speedbowl for the 53rd Annual Northfield Savings Bank Milk Bowl. Booth Bros./H.P. Hood Qualifying Day on Saturday, October 10 at 1:30pm will feature time trials and “Triple 50” qualifying races to help set the 30-car starting field. The first segment of the historic event rolls to the grid at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 11.