St-Albert, QC’s Alex Labbé is returning to his roots next weekend at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway. The former Série ACT Champion and current NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie has entered the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) World Series 75 on Saturday, October 13 as part of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing.
Labbé will reunite with Larue Motorsports, with whom he competed regularly from 2013 through 2017, for the ACT season finale. It will be his first start in an ACT Late Model Tour event since the 2017 New Hampshire Governor’s Cup at Lee USA Speedway.
“We have next weekend off (from NASCAR), So Louis Larue asked me if I wanted to go run Thompson,” Labbé said. “I liked the track when I went there two years ago (with ACT). It’s a pretty fun track and a pretty challenging track. And it’s always fun to run that 48QC car with the Larue brothers, because we’re comfortable with each other, and the competition is pretty tough. So I thought it was a pretty good challenge — and with a weekend off, I had to do it!”
The 25-year-old is no stranger to success in ACT Late Models on either Canadian or U.S. soil. He won the 2014 Série ACT Championship as a driver and helped Larue Motorsports win the owner’s championship in 2015. He has posted 11 Série ACT wins, including two in U.S./Quebec combination events.
Labbé went on to win the 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Championship. This season, Labbé has been competing full-time on the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Go Fas Motorsports. He sits 16th in series points entering this weekend’s event at Delaware’s Dover International Speedway.
The Quebec standout has one previous start at Thompson in 2016 when he finished seventh in the World Series 75. He hopes the experience he has gained on similar tracks since then will help him secure a win this time around.
“It’s a tough track,” Labbé noted. “The first time I went there, it was very different from everywhere else I’d ever raced. It’s actually a little similar to Darlington or a place like that where you have to run the wall and get high on the track. The track is really wide, but the groove is pretty narrow. But I think it’s a really fun track because there’s not a lot of margin for error. It’s a driver’s track. You’ve got to get your car dialed in really well and have a good setup, but it’s a tough track to drive even by yourself – and even more so in traffic when you’re trying to pass cars!”
The event will actually be Labbé’s second start for Larue Motorsports in 2018. He competed in the ACT-sanctioned Bacon Bowl 200 at Vallée-Jct., QC’s Autodrome Chaudiere on August 18, finishing second to winner Jonathan Bouvrette.
“I really like short track racing,” Labbé said. “It was fun to come back to my roots – especially at a place like Chaudiere, where I’ve raced a lot before and which is pretty close to home. It’s always fun to drive these Late Models, because they’re a lot different than a big NASCAR Xfinity Series car. You’ve got to be a little smoother (in the Xfinity Series) because it’s a heavier car with radial tires. In a Late Model, you can drive the car just about as hard as you want for as long as you can. And Thompson is a place where you really have to run the track as hard as you can – it’s pretty hard to overdrive it. It’s a good challenge, and there’s always a really good field there with a lot of competition, so it should be a fun Saturday of racing.”
While the primary objective on October 13 will be to race and win, Labbé recognizes the significance of coming back to where he got his start. All in all, Labbé spent five full seasons and parts of two others running with ACT, and says the series is where he has learned the most about racing.
“It means a lot,” Labbé said. “This is where I grew up and built myself as a driver, so it’s always fun to come back to my roots and just race as hard as I can with tough competition. It’s what I love about ACT – it’s a touring series, and it’s really competitive, so there’s no lack of competition. I’ve always liked challenges. And the Larue brothers have helped me a lot in my career. I’ve turned a lot of laps and run a lot of races with them, so it’s always fun to come back, run in their equipment, and go after wins.”
Labbé will join the best of the American-Canadian Tour and the Thompson Speedway Late Models at the World Series 75 on Saturday, October 13. ACT will crown its 2018 champion as part of the 56th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing. The 3-day extravaganza features a total of 18 divisions and touring series from throughout the Northeast.
Qualifying on Saturday will begin at approximately 2:20pm. A 3-day general admission ticket for the World Series is $55 for adults and $50 for seniors, veterans, and active duty military. Kids ages 12 and under are admitted free.