The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) arrives in Quebec on Saturday, June 1 for the first round of a Canadian twin bill. But while plenty of U.S. stars are making the trip, the best ACT racers in Quebec will be trying to keep the big trophies and big checks at home.
A huge field of Quebec-based Late Model drivers have already committed to the Claude Leclerc 150 at Vallée-Jct., QC’s Autodrome Chaudiere on Saturday, June 1 and the Jean-Paul Cabana 125 at Ste-Croix, QC’s Circuit Riverside Speedway on Sunday, June 2. Champions such as Patrick Laperle, Jonathan Bouvrette, and Samuel Charland join a mix of popular veterans and rising stars who are eager to claim the $5,000 USD winner’s check at Chaudiere and/or the $5,000 CAD top prize at Circuit Ste-Croix.
What might be most notable is that the man the Saturday night event is named for is also on the entry list. Lanoraie, QC’s Claude Leclerc continues to put the pedal down at age 77 as a full-time competitor on the ACT Late Model Tour. While the Claude Leclerc 150 is a tribute to the racing legacy of “The Ironman”, he has a chance to add to that legacy with a strong run in his namesake event.
St-Denis, QC’s Laperle remains a threat to win almost anywhere he goes, and he will be on the short list of contenders this weekend. The former Série ACT and ACT U.S. Champion currently is tied with Brian Hoar for the most victories in ACT-sanctioned Late Model touring events. Having two events on his home turf could be Laperle’s best chance to break that tie.
Several Canadians who have been traveling with the ACT Late Model Tour this season get to race much closer to home for this round. Blainville, QC’s Bouvrette is another prime contender to watch, as the 2017 Série ACT Champion captured the $10,000 CAD-to-win Bacon Bowl 200 at Chaudiere last August. However, his teammate Mathieu Kingsbury is the highest Canadian in the ACT point standings right now as he sits sixth overall. Saturday’s event is an opportunity to make a big statement in his first year with the Tour. Another former Série ACT Champion, Quebec City’s Jean-Francois Dery, has committed to the Jean-Paul Cabana 125 at a track where he has always run strong.
Autodrome Chaudiere also has a strong weekly NASCAR Late Model class that uses ACT rules. Many of those weekly runners have already filed their entries for the big shows. Victoriaville, QC’s Samuel Charland, the 2018 Autodrome Chaudiere Champion and Triple Crown Champion, looks to start his title defense with a win. Other top-10 runners from 2018 such as Beauceville, QC’s Jeff Cote; St-Raymond, QC’s Christophe Paquet; and Sainte-Georges, QC’s Jonathan Bergeron will come to compete.
Those who follow ACT action around the region may see some other familiar names. Vallée-Jct., QC’s Marc-Andre Cliché; Saint-Joseph du Beauce, QC’s Pier-Luc Labbe; St-Paul de Juliette, QC’s Remi Perreault; and Notre Dame des Pins, QC’s Alexendre Tardif now all have experience with the ACT Late Model Tour or Série ACT. They will surely be in their element as they attempt to qualify for what are expected to be two of the biggest ACT fields of the year.
They’ll have to contend with a strong contingent of U.S.-based Late Model racers who are determined to show why they’re at the top of the ACT Late Model Tour heap. Current point leader Rich Dubeau of Plainfield, NH; two-time defending champion Scott Payea of Colchester, VT; multi-time winner Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, VT; and top rookie Stephen Donahue of Graniteville, VT will all be rolling into the pits on Saturday. They’ll be joined by Dylan Payea, Christopher Pelkey, Ryan Kuhn, Brandon Atkins, Reilly and Peyton Lanphear, and many others crossing the border.
A huge weeked Quebec racing begins on Saturday, June 1 with the Claude Leclerc 150 at Vallée-Jct.’s Autodrome Chaudiere on Saturday, June 1. Post time is 5:45pm for a card that also includes a 75-lap Série Sportsman Quebec event plus the NASCAR Sport Compact Amateur division. The pits open at 12:00pm and the front gates open at 3:00pm. Admission is $38 CAD ($30 USD) for adults and free for ages 17 and under.
ACT wraps up the weekend at Ste-Croix’s Circuit Riverside Speedway on Sunday, June 2 at 1:00pm. The Jean-Paul Cabana 125 is joined by a 50-lap feature for the NASCAR Série Procam Super Trucks and a 30-lap “combo event” for Sport Compact Amateur and Sport Compact Elite. The pits open at 8:30am with the front gates at 10:00am. Admission is $40 CAD ($35 USD) for adults and free for ages 17 and under.