Thompson, CT – Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert pulled away late to win a barnburner in the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Thompson 75 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway on Saturday, June 15. Hebert got the top spot for good from E. Bridgewater, MA’s Ryan Kuhn on lap 67 after multiple lead changes during the closing stages and held on from there to earn the $5,000 victory in round two of the Summer Kickoff Series.
Hebert started on the outside pole after earning a “plus-5” in qualifying but let polesitter Kuhn set the pace when the green flag dropped. Kuhn began to pull away and held the point through the event’s first caution on lap-20 for Reilly Lanphear’s spin. However, after Jason Larivee Jr. looped it eight laps later to bring out the second caution, Hebert got the bite on the outside groove and gained the advantage.
However, Hebert could not run away, as both Kuhn and Thompson Speedway Late Model point leader William Wall stayed in hot pursuit. Not far behind them, a multi-way battle was shaping up for the fourth spot, with Stephen Donahue, Ryan Morgan, Woody Pitkat, Bryan Kruczek, Derek Gluchacki, and others diced back and forth in increasingly close quarters.
The third and fourth yellows on lap 49 – one for Tom Carey III’s accident on the backstretch, and the second when Wall got turned around in turn three on the restart – set up the event’s thrilling final stages. On multiple restarts, Kuhn was able to get the nose up at first, leading multiple laps by hundredths and even thousandths of a second. However, Hebert managed to get back in front each time after the tires had warmed up. Kruczek eventually made his way to third and began pressuring the two leaders, creating even more excitement as the laps wound down.
The seventh and final caution on lap 64, caused when 1979 Oxford 250 winner Tom Rosati cut a tire and smacked the turn-one wall on a restart, set up an 11-lap sprint to the finish. Once again, Kuhn got his front bumper ahead when the green drop, leading laps 65 and 66 by a hair. And once again, Hebert came right back at him, getting the lead for got with nine laps remaining.
Kuhn then bobbled to allow Newmarket, NH’s Kruczek and Bellingham, MA’s Pitkat by as well. Both seemed poised to make a potential run at Hebert should another caution fly. However, they nearly became the caution with an increasingly frenetic battle for second which allowed Hebert to get away for his fifth career ACT Late Model Tour win.
Pitkat edged Kruczek for second at the finish line. Colchester, VT’s Scott Payea caught Kuhn at the wire for fourth. Blainville, QC’s Jonathan Bouvrette and Lebanon, NH’s Rich Dubeau came in sixth and seventh as the group of six cars took the checkered flag inches apart. Gluchaki, Wall, and Morgan rounded out the top-10.
Christopher Pelkey, Wall, and Carey won the qualifying heats while Matthew Lowinski-Loh captured the consolation round. Hebert will unofficially take over the ACT point lead by 10 points over Dubeau.
The ACT Late Model Tour begins the second half of its 2019 season at Epping, NH’s Star Speedway on Saturday, June 29 with the Dream Ride 150. Post time is 4:30pm for the final round of the Summer Kickoff Series. The event also includes the track’s Street Stocks, Six Shooters, Fast Fours, and Star Troopers.
ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 2 ) Jimmy Hebert ( 58VT ) , Williamstown, VT , 75 Laps
2. ( 15 ) Woody Pitkat ( 07MA ) , Bellingham, MA , 75 Laps
3. ( 10 ) Bryan Kruczek ( 19NH ) , Newmarket, NH , 75 Laps
4. ( 16 ) Scott Payea ( 37VT ) , Colchester, VT , 75 Laps
5. ( 1 ) #Ryan Kuhn ( 72MA ) , E. Bridgewater, MA , 75 Laps
6. ( 8 ) Jonathan Bouvrette ( 41QC ) , Blainville, QC , 75 Laps
7. ( 13 ) Rich Dubeau ( 30NH ) , Plainfield, NH , 75 Laps
8. ( 14 ) Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) , Dartmouth, MA , 75 Laps
9. ( 5 ) William Wall ( 4MA ) , Millbury, MA , 75 Laps
10. ( 3 ) Ryan Morgan ( 31CT ) , North Franklin, CT , 75 Laps
11. ( 7 ) Jake Johnson ( 15MA ) , Rehoboth, MA , 75 Laps
12. ( 17 ) Dylan Payea ( 7NH ) , Milton, VT , 75 Laps
13. ( 20 ) Mathieu Kingsbury ( 9QC ) , Blainville, QC , 75 Laps
14. ( 12 ) Nicholas Johnson ( 6MA ) , Rehoboth, MA , 75 Laps
15. ( 9 ) Christopher Pelkey ( 64VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 75 Laps
16. ( 6 ) #Stephen Donahue ( 2VT ) , Graniteville, VT , 75 Laps
17. ( 21 ) Claude Leclerc ( 11QC ) , Lanoraie, QC , 75 Laps
18. ( 19 ) Michael Wray ( 42CT ) , Northford, CT , 75 Laps
19. ( 26 ) Peyton Lanphear ( 22VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 75 Laps
20. ( 24 ) Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) , Westerly, RI , 75 Laps
21. ( 23 ) Jason Larivee Jr. ( 70RI ) , West Greenwich, RI , 73 Laps
22. ( 25 ) Reilly Lanphear ( 21VT ) , Waterbury, VT , 73 Laps
23. ( 22 ) Tom Rosati ( 16ME ) , Agawam, MA , 64 Laps
24. ( 4 ) Matthew Lowinski-Loh ( 17MA ) , Milford, MA , 51 Laps
25. ( 11 ) Tom Carey III ( 55MA ) , New Salem, MA , 49 Laps
26. ( 18 ) #Trent Goodrow ( 31MA ) , Carver, MA , 21 Laps
DNS Scott Coburn ( 72VT ) , Barre, VT , 0 Laps
DNS Steve Fisher ( 24VT ) , S. Burlington, VT , 0 Laps
Lap Leaders: Ryan Kuhn, 1-28; Hebert, 29-49; Kuhn, 50-52; Hebert, 53-55; Kuhn, 56-57; Hebert, 58-64; Kuhn, 65-66; Hebert, 67-75. (7 lead changes among 2 drivers)
Time of Race: 53:14 Margin of Victory: 2.102 seconds
Cautions: 7 (laps 20, 28, 49, 49, 55, 64, 64)
Heat Winners: Christopher Pelkey, William Wall, Tom Carey III
Consi Winner: Matthew Lowinski-Loh