The American-Canadian Tour’s (ACT) 2006 race season came to a close Saturday night as the  Jean-Paul Cyr from Milton, VT was honored as its champion Saturday night at the Sheraton Burlington (VT) Hotel and Conference Center.  The title was the sixth for the veteran driver which tied him with the legendary Robbie Crouch for most championships won.  Crouch, who has recently announced his return to ACT competition, is the latest in a strong of competitors who will be vying for the 2007 ACT Tour crown.  Nearly 500 family, friends, crew members and fans turned out for the annual event which also saw several surprise awards presented.  In addition, Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, VT also presented hardware to its four divisions. 

Dean Gallison of Worcester, VT, ACT’s Director of Competition was presented with the Don MacTavish Award.  Don MacTavish was a NASCAR Grand National race car driver who lost his life in a racing accident at Daytona Int’l Speedway in 1969.  The annual honor is presented in his name, to an individual, group or company who has made significant contributions to stock car racing in the region.  Darla Hartt, ACT’s vice president, and 1987 recipient of the Don MacTavish Award made the presentation.  In her remarks Hartt recognized  previous MacTavish Award winners who were in attendance at the banquet including Ken Squier (1972), Tom Curley (’81), Bubby Wilder (’84), Bill Fitzgerald (’94), Jean-Paul Cyr (’96), Mike Wilder (’98), Cris Michaud (’99), Smith McKay (‘2003) and Phil Scott (’05).

In addition to his duties as the Tour’s Director of Competition, Gallison is the head Technical Inspector for ACT and Thunder Road.  Prior to joining the ACT staff Gallision was a Late Model driver in the early 1990s.

Tom Leavitt of the Merchants Bank was presented with the Ken Squier Award.  The award, named in honor of Thunder Road’s founder and co-owner, has been presented annually since 1988.  Leavitt was cited for his contributions to Thunder Road and Vermont stock car racing on several levels including as a race fan, a long-time sponsor of the annual ACT Tour season opener at the high banked, quarter-mile oval as well as a race car sponsor.

Chuck Beede from Williamstown, VT received the top honors in the 2006 ACT Tiger Sportsman Series.  Beede, a veteran driver and past champion in both Thunder Road’s NAPA Tiger Sportsman and Late Model divisions, was enticed out of retirement in 2005 to participate in the Series.  He finished in the top five after challenging for the title.  He was again among the top divers for the entire 2006 season and much to his dismay claimed his crown when the final event of the year was rained out and unable to be rescheduled.  He edged out fellow veteran Joey Laquerre from East Montpelier, VT by a mere nine points.

The Late Model Sportsmanship Award, which is voted on by the ACT competitors and officials went to A.J. Begin from Merrimac, MA.   Begin was one of four nominees on the ballot determined through a nominating ballot by the ACT membership.  Other drivers in the running included Jean-Paul Cyr, Brent Dragon, Ron Henry and Joey Polewarczyk Jr.  Previous winners of the award are Ron Henry (2004 and 2005), Brent Dragon (’03), Dave Wilcox (’01) and Cris Michaud (1999), among others.

The Late Model Most Improved Driver Award is also determined by the ACT competitors and officials following a nominating ballot.  The drivers on the final ballot were Roger Brown, David Chagnon, Mark Lamberton and Joey Polewarczyk Jr.  Seventeen year-old Polewarczyk from Hudson, NH received the nod from his fellow competitors.  In his second year of ACT competition Joey “Pole”, as he’s known, blistered the competition and set a new Thunder Road track record during the Booth Brothers Time Trials on Milk Bowl weekend to earn the pole starting award and a $1,000 bonus.  He then went on to finish third in the event and eighth in the final ACT standings

Mark Anzalone Jr, 17, another of the ACT Tour’s rising young stars received the ACT Tour's Rookie of the Year award.  Anzalone joined ACT’s stock car ranks cutting his racing teeth and earning rookie and championship honors in go-karts and quarter-midgets.  He is from Malden, MA.

The ACT Tour will open its 2007 race at Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway in April while Thunder Road's traditional season opener, the Merchants Bank 150 is slated for Sunday, May 6.




The 2006 ACT Tour Top 10:

1.                   Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT

2.                   Dave Pembroke, Montpelier, VT

3.                   Brent Dragon, Milton, VT

4.                   Roger Brown, Lancaster, NH

5.                   Mark Lamberton, Mooers Forks, NY

6.                   Scott Payea, Georgia, VT

7.                   Phil Scott, Middlesex, VT

8.                   Joey Polewarczyk, Hudson, NH

9.                   Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT

10.               Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT


ACT Tour Rookie of the Year:

            Mark Anzalone Jr, Malden, MA


Late Model Most Improved Driver Award

            Joey Polewarczyk Jr, Hudson, NH


Late Model Sportsmanship Award

            A.J. Begin, Merrimac, MA


Don MacTavish Award

            Dean Gallison, Worcester, VT


Ken Squier Award

            Tom Leavitt, Burlington, VT – Merchants Bank


ACT Tiger Sportsman Series:

1.                   Chuck Beede, Williamstown, VT

2.                   Joey Laquerre, East Montpelier, VT

3.                   Jason Bonnett, St Albans, VT