The American-Canadian Tour Late Models return to the southernmost race track in New England, Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl, with Saturday’s Nutmeg State 100. In two previous appearances at the racy 3/8-mile, Brent Dragon and “Rocket” Roger Brown were the victors. Brown’s victory came in 2004, the last visit to the shoreline speedplant.
Since then, a pair of young drivers have made it clear that the next time ACT visits their house, they’ll be heard from. Timmy Jordan, of Plainfield, CT, has scored 12 wins and more than 30 top-fives at Waterford since beginning his Late Model career… two years ago. In fact, in 2006, Jordan won the Rookie of the Year title and the Track Championship.
His main rival – on and off the track, it turns out – is defending Champion Bruce Thomas, Jr. of Groton, CT. Thomas won a dozen times last year alone, and already has four wins in eight starts this season. On May 17 at Waterford, the pair tangled at the front of the pack triggering a bit of a heated match-up that left fans talking. It should be quite the battle should Thomas and Jordan get to the front of the ACT pack on Saturday during their biggest show of the year, but they’ll have to deal with, oh, a couple dozen of the toughest touring stars in the northeast first.
The Série ACT Castrol Montmagny 100 was rained out at Autodrome Montmagny Speedway last weekend. No make-up date has been announced as of press time on Tuesday, June 3, but stay tuned to www.acttour.com and www.laserieactcastrol.com for updates. Karl Allard and defending Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle are tied at the top of the point standings after the first event at Autodrome St-Eustache.
Laperle has made clear his intentions to chase the ACT Late Model Tour title in the U.S., as has 2006 Castrol title winner Donald Theetge. Inaugural 2005 champ Sylvain Lacombe will run a partial schedule this season, opening the door for drivers like Allard, Jean-François Déry, Alexandre Gingras, Steven Boissonneault, veterans Claude Leclerc and Yvon Bédard, and strong rookies Johnathan Urlin, Patrick Hamel, and Spencer MacPherson to challenge for the title.
Due to the rainout, the next event for the Série ACT Castrol will be at beautiful Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée- Jonction, QC on Saturday, June 14. Chaudière has been compared to tracks like Thunder Road and White Mountain Motorsports Park for its beautiful scenery and multi-groove racing surface, with a hint of California’s Toyota (Irwindale) Speedway and Ontario’s Kawartha Speedway for its progressively banked corners. We recommend to our American fans a trip up to Chaudière at least once this summer. And hey, if it’s not in June, try again with the Luminaire Napert 150 on August 16 or the first-ever “Showdown at Chaudière” all-star race for the Top 10 ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT Castrol drivers on Sept. 6!
Ferguson Waterworks presents the Thunder Road Thursday Night season opener on June 12 to officially kick off summer in Vermont. The ACT/Thunder Road Late Models will be back in action, but will anyone be able to reel John Donahue in? Counting the pair of ACT Late Model Tour events at “The Nation’s Site of Excitement” this year, along with the Harvest Equipment Mother’s Day race, Donahue has two victories and a ninth to his credit, signaling that he is more than ready to challenge for the “King of the Road” title. Eric Williams, Mike Bailey, Jerry Lesage, and Joe Becker and Jamie Fisher, tied in fifth, trail Donahue.
Tom Therrien is still on a tear in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division, having earned his third top-seven finish in three starts. Therrien leads Pete Ainsworth, Craig Bushey, Joel Hodgdon, and Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic winner Rick Garand in the standings.
Mike Martin finds himself on top in the Allen Lumber Street Stock class, the result of a “less-is-more”
consistency in the first three events. With a pair of ninths and a fourth, Martin hasn’t been flashy, but leads veteran David Allen, youngsters Jason Corliss and Justin Gordon, and Merchants Bank opening day winner Dave LaFleche.
Neal Foster, driving the “Tetanus Mobile” in the Power Shift Online Junkyard Warriors, has a slim lead over Mekkelsen RV winner Jamie Davis. Foster has been on the podium three times in four starts this season, including back-to-back third-place runs on both days of the Memorial Day Classic. Donny Yates, Mike Gay, and Travis Hull round out the top five.
After one point-counting event for the Late Models, Matt White leads Spencer MacPherson and Tony Andrews in the Rookie of the Year standin gs. Cody Blake has been the top-performing freshman in the Sportsman class, leading Bobby Therrien and Mike Ziter in that division’s rookie chase. Micheal MacAskill leads David Whitcomb and Bunker Hodgdon in the Street Stock rookie battle.
We’ve begun to carry the “Pick 10” standings as the official points for the ACT Late Model Tour in the Driver, Owner, and Rookie Championships. Under the Pick 10, Scott Payea leads Jean-Paul Cyr by four points. Let’s explain the whole system here: The titles will be awarded based on each individual’s ten best performances, points-wise. With a 12-race schedule, that means two events will be “dropped” by each participant to create the final tally.
Points are given in the following categories – feature finishing position (75 points to win, then 68 for 2nd, 66 for 3rd, 64 for 4th, down to a minimum of 24 points – 24th place and beyond); qualifying heats (5 points to win, then 4 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, 2 for 4th, with all others receiving one point); leading laps (5 points to lead one lap, another 5 points to lead the most laps); filing entries (10 points before entry deadline date); and “show” points (10 points for proper display of ACT/team battle flags and driver/crew uniforms). It should also be noted that all competitors in attendance receive a minimum of 24 points, whether they qualify or not.
Under this system, a driver could conceivably finish in the same position in two events, yet receive different amounts of points. Case in point: Cyr’s win at Airborne Speedway was worth 105 points, while Payea’s Merchants Bank 150 win earned him 109 points.
With the Pick 10, Payea drops his two worst showings, a 17th at Oxford and a 5th at Airborne, while Cyr drops a 28th at Lee USA Speedway and a 13th at Thunder Road. Under the old system, Payea would still be leading, but Cyr would be third behind Patrick Laperle, and 32 points behind Payea. Interesting stuff. Check it all out on the ACT website by clicking the “Standings” tab on the left side of the front page.
Did you know…?
-84 drivers have already been in competition with ACT in 2008. Fourteen of those drivers – Daniel Descoste, Tim Pendergast, Johnathan Urlin, Stéphane Descoste, Katrina Canney, Joey Lovejoy, Chris Bergeron, Larry Gelinas, Tyler Fiscus, Joey Doiron, Mark Hayward, Nick Sweet, Conrad Childs, and Wayne Helliwell, Jr. – had never previously competed at an ACT Late Model Tour event. Expect those numbers to jump up a bit at Waterford Speedbowl this weekend.
-Brent Dragon leads all drivers that have started both ACT events at Waterford Speedbowl with a finishing average of 1.5. Dragon won the 2003 race and was second in 2004. Steve Fisher is second at a 5.5 with finishes of 5th in 2003 and 6th in 2004. Dave Whitcomb, at an 8.5 (8th in ’03, 9th in ’04) ranks third, while Pete Fecteau and Joey Laquerre are tied with a 9.5 finishing average.
-The largest current point lead in any of the battles under the American-Canadian Tour umbrella is eight points. Tom Therrien leads Pete Ainsworth by that number in Thunder Road’s Sportsman class, while Mike Martin holds a similar advantage over David Allen in the Street Stocks. John Donahue leads Eric Williams by seven points in the T-Road Late Models, with Warrior Neal Foster over Jamie Davis by six points. Scott Payea is ahead of Jean-Paul Cyr by four points on the ACT Late Model Tour, with Karl Allard and Patrick Laperle tied for the Série ACT Castrol lead.