Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway joined forces with the American Canadian Tour to open up the 2001 racing season on Sunday afternoon, with over 50 of the best Late Model teams from the US and Canada on hand to contest the annual New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150.
Hall of famer Ken Squier spent some time behind the microphone, and longtime local television broadcaster Charlie Sherman was on hand for the festivities as well, doing the honors of waving the green flag to start the main event, and taking part in the post-race trophy presentations.
Qualifying for the first ACT race of the season was hotly contested, with heat race wins going to Canadian driver Jimmy Cormier, New Hampshire’s own Pat Floyd, former seven-time ACT champion Brian Hoar of Vermont, and Maine entry Travis Stearns.
A pair of consolation rounds and a last-chance qualifier set the 30-car starting field for the main event, with several notables, including 2010 Lee ACT winner Miles Chipman of nearby Epping among those in the trailer when qualifying concluded.
Scott Dragon was in control for the first half of the race, running virtually unchallenged while the field sorted out behind. Local favorite Wayne Helliwell, Jr. was among those up to challenge Dragon in the second
half of the race, but he faded late in the event and dropped from contention.
Seven-time champ Hoar came on strong in the waning laps, getting past Dragon,and eventually holding off another late charger, 2010 rookie Brad Babb to score his first-ever Lee checkered. Babb made an impressive run from scratch on the field to score runner-up, with John Donohue rounding out the podium.
Mark Parenteau was nothing short of impressive on the way to his first Hobby Stock feature win of the 2011 campaign, taking over the lead from Steve Douphinette on lap eight, and never looking back on his way to the checkers.
Parenteau started the season on a high note with a win in the first points race of the season, with Douphinette, Mike Williams, Jim Piaseczny, Bobby Glass, Patrick Tanguay, Eric Hoffman, Chris Kingsley, Stephen Dubois next across the stripe.
Defending Ironman champion Jack Victoria opened up his title defense with a season-opening win over Jeff Nadeau and Kale Billings, while James Logan outran the field to score the Allison Legacy Series win.