Burlington, VT – 2012 American Canadian Tour Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr., and 2012 Série ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle were the stars of the ACT Banquet at the Doubletree Inn in Burlington, VT on Saturday, January 12th, earning the highest awards for their respective titles. ACT awarded over $700,000 in point funds and event purses to teams in 2012.
Helliwell was honored after one of the most entertaining point-battles of ACT’s history, beating out eight-time Tour Champion Brian Hoar in an epic battle for his first-ever ACT Championship. He won four races in 2012, including his first-career ACT victory, and only finished worse than seventh once. He won $10,000 for his ACT Championship, but also picked up an additional $5,000 from the Ford point fund for winning the Ford Blue Oval Challenge for a record third time in a row.
Laperle enjoyed a comeback year on the Série ACT Castrol. After falling as low as sixth in the beginning of the season, Laperle surged for four wins and nine top-fives to claim an unprecedented third Castrol Series Championship, along with a $10,000 check. Laperle, now with 17 feature victories, sits just one win away from having the most in Series history.
The prestigious MacTavish Award was given to car owner Richard Green of Enosburg Falls, VT. Green, who in 2012 owned the 16VT of Joey Becker and the 16NY car on the ACT Tour, was given the award for the first time for his dedication and loyalty to ACT, and his contributions to the sport of auto racing.
The Pete Hartt Memorial Media Award was earned by Vermont Motorsports Magazine editor T.J. Ingerson, who was touted for his emergence as one of the region’s premiere auto racing writers, and was also praised for his tireless dedication to ACT and other motorsports through his publication.
The Doc Nielson Rookie Award was given to Williamstown, VT’s Jimmy Hebert, who also won Rookie of the Year on the American Canadian Tour. Hebert impressed with top ten finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Airborne Speedway, and Thunder Road, and also finished in the top ten in overall points on the American Canadian Tour. Etienne Cliche took Rookie of the Year honors in the Castrol Series after a career-best sixth place finish in the season finale at St-Eustache. He finished eleventh overall in the 2012 Série ACT Castrol Standings.
For the second year in a row, the ACT Crew Chief award went to Bruce Bernhardt, who served as both crew chief and car owner for the ACT US Championship #27NH car driven by Wayne Helliwell, Jr. The pair won over 20 races in the region in 2012, including their first ACT Championship. Bernhardt is the first Crew Chief to win two consecutive Crew Chief awards.
On the Série ACT Castrol Tour, the Crew Chief of the #21QC driven by Jean Francois Dery, Gabriel Drouin, won the award for the first time. The team finished second in the overall standings on the Castrol Series, and finished on the podium a stunning nine times in 2012. The team only finished outside the top ten twice.
With the off-season already halfway complete, the 2013 season approaches quickly. The American Canadian Tour season begins at Lee USA Speedway with a 150-lap event on the weekend of April 13/14. Série ACT Castrol kicks off at Autodrome Montmagny on Saturday, May 25 with a 100-lap event.