Thursday, December 31, 2009

Got a new video editing toy for Christmas...

...so we're trying it out for the first time with a clip of one of our favorite feature finishes from the 2009 season. Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ACT Releases 2010 Tiger Sportsman Series Schedule

Four 100-lap events make up mini-tour

WATERBURY -- The American-Canadian Tour has released a four-race schedule for the 2010 Tiger Sportsman Series. The second-tier division has held its own short-schedule touring series 14 times in the last 20 years; Shawn Duquette of Morrisonville, N.Y. was the 2009 champion.

The first of the four 100-lap races will be held at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H. on June 5. White Mountain has adopted the ACT Tiger Sportsman rulebook for its new weekly "Super Sportsman" division in 2010. Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, which has operated the class in some form since the mid-1960s, hosts the series on July 1. Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H. will hold an event on August 21, and the series ends a seven-year absence at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H. on October 9. White Mountain, Thunder Road, and Riverside are all high-banked, 1/4-mile ovals, while Canaan Fair is a low-banked 1/3-mile.

Notably absent from the 2010 schedule are Airborne Speedway, Devil's Bowl Speedway, and Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Airborne, a 4/10-mile, progressively banked track in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has had the Tiger Sportsman division as a weekly fixture since 1990, and held a 100-lap ACT event in July. The newly-paved, CVRA-sanctioned Devil's Bowl, in West Haven, and Albany-Saratoga, in Malta, N.Y., have recently upgraded their Limited divisions to the Tiger Sportsman rulebook for 2010.

ACT TIGER SPORTSMAN SERIES 2010 SCHEDULE (as of Dec. 24, 2009)

#-Day-Date-Track-Location-Laps

1. Sat., June 5 -- White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 100
2. Thu., July 1 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 100
3. Sat., Aug. 21 -- Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 100
4. Sat., Oct. 9 -- Riverside Speedway, Groveton, N.H. -- 100

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Juice: Brushing the Snow Off

-by Justin St. Louis

You didn't think I was going to stay shut up the whole off-season, did you?

As you're probably aware, there's been a lot going on behind the scenes here at VMM HQ. I've been away from the website for a while, but definitely not away from racing. I've collected some loose ends that were sort of flapping in the breeze, many of which you've, again, probably heard about already. But the itch to ramble on at length in a column here has been too big to not scratch. So let's get the snow brush out and dust off the car for a couple laps.

***

First of all, a major (albeit a bit belated) congratulations goes out to Tom Placey, winner of the first-ever Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway! The DOTY thing was a lot of fun for me to watch during November and early December, and we'll do something similar to it again in 2010, for sure.

Many congrats also to Tim LaDuc on his Devil's Bowl Speedway award, Tucker Williams on his Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl award, Eric Williams for his "On The Road" award, and to Placey for also winning the Bear Ridge Speedway award.

Thanks to all 6,350 of you that voted, and to Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield for supporting the Driver of the Year program.

***

The Tigers are catching on like wildfire. In less than two months' time, news has broken about the division coming to four new tracks in 2010. New Hampshire's White Mountain Motorsports Park announced in early November that it will drop its Super Street division in favor of a new "Super Sportsman" class using the American-Canadian Tour/Thunder Road/Airborne Speedway Tiger Sportsman rulebook.

Soon after, news came that the ACT Tiger Sportsman Series would return to another New Hampshire track, Riverside Speedway, for an event in October. Last week, Champlain Valley Racing Association president Bruce Richards announced on his organization's website that in the wake of a switch from dirt to asphalt at its two tracks, Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven and Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., the former Limited division has been replaced by the Tiger Sportsmen. (Thunder Road's Junkyard Warrior rulebook has also been phased in at both CVRA tracks, in favor of the former Mini Stock class.)

This all brings me to formulation of several theories, although none of them have been confirmed by, denied by, or discussed with any track or series officials. Okay, ready?

1. ACT will almost certainly add a Tiger Sportsman Series event at either Devil's Bowl, Albany-Saratoga, or both, or will at least stage a stand-alone event for the division at one of the two tracks in 2010, a la the May 23 Late Model event at Devil's Bowl.

2. With promoter Dick Therrien now at Canaan Fair (N.H.) Speedway and the Leblanc family taking over operations at Riverside, expect ACT to have a growing presence at Riverside in the coming years. It's no secret that ACT boss Tom Curley has a soft spot for the tiny, high-banked Riverside track and its tendency to throw off a good race, and it's also no secret that Therrien and Curley don't exchange Christmas cards. With Therrien out, you'll probably see Curley there more often.

2a. I say here and now that Riverside will probably bring the Tigers into its weekly program by 2011, and that the ACT-type Late Model rulebook now in place at nine tracks in New England and Canada will be in place at Riverside no later than 2012. And, um, Riverside has decided to close its gates on the weekend of Thunder Road's -- read: Curley's -- Milk Bowl, so as not to have competing events. In this day and age, that's pretty unheard of.

2b. I have no idea how well the Leblanc regime will or won't perform at Riverside, but Canaan needs a bull-in-a-china-shop personality like Therrien to get the ship righted. He'll be good for the place.

3. If the CVRA is using the Junkyard Warrior rulebook -- and this is a total off-the-wall guess -- then the Thunder Road Warriors are not dead. As the car counts shrink, the speculation grows that the entry-level class will be cut from the program at Thunder Road, possibly as soon as next season. The CVRA move suggests maybe a sliver of hope for the division to turn itself around. It's worth noting that the Bomber division -- a class very similar to the Warriors that runs at Airborne in Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- is very successful.

***

Speaking of promoters, I was a little bummed to hear that Arnie Malcolm is gone from Capital City Speedway in Ottawa. Arnie is a funny dude, and has an obvious passion for racing. He also has one hell of a temper if you mess up his show. Here's hoping that the powers that be at CCS can get the right person to replace him.

***

Hey, did you know VMM is on Facebook? It's true. And Twitter is a lot of fun, too. I'm constantly fooling around with my Blackberry while I'm at my real job, or when I'm driving, or at any other inappropriate time when I should be paying attention to something else, so that means there are usually a few updates a week away from the VMM main page. So go ahead and check 'em out.

***

Don't ever buy a 1997 Toyota Corolla, unless you plan to buy something else to replace it soon after. Same goes for 1999 Plymouth Neons. ---Cue NBC's "The More You Know" theme---

***

Ben Rowe is out of Richard Moody Racing's PASS #4 Super Late Model and Brad Leighton is in. Rowe and Moody teamed up to win three PASS championships and 11 main events, along with successful outings at races from the Canadian Maritimes to Florida and Alabama. The Rowe-Moody split breaks up one of the most potent and most marketable short track teams in the country.

Rowe told Speed51.com that if he is unable to find a full-time PASS ride, he believes he "could do the full [ACT] schedule" in David Avery's #10 car.

Leighton is expected to run the entire 2010 PASS North schedule with Moody, while still racing the Pete Duto-prepared #55 car in up to six events on the ACT Late Model Tour; he won events at Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway and Kawartha (Ont.) Speedway in 2009 in the Duto car.

Leighton has made a handful of PASS appearances over several seasons. His last full-time season in a Super Late Model/Pro Stock-type car was in 1995, when he won the final ACT-sanctioned championship for the division.

***

Finally, one quick, but very heartfelt "Thank You!" to the racing world. The outpouring of support my family received -- and continues to receive -- following my father's passing has been just... wow, unbelievable.

Dad and I have made many good friends through motorsports, and have each supported a few of them during their own tough times. And while not everyone likes me, EVERYONE liked him. And it shows, big time. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone that has left a comment, sent a card or an email or a text message, or called the house -- and that number is quite literally in the hundreds. Our family is so grateful for your compassion.

It's times like these that make me so proud to be part of the racing community. Happy holidays to you all.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PHOTOS -- Bear Ridge Speedway Awards Banquet


Bond Auto Sportsman Modified Champion Gary Siemons was honored with his third-straight Bear Ridge Speedway title on Friday, Dec. 11 at the American Legion in White River Junction. Click here for a 23-photo gallery of the festivites. All photos and captions by Alan Ward.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Last Lap

Warning: This is an off-the-cuff bit pushing all professionalism aside, typed out on a tear-soaked keyboard at 4:00 in morning. But right now I don't know what else to do.

He wasn't perfect. At all. He had two failed marriages (the second of which produced me) before he got it right with my stepmother, Kathy, a woman with the understanding and patience of a saint. They were married a shade over 19 years, together for much longer than that. And together, despite working overnight shifts at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, they completed a dream.

(Phone rings. I answer:) "Hello?"

"Skippy, guess what." (We always called each other 'Skippy', for probably 15 or 16 years, and I have no idea why.)

"What?"

"I got a race car."

To me, a ten year-old kid that bled 30-weight oil and recited race statistics like Rain Man, it was the coolest thing in the world. Dude, my dad was a race car driver!

He started in 1993 at Thunder Road, running a Pinto with the number '1' on it. He chose that number because, well, he figured all he had to do was drag a paint brush one good swipe down the door and it was done. Truth is, he spent a fair amount of time making his cars look good, and did everything mechanical himself, too.

Not really knowing as much as he thought he did about minor things like engines, it wasn't always easy. But it got done. Dad ran mid-pack most of the first year, but squeaked out 10th place in points -- over guys like Cris Michaud and Joey Becker, no less -- and had a helluva great time. Won a couple of heat races, finished fourth in a feature once, all for about a $2,500 investment, including the trailer.

The next year wasn't quite as good points-wise -- 23rd -- but he finished second in a 'B' feature and got a trophy for it, and was eventually voted the "Favorite Driver" -- a legitimate, track-run, season-long fan voting -- for the Street Stock division.

He ran twice in 1995 before he sold the car and finished racing, then I came along five years later with my own cars. And of course, Dad passed his wealth of engine knowledge down to me, so things stayed pretty interesting.

But we had a helluva great time.

After I got done racing in 2004, Dad sort of stayed out of the racing loop for the most part. Then last year my son, Landon, turned two years old and they started coming to the races together while I was working as an official. This past summer with this VMM thing I've got here, the three of us went to Thunder Road together a couple of times and just sat in the stands and watched the races, and we went to the Northeastern Speedway reunion, too. We brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, gulped down a quart or two of french fries, and laughed and played and ooohh'ed and aaahh'ed at everything. Dad even took some pictures and videos for the website.

We had a helluva great time.

Around Milk Bowl time, Dad picked up a mini-bike chassis and decided he'd start himself a little gang. Within two weeks, he and his two brothers each had mini-bikes. And then we learned about Bucktona, and Dad got pumped up pretty quick about that, too. We located a car, devised a plan to get it there, and figured it would be the greatest spectacle we'd ever been a part of.

But the night before the race on October 9, maybe about 12 hours before we were planning to leave the house to get the track, I got home from work and Dad sat me down. He had just found out that day that he had lung cancer. I was a little lost with the news, but not at all surprised -- three packs a day for 30 years will do that to a man. Either way, we both decided to press on to Bucktona, cancer be damned.

And we had a helluva great time.

In the days following the race, we began all the appointments and tests and procedures that come along with cancer. It wasn't fun, but all of the doctors seemed optimistic, and the (very good) test results only backed them up. Piece of cake.

So we kept going on the mini-bikes. The more we built, the more problems we found. But parts were ordered, swears were mumbled, knuckles were hammer-beaten, you know, all the same stuff that happens when you build race cars. And the fleet grew to five mini-bikes, a three-wheeled tricycle-looking thing, a go-kart, and along with myself, two more draftees into the very exclusive club.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got most of the fleet operational, and let 'em rip around the block one day. Six grown men, breaking all sorts of traffic laws, giggling like schoolchildren.

It was a helluva great time.

Dad went in for surgery to remove the cancerous lung two days later, one week ago today. The surgery went well, and the recovery was going wonderfully, better and faster than anticiapated.

But somewhere along the way one night, something went wrong, and now Dad's not coming home.

My sisters and Kathy and I made our peace with everything, and now we begin the next chapters of our own lives without him. It's not going to be easy.

But I'll always have the luxury of going through my memory bank and pulling up moments from nights in the pits at Thunder Road or Airborne, or of playing cards at deer camp, or of losing to him at hockey on the PlayStation (he was really good), or of learning how to properly swear, or of telling dirty jokes, or how to be a good dad to my own son, or of playing guitar, or of anything else. Dad was one of my best friends, and he knew it.

And we had a helluva great time. I love ya, Skippy.


Ronald Lynn St. Louis
Feb. 22, 1954 -- Dec. 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tom Placey Voted Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year


Stock car racing champion Tom Placey of Bradford has won the Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway, as voted by readers of Vermont Motorsports Magazine, an online news website. Placey was previously voted the Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year last month; the 25 year-old won the Hornet division championship at his hometown track with 11 feature race wins during the summer months.

Placey received more than 2,000 votes (51%) en route to winning the VMM/Subway 2009 Driver of the Year Award during a one-week open poll. Hyde Park teen Tucker Williams, the Street Stock Rookie of the Year at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, finished second to Placey on the ballot with nearly 1,400 votes (34%); Williams was also voted the VMM/Subway Thunder Road Driver of the Year in November. Williams' father, Eric, a two-time American-Canadian Tour Late Model winner, was third in the voting, followed closely by Ascutney drivers Chris Riendeau and Joey Jarvis, who are top stars at Twin State and Canaan Fair speedways in New Hampshire.

The Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway was decided by fan vote from a 20-driver ballot. Top-ranking drivers from VMM Driver of the Year polls held in November were qualified to be placed on the final, overall ballot. Joining Placey and Tucker Williams as previous award winners were Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year Tim LaDuc of Orwell, and Eric Williams, who won the "On The Road" Driver of the Year Award for Vermont drivers competing on a touring series or at tracks out of state.

Other drivers on the VMM/Subway 2009 Driver of the Year ballot included Bear Ridge Speedway racer Gary Siemons, Chris Donnelly, and Dan Eastman, Devil's Bowl Speedway stars Kenny Tremont, Jr. and Todd Stone, Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl racers Jean-Paul Cyr, Dave Pembroke, and Donny Yates, ACT Late Model Tour stars Brian Hoar, Brent Dragon, and John Donahue, Granite State Mini Sprint series champion Lacey Hanson, Modified Racing Series star Dwight Jarvis, and White Mountain Motorsports Park (N.H.) champion Stacy Cahoon.

For more information, visit the Vermont Motorsports Magazine website at http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com. The VMM Driver of the Year Awards are presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield. For more information on Subway, visit www.subway.com.

(PHOTO: VMM/Subway 2009 Driver of the Year Tom Placey. Photo by Alan Ward)

Modified Racing Series to Hold Memorial Day Doubleheader at Airborne, Thunder Road

KEENE, N.H. -- The Modified Racing Series will have a busy Memorial Day weekend in 2010 in the Champlain Valley. Series president and competitor Jack Bateman announced on Sunday at a meeting with competitors and officials that his tour, formerly known as the True Value Modified Racing Series, will make its first stop at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. on Saturday, May 29 next season.

The Airborne date creates a two-day doubleheader Memorial Day weekend for the open-wheel series, coupling it with long-time sister track Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre on Sunday, May 30.

The Airborne race brings the MRS schedule to 19 races. One final event, scheduled for September 10 at a track to be named, is expected to be announced in two weeks, according to an MRS press release.

Bateman said that Thunder Road promoter and former Airborne manager Tom Curley was a key to finalizing the Airborne event, which has been run by promoter Mike Perrotte since 2005.

"We’ve been working on Airborne for three years now, it’s nice that we were able to put it together," said Bateman. "We could not have done it without the cooperation of Thunder Road and Tom Curley. I am pleased with the support they have given us for this special two-day event."

The Airborne Speedway event will be just the second visit for the series to New York; the first will be at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta in April in a combination event with the New York-based Race of Champions Tour. Bateman tested his car on the newly-paved Albany-Saratoga track last month.

MODIFIED RACING SERIES 2010 SCHEDULE (as of December 7, 2009)

#-Day-Date-Track-Location

1. Sat./Sun., March 27/28 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn.
2. Sat./Sun., April 17/18 -- Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. (MRS/RoC combo)
3. Sat., May 1 -- Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H.
4. Sat., May 29 -- Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
5. Sun., May 30 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre
6. Fri., June 4 -- Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H.
7. Sat., June 12 -- Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass.
8. Thu., June 17 -- Thompson Int'l Speedway, Thompson, Conn.
9. Sat., July 3 -- Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H.
10. Fri., July 9 -- Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H.
11. Sat., July 17 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me.
12. Sat., July 24 -- Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
13. Sat., Aug. 7 -- Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, Me.
14. Sat., Aug. 14 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn.
15. Sat., Aug. 21 -- Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass.
16. Thu., Aug. 26 -- Thompson Int'l Speedway, Thompson, Conn.
17. Sat., Sept. 4 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn.
18. Sun., Sept. 10 -- TBA
19. Sat./Sun., Oct. 9/10 -- Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass.
20. Sat./Sun., Oct. 23/24 -- Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Phil Scott's Lt. Governor Candidacy Speech

The following is the prepared speech given by Washington County Senator and three-time Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl track champion Phil Scott on Monday, December 1 at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center, announcing his candidacy for the seat of Vermont Lieutenant Governor in the 2010 election:

“I’m Phil Scott - native Vermonter, graduate of Spaulding High School and the University of Vermont, fisherman and snowmobiler, mechanic and laborer, truck driver and stock car driver, both a cyclist and a biker, father and business owner, State Senator, proud Republican, and as of today, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Vermont.

I am honored to stand before you today – surrounded by so many people who have supported and guided me through the years: colleagues in the construction industry, who appreciate the challenges of running and working a business in Vermont; competitors and fans from Thunder Road who share in the excitement and sense of community that fills the speedway in Barre every Thursday night from May to October; and the friends and family members, whose Yankee independence and compassion for others helped shape who I am today.

My Dad died when I was 11, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, how special he was, and what a profound impact he had on my life. He was a World War II D-Day Veteran, who lost both legs when the tank he was operating hit a landmine. He spent 2 years in Walter Reed hospital and was in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But that experience never stopped “Scotty,” as he was known to everyone. He met and married my Mom, who was a student at Johnson state college and a clerk at the Elmore General store, he worked full time for the state highway department, was an active Mason, Shriner, proud patriot and member of the VFW. And in the years before he died from those injuries, he took me and my brothers camping every chance he could. His fierce determination, his pride in community and country, and his dogged work ethic, drove him then as they drive me today.

I’m inspired by that independence and driven by a quiet but focused passion, seeking to inspire those who are willing and able to help others but don’t know how. I believe that government can and should help those in need take care of themselves and get back on their feet, and as a Senator I’ve supported our investment in critical human service programs that help Vermont’s neediest families. I initiated the Wheels for Warmth program 5 years ago with the help of many of you, and it’s a great example of how we can help others without waiting for the government to intervene, or without raising taxes to expand another government program. To date – volunteers and community members have raised almost $100,000 for emergency fuel assistance, at the same time recycling almost 10,000 tires and extending the life and use of another 6000 more. Recycling, conservation, and keeping a few more families warm during tough times – all this without a single grant or piece of legislation. As Lieutenant Governor, I will work to inspire more of these community-led efforts to improve our environment and assist our friends and neighbors.

We all know that small businesses in Vermont are facing unprecedented challenges. We don’t need to add to their burden by increasing taxes and regulations. As someone who has built a business in Vermont and had to make a payroll every week for the last 25 years, I know what small businesses need to thrive. They need access to capital, they need to be encouraged rather than discouraged when they want to innovate, and they need relief from one of the highest tax burden in the country. As Lieutenant Governor, I’ll be a champion for pro-job policies that focus on getting Vermonters back to work.

We can figure out a way to protect our agrarian way of life and preserve our strong environmental ethic with common sense solutions, rather than by adding to our ever complicated bureaucracy. I know this because I’ve helped forge tough compromises and find answers to complex issues all of my life and most recently in the Vermont Senate.

Government must live within its means, just as families and businesses across Vermont do every day. In business, if expenses are outpacing revenues, you have to cut costs – it’s that simple. I’m not saying it’s easy, but sometimes you can’t have everything you want – you have to figure out what’s most important and prioritize. As Lieutenant Governor, I will be a voice of fiscal common sense – always keeping in mind that the workers of Vermont pay the bills of state government.

We’ve gotten altogether too dependent – dependent on state services, dependent on foreign oil and dependent on federal assistance. We need to learn to take care of ourselves again by fixing what’s broken and rebuilding our economy and manufacturing capacity, with a focus on local energy generation, sustainable agriculture and forestry.

And, learning to take care of ourselves again starts in the home and in the classroom. I know first hand what a difference a quality education can make for a young Vermonter. As a graduate of Vermont schools, I was proud to also send my daughters to Vermont’s outstanding public schools. But the ever-increasing property tax burden is squeezing families and choking small businesses. As Lieutenant Governor, I will work hard to maintain the high quality education our kids deserve, while pushing for long-overdue reform to the way we pay for education. For many, education-funding is a third-rail in politics, but I won’t shy away from the tough issues – that’s just not the way I operate.

In addition to investing in human capital to create good jobs and ensure a quality education, we must invest in our infrastructure. As a contractor, and member of both the Transportation and Institutions Committees in the Senate, I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous importance of good roads, safe bridges, and buildings with solid foundations. But I also know that the infrastructure of the future will depend as much on wireless and broadband technology as it will on physical structures. If we want to have a strong and growing economy, we need to invest in both digital and tangible improvements. As Lieutenant Governor, I will be a strong voice to make sure we don’t overlook the maintenance and investment in our critical infrastructure.

I got into politics initially because I was ready to be part of the solution to the challenges we face as a state. And over the years, I’ve learned that politics and racing are a lot alike and I’d just as soon play both of them straight up and head on. This race for Lieutenant Governor is going to be a long one, but I’m the right Vermonter for the job. I’m ready to put in the hard work at the shop and in the pits. I’ve got the skills to negotiate the turns in the track, deal with obstacles as they arise, and utilize the patience I’ve been given to set the right pace. And I’m a true team player – ready to help drive both myself and Brian Dubie across the finish line.

As with any venture, one can’t do it alone. I’ll need your continued support in the coming months and I thank you for your support over the past 10 years. I’m ready and able to work hard every day to earn your vote for Lieutenant Governor! Thank you again for being here today.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BREAKING NEWS -- Phil Scott Expected to Enter Race for Lieutenant Governor

SOUTH BURLINGTON -- Sources have confirmed to Vermont Motorsports Magazine that former Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl and American-Canadian Tour champion Phil Scott is expected announce his entry into the 2010 race for Vermont Lieutenant Governor on Monday evening at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington.

Scott was elected to the Vermont State Senate as a Washington County Republican in 2000, a position he has held ever since. Scott, 51, also co-owns DuBois Construction in Middlesex.

Scott won Late Model track championships at Thunder Road in Barre in 1996, 1998, and 2002, and is the all-time leading winner in the division. He also won championships with the ACT Late Model Tour and at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. in 2002.

Mark Snelling of Starksboro has also entered the race for Lieutenant Governor as a Republican.

Thunder Road Late Models to Open New Era at Devil's Bowl

From Thunder Road press release

WEST HAVEN -- The American-Canadian Tour Late Models from Thunder Road will open the newly paved Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven on Sunday, May 23, 2010. Track promoter Jerry Richards said, “This is going to be a great way to bring the new asphalt to life at Devil’s Bowl. It has been over 30 years since the track was asphalt, but we think having Thunder Road’s Late Models on the ½-mile will certainly give our fans at 'The Bowl' a great opening event.”

Thunder Road Late Models will be joined by some of the regular ACT Late Model Tour teams for this grand opening of the original Champlain Valley Racing Association track, which was founded by legendary promoter C.J. Richards.

“When we learned that 'The Bowl' was being returned to asphalt we really wanted our teams to be a part of it," said Tom Curley, the President of ACT and managing partner of Thunder Road. "Most of the Thunder Road Late Models have raced various tracks on the ACT, and this just seemed like a great fit. We have no races scheduled at Thunder Road from May 2 until Memorial Day weekend, so I am sure there will be great support from the Late Model teams.

“I am sure there will be a number of teams from Chittenden County and central Vermont who will want to give Devil’s Bowl a try, and this change the CVRA is going through is something ACT wants to support.” The sister track of Devil’s Bowl, Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., will host an ACT Late Model Tour event on April 25th at the newly paved 4/10-mile speedplant.

Some of the expected entrants to the Devil's Bowl event include reigning Thunder Road champion Jean-Paul Cyr, a former champion at Devil’s Bowl, three-time Thunder Road champion Cris Michaud, and ACT star Brent Dragon.

“I think this is really great,” Dragon said. “My father and uncle were both a part of the five-track Northern NASCAR circuit back in the mid-‘70s, and I am really excited that we have a 'long track' back in Vermont."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Waterford Speedbowl to Close 2010 ACT Schedule

Thunder Road's Milk Bowl becomes stand-alone event

WATERFORD, Conn. -- The American-Canadian Tour has tweaked its previously released partial ACT Late Model Tour 2010 schedule, deleting the Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl from the championship slate and picking up a pair of events at Waterford Speedbowl on the Connecticut shoreline.

The racy 3/8-mile oval will host a 100-lap ACT Late Model Tour event on August 21, and will also close the series' schedule -- which now stands at 14 races -- in a Late Model/SK Modified twinbill event on October 9/10. ACT will become part of Waterford's annual SK Modified Nationals event, with each division running 150 laps; the Nationals event has traditionally been the track's season opener in April, but will close the Waterford and ACT schedules for the first time.

With the addition of the Waterford race, the Milk Bowl has once again become a non-championship, stand-alone event, but will still be run on its originally released date of October 2/3. ACT Late Model Tour champion Brian Hoar of Williston won a controversial event at Waterford in August after a late-race crash eliminated leader Brad Leighton. Other ACT winners at Waterford Speedbowl include Scott Payea (2008), Roger Brown (2004), and Brent Dragon (2003).

ACT LATE MODEL TOUR 2010 SCHEDULE (as of Nov. 30, 2009)

#-Day-Date-Track-Location-Laps

1. Sun., April 18 -- Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H. -- 150
2. Sun., April 25 -- Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 100
3. Sun., May 2 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 150
4. Sat., May 8 -- Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 100
5. Sun., May 16 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 150
6. Sat., June 19 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 150
7. Sat., June 26 -- White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 150
-- Sun., July 18 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 250 (non-points)
8. Sat., July 24 -- Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough (Portland), Me. -- 150
9. Fri., July 30 -- Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 100
10. Sat., Aug. 14 -- Riverside Speedway, Ste-Croix, Qué. -- 200 (Tour/Castrol combo)
11. Sat., Aug. 21 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn. -- 100
-- Sat., Aug. 28 -- Autodrome Chaudière, Vallée-Jonction, Qué. -- 200 (non-points)
12. Sun., Sept. 5 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 200
13. Sun., Sept. 12 -- Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 300
-- Sat., Sept. 18 -- New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. -- TBA (non-points)
-- Sat./Sun., Oct. 2/3 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 150 (non-points)
14. Sat./Sun., Oct. 9/10 -- Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, Conn. -- 150

Williams Family Takes Second Driver of the Year Award

Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year Awards presented by Subway

Late Model stock car driver Eric Williams has been named the winner of the Vermont Motorsports Magazine "On The Road" Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway, as decided by readers of Vermont Motorsports Magazine, an online news website. The veteran Hyde Park driver follows in the tracks of his son, Tucker, who won the VMM/Subway Driver of the Year Award in the Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl category one week earlier.

Eric Williams received exactly half of the more than 1,200 votes cast during a one-week open fan vote on the Vermont Motorsports Magazine website. Williams won the "On The Road" Driver of the Year honor in a category that included 30 Vermont racers competing on a touring series, or at tracks in New Hampshire and New York. Williams won 150-lap main events on the traveling American-Canadian Tour at Thunder Road in Barre in May and at Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine in October.

Ascutney teenager Chris Riendeau finished second in the VMM/Subway "On The Road" Driver of the Year poll, earning 28% of the votes. Riendeau was a feature winner at both Twin State Speedway and Canaan Fair Speedway in New Hampshire, and was a regular competitor in three weekly divisions. He also made two appearances on the ACT Late Model Tour. Another Ascutney youngster, Joey Jarvis, finished third in the poll with over 100 votes; Jarvis finished second in Modified championship standings at Twin State and was the division's Rookie of the Year.

Other top vote-getters included White Mountain Motorsports Park (N.H.) Late Model Champion Stacy Cahoon of St. Johnsbury, Granite State Mini Sprint Series Champion Lacey Hanson of Orwell, and Thunder Road Milk Bowl winner John Donahue of Graniteville.

Eric Williams is the fourth VMM/Subway Driver of the Year honoree in the month of November, joining son Tucker, Bradford's Tom Placey of Bear Ridge Speedway, and Orwell racer Tim LaDuc of Devil's Bowl Speedway. Nearly 2,500 votes have been tallied in the month-long polling at Vermont Motorsports Magazine.

Voting for the final Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway is now open through 11:59pm on Sunday, December 6. The 20-driver ballot for the 2009 Driver of the Year Award is comprised of the top-voted racers in the previous four categories. Nominees include Bear Ridge Speedway champions Gary Siemons, Dan Eastman, and Placey, Devil's Bowl Speedway Modified power trio LaDuc, Kenny Tremont, Jr., and Todd Stone, Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl stars Jean-Paul Cyr, Dave Pembroke, and Tucker Williams, and traveling racers Eric Williams, Riendeau, Joey Jarvis, Brian Hoar, and Dwight Jarvis.

To vote, visit Vermont Motorsports Magazine at http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com/. The VMM Driver of the Year Awards are presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield. For more information on Subway, visit http://www.subway.com/.



(PHOTOS: 1. VMM/Subway "On The Road" Driver of the Year Eric Williams; 2. "On The Road" runner-up Chris Riendeau. Photo 1 by Justin St. Louis/VMM; Photo 2 by Alan Ward)

Hall of Famer Gahan Passes Away at 83

'62 Thunder Road winner was National Modified Champion

CRANBERRY ISLES, Me. -- Modified racing legend Ernie Gahan passed away at his Maine home on Thursday night at the age of 83. Gahan was the 1966 NASCAR National Modified Champion.

Among the many honors bestowed upon Gahan, who began racing in 1948 at a track in his home town of Dover, N.H., were inductions into several Halls of Fame; he was part of the inaugural class of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1998, and is also a member of the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame, the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the Beech Ridge (Me.) Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

Gahan's 300-plus feature victories included a Triple Crown effort at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl on July 19, 1962; he was a frequent competitor there and at the former Catamount Stadium in Milton in the 1960s. Gahan made 11 starts in the NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup) Series from 1960-66, and was given the Buddy Shuman Award for outstanding contributions to NASCAR after helping DeWayne "Tiny" Lund rescue driver Marvin Panch from a fiery crash at Daytona Int'l Speedway in 1963.

Gahan's last competitive start with a NASCAR touring series came in 1987 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway in a Whelen Modified Tour event, finishing 20th with his famous number-50. His son, Bobby, has amassed 15 championships and nearly 400 feature wins in a 40-year career in and around sourthern New Hampshire.

"Ernie was part of the Modified legacy that has helped make NASCAR what it is today. He was a great racer and true New England legend," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications. "On behalf of NASCAR and the France family, our thoughts and prayers go out to Gahan's family and friends."

Services for Gahan will be held Wednesday at Purdy Memorial Chapel, 2 Concord Rd., Durham, N.H. The wake will be from 12-2 pm, followed by the funeral service.

(Photo credit: Howie Hodge/NASCAR)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ACT Invitational to Return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2010

Race distance and starting field to be expanded, Goodyear to develop new tire for event

From American-Canadian Tour press release


LOUDON, N.H. -- The American-Canadian Tour and New Hampshire Motor Speedway have reached an agreement for the second annual ACT Invitational to take place at the only superspeedway in the northeast on Saturday, September 18, 2010.


“The overwhelming success of the inaugural ACT Invitational this past September made it an easy decision to have the short track stars of our region return again next September,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.


Thirty-six teams from all six New England states, Quebec, and Ontario took part in the inaugural ACT Invitational during the Sylvania 300 weekend this past September.  One of the largest Saturday crowds in the 19-year history of the speedway was treated to an action packed tripleheader of racing featuring the ACT Late Models, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.


“We really thought things went great at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the first ACT Invitational last season,” said Tom Curley, President of ACT.  “I would expect things to be even more fun for our teams and fans in 2010.  We will add some laps to the event, and are discussing the possibility of allowing a tire change during the event.  We will also add some positions to the starting field.”


Teams were qualified for the first Invitational by winning ACT Late Model Tour and ACT Castrol Series events in the United States, Quebec, and Ontario. Additional teams qualified through special events such as the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains (Me.) Speedway and the Vermont Governor’s Cup at Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre.  Individual track champions from ACT-affiliated tracks were also invited to attend the inaugural Invitational.


“We plan to change some of the qualifying procedures as we continue to make this one of the most unique and exciting short track events in the country,” said Curley.


2009 ACT Champion Brian Hoar from Williston said, “It is no secret that New Hampshire Motor Speedway is my very favorite track of all time.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that we are going back.  They tell me Goodyear is making a tire for us just for New Hampshire, and that will be a good thing.  I really think I could have been in the battle to the great finish that Eddie (MacDonald), Nick Sweet, and the kid from Ontario (16 year-old Brandon Watson) had going on at the end of the race.  But I just ran out of tire. I now know what one of my goals for the RPM Motorsports team is going to be in 2010.  I can’t wait.”


The first qualifying event for the 2010 ACT Invitational will be held just down the road from New Hampshire Motor Speedway at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.  Over 50 teams are expected to try and capture the first invitation at the opening 150-lap event on Sunday, April 18, 2010.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rookie Williams Wins Thunder Road Driver of the Year

Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year Awards presented by Subway

Rookie stock car driver Tucker Williams was voted the winner of the Vermont Motorsports Magazine Thunder Road International Speedbowl Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway, as decided by readers of Vermont Motorsports Magazine, an online news website. The 18 year-old Hyde Park competitor finished third in 2009 championship standings in the four-cylinder Street Stock division at Thunder Road in Barre, winning four feature races, including his first-ever start at the track in May, and handily won the Rookie of the Year title. Junkyard Warrior champion Donny Yates of North Montpelier, a six-time winner in 2009, finished second in the balloting.

Williams and Yates dominated the VMM/Subway Thunder Road Driver of the Year Award vote, earning a combined 71% of the tally registered at Vermont Motorsports Magazine during a one-week open poll. Dave Pembroke of Middlesex, winner of both prestigious Memorial Day Classic and Labor Day Classic events in 2009, was third in the poll. Other high-ranking drivers on the 15-person ballot included Late Model Track Champion Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, Tiger Sportsman division champion Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, and Warrior driver Kevin Streeter of Waitsfield.

Williams is the third VMM/Subway Driver of the Year honoree, joining Bradford's Tom Placey (Bear Ridge Speedway) and Tim LaDuc of Orwell (Devil's Bowl Speedway). Over 1,000 votes have been tallied in the month-long polling at Vermont Motorsports Magazine.

Voting for the Vermont Motorsports Magazine "On The Road" Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway is now open through 11:59pm on Sunday, November 29. The "On The Road" award will honor the top Vermont driver racing primarily on a touring series or at a track out of state. Nominees on the 30-driver ballot include American-Canadian Tour champion Brian Hoar of Williston, Granite State Mini Sprint series champion Lacey Hanson of Orwell, multi-division star Chris Riendeau of Ascutney, White Mountain Motorsports Park (N.H.) champion Stacy Cahoon of St. Johnsbury, Airborne (N.Y.) Speedway driver Aaron Bartemy of Sheldon, and undefeated Riverside (N.H.) Speedway champion Derek Ming of Island Pond.

A final, overall "2009 Driver of the Year" poll will be held at the Vermont Motorsports Magazine website on the first week of December; nominees will include the top vote-getters from the Bear Ridge Speedway, Devil's Bowl Speedway, Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, and "On The Road" polls. To vote, visit http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com/. The VMM Driver of the Year Awards are presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield. For more information on Subway, visit http://www.subway.com/.



(PHOTO: VMM/Subway Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl Driver of the Year Tucker Williams. Photo by Leif Tillotson.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thunder Road Announces 2010 Schedule

Late Models to make appearance at Devil's Bowl

BARRE -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre released its event schedule for the 2010 season on Thursday. Eighteen race dates have been announced for the track, along with a date reserved on May 23 for the headline Late Model division to hold a race at the soon-to-be paved Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven. Details on the event are expected next week.

Among the marquee events returning to Thunder Road are the season-opening 12th annual Merchants Bank 150 on May 2 for the American-Canadian Tour, and the third annual Late Model/Modified doubleheader at the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic on May 30. The CARQUEST Vermont Governor's Cup -- which returns from a 150-lap format in 2009 to 100 laps in 2010 -- on June 24.

The ACT Tiger Sportsman Series opens its season with a 100-lap race on July 1, followed two weeks later by the Times Argus Mid-Season Championships. Other big events include the M&M Beverage Enduro 200 (August 8), the Late Model championship finale (August 26), and the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic (Sept. 5) and Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl (October 2/3) for the ACT Late Model Tour.

One noteable change is that early-June events have been moved from the traditional Thursday-night slot to Sundays. "We have decided to see if our fans and competitors feel that a couple of early-season twilight Sunday events might better fit their schedules. Recently, schools seem to be in session longer, and we are hoping that fans might enjoy the early Sunday regular point events to conclude their weekends in mid-June," said Director of Administration, Darla Hartt, in the track's official press release. Thursday events begin with the Governor's Cup 100 on June 24.

THUNDER ROAD INT'L SPEEDBOWL 2010 SCHEDULE -- BARRE, VT.

#-Day-Date-Event

1. Sun., May 2 -- Merchants Bank 150 (ACT Late Model Tour)
-- Sun., May 23 -- Devil's Bowl Speedway (Late Models)
2. Sun., May 30 -- Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic (Modified Racing Series/Late Models)
3. Sun., June 13 -- Ferguson Waterworks
4. Sun., June 20 -- Harvest Equipment
5. Thu., June 24 -- CARQUEST Vermont Governor's Cup 100
6. Thu., July 1 -- ACT Tiger Sportsman Series 100
7. Sun., July 4 -- Pepsi Fireworks
8. Thu., July 8 -- Charter Communications
9. Thu., July 15 -- Times Argus Mid-Season Championships
10. Thu., July 22 -- Casella Waste Management
11. Thu., July 29 -- WDEV Radio/Calkins Portables Port-A-Potty Grand Prix
12. Thu., Aug. 5 -- Weekly Event
13. Sun., Aug. 8 -- M&M Beverage Enduro 200 (Street Stock/Warrior Special)
14. Thu., Aug. 12 -- Vermont ACE Hardware Stores
15. Thu., Aug 19 -- Weekly Event
16. Thu., Aug. 26 -- Late Model Championship Finale
17. Sun., Sept. 5 -- Bond Auto Labor Day Classic (ACT Late Model Tour)
18. Sat./Sun., Oct. 2/3 -- Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl (ACT Late Model Tour)

Monday, November 16, 2009

LaDuc Named Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year

Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year Awards presented by Subway

Veteran stock car driver Tim LaDuc has won the Vermont Motorsports Magazine Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway, as voted by readers of Vermont Motorsports Magazine, an online news website. The popular Orwell driver finished third in 2009 championship standings in the headline 358-Modified division at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Fair Haven; LaDuc won the opening day event in May and was in the thick of the title hunt the entire year, finishing just 13 points behind Track Champion Kenny Tremont, Jr. of West Sand Lake, N.Y., a dozen points behind runner-up Todd Stone of Middlebury.

LaDuc won the VMM/Subway Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year Award by earning 39% of the votes registered at Vermont Motorsports Magazine during a one-week open poll. Tremont finished second in the balloting with 19% of the vote, while Stone was third with 15%. Two-time Budget Sportsman winner C.V. Elms, III of North Haverhill, N.H. ranked high among the 14 drivers on the ballot, as Six-Cylinder Mini Stock champion Kayla Bryant of Rutland and Pro Street Stock champion Cale Kneer of Troy, N.Y.

Voting for the Vermont Motorsports Magazine Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway is now open through 11:59pm on Sunday, November 22. Nominees on the 15-driver Thunder Road ballot include Late Model Track Champion Jean-Paul Cyr, Tiger Sportsman Champion Jimmy Hebert, and Street Stock Rookie of the Year Tucker Williams.

Driver of the Year polls will be held at the Vermont Motorsports Magazine website throughout the month of November; to vote, visit http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com/. The VMM Driver of the Year Awards are presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield. For more information on Subway, visit http://www.subway.com/.


(PHOTO: VMM/Subway Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year Tim LaDuc. Photo by Dave D'Alessandro/CVRA)

Friday, November 13, 2009

ACT Late Model Tour Releases Partial 2010 Schedule

Tour returns to Québec; Director Curley asks for earlier start times

WATERBURY -- The American-Canadian Tour released most of its 2010 Late Model Tour schedule earlier this week, with 13 confirmed dates at nine venues in New England, New York, and Québec. Two more dates are expected to be added this month, according to the series' official press release.

Tentatively, the ACT Late Model Tour will open its season for the third-straight year at Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway, on April 18. The series then travels to Malta, N.Y. on April 25 for its first-ever visit to Albany-Saratoga Speedway, which is currently undergoing a major transformation from a clay surface to asphalt.

Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl will host three events, while Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. and Oxford Plains (Me.) Speedway will each have a pair of races. Single events will also be held at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Me., Twin State Speedway in Claremont, N.H., and Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix, Qué. Two dates have been reserved for non-championship events: the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains on July 18 and the third-annual "Showdown at Chaudière", an all-star race for the ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT-Castrol, at Autodrome Chaudière in Vallée-Jonction, Qué. on August 28.

POINTS OF INTEREST

--No mention of a return date to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. was made in the ACT press release, although it is widely believed that an announcement will be made in the near future. NHMS hosted the first-ever ACT Invitational, a 50-lap, non-points event, on Saturday, Sept. 19 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Sylvania 300 weekend. The spectator crowd, estimated by some near 40,000, was reported to be one of the track's most successful Saturday draws in its 20-year history.

--The 200-lap event at Riverside Speedway (formerly Circuit Ste-Croix) on August 14 marks the first championship-counting ACT Late Model Tour event in Québec since a race at Autodrome St-Eustache in July 2007. The "Can-Am Confrontation by the Seaway" at Riverside will also be a combination event for ACT's two touring series, and is the first race since the 2007 St-Eustache event that will award championship points for both the U.S.-based ACT Late Model Tour and the Canadian-based Série ACT-Castrol. Riverside's 5/8-mile layout is the largest that either series will compete on in 2010.

--ACT president Tom Curley has asked track promoters to be conscientious of traveling race teams and fans in the upcoming season. "For 2010 ACT feature events, we have requested that the features be started no later than 8:30pm," said Curley. "We continue to try and accommodate the fans and teams of ACT racing in our efforts to make the tours friendlier to compete in and to attend." Some events were negatively effected by late start times in 2009, including a 100-lap feature at Twin State Speedway in September that began just before 11:30pm.

--Big Bigelow of the Caledonian-Record (Vt.) is reporting that there will be no "Pick 10" championship format in 2010, and that all point-counting events on the schedule will count toward the ACT Late Model Tour championship.

--Two tracks that have hosted multiple ACT Late Model Tour events, Connecticut's Waterford Speedbowl and Kawartha Speedway in Ontario, have not yet been included in the 2010 ACT schedule. Kawartha has held one ACT event each year since 2007, while Waterford rejoined the schedule in 2008 and '09 after a four-year absence; Waterford recently staved off foreclosure for the second time. Both tracks operate with a weekly Late Model division under ACT-legal rulebooks.

--The 100-lap event at Albany-Saratoga will be the 200th championship-counting race for the ACT Late Model Tour, which began in 1992.

--Two major events at Thunder Road -- the Merchants Bank 150 and the Bond Auto Labor Day Classic 200 -- remain on the ACT Late Model Tour schedule. The third event, however, will not be the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, as it was in 2009, but rather the Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl, which closes the ACT championship on October 2/3.

ACT LATE MODEL TOUR 2010 SCHEDULE (as of Nov. 9, 2009)

#-Day-Date-Track-Location-Laps

1. Sun., April 18 -- Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H. -- 150
2. Sun., April 25 -- Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 100
3. Sun., May 2 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 150
4. Sat., May 8 -- Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 100
5. Sun., May 16 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 150
6. Sat., June 19 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 150
7. Sat., June 26 -- White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, N.H. -- 150
-- Sun., July 18 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 250 (non-points)
8. Sat., July 24 -- Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough (Portland), Me. -- 150
9. Fri., July 30 -- Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 100
10. Sat., Aug. 14 -- Riverside Speedway, Ste-Croix (Québec City), Qué. -- 200 (Tour/Castrol combo)
-- Sat., Aug. 28 -- Autodrome Chaudière, Vallée-Jonction, Qué. -- 200 (non-points)
11. Sun., Sept. 5 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 200
12. Sun., Sept. 12 -- Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 300
13. Sat./Sun., Oct. 2/3 -- Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, Barre -- 150

Monday, November 9, 2009

Placey Voted Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year

Vermont Motorsports Magazine Driver of the Year Awards presented by Subway

Stock car racer Tom Placey has won the Vermont Motorsports Magazine Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway, as voted by readers of Vermont Motorsports Magazine, an online news website. The 25 year-old won the 2009 Hornet division championship at the 1/4-mile Bear Ridge Speedway dirt track in his hometown of Bradford on the strength of a whopping 11 feature event victories in 17 starts.

Placey won the VMM/Subway Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year Award by earning an impressive 51% of the votes registered at Vermont Motorsports Magazine during a one-week open poll. Limited Late Model champion Dan Eastman of Thetford Center finished second in the balloting with 17% of the vote, while Piermont, N.H. driver Chris Donnelly, a six-time winner in the headline Sportsman Modified class, was third with 8% of the vote. Other high-ranking drivers among the 15 nominees on the poll included Sportsman Modified champion Gary Siemons, Sportsman Coupe champion Josh Harrington, and Hornet Queen champion Misty Bell.

Voting for the Vermont Motorsports Magazine Devil's Bowl Speedway Driver of the Year Award presented by Subway is now open through 11:59pm on Sunday, November 15. Drivers on the Devil's Bowl nomination roster include Modified track champion Kenny Tremont, Jr., Budget Sportsman star Frank Hoard, III, and Pro Street Stock champion Cale Kneer.

Driver of the Year polls will be held at the Vermont Motorsports Magazine website throughout the month of November; to vote, visit http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com/. The VMM Driver of the Year Awards are presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield. For more information on Subway, visit http://www.subway.com/.



(PHOTO: VMM/Subway Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year Tom Placey. Photo by Justin St. Louis/VMM)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ACT Releases 2010 Castrol Series Schedule

WATERBURY -- The American-Canadian Tour announced a 12-race schedule for the Série ACT-Castrol, the Québec/Ontario-based sister series to the ACT Late Model Tour, on Tuesday. Included on the schedule is the "Can-Am Confrontation by the Seaway" at Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix, Qué., a 200-lap combination championship event for the Série ACT-Castrol and ACT Late Model Tour on August 14. The last point-counting combination event for the two series was at Autodrome St-Eustache in 2007.

The 2010 Castrol schedule opens and closes at St-Eustache near Montréal, with a 100-lapper on May 22 and the annual St-Eustache 300 on September 26. The series will travel twice each to Autodrome Montmagny and Autodrome Chaudière, has a total of three each events at Riverside at St-Eustache, and will make single stops at Captial City Speedway in Ottawa, Ont. and the quirky Autodrome St-Félicien in the Lac St-Jean region of northern Québec. Dates have also been reserved for the TD Bank 250 at Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway on July 18 and the third-annual "Showdown at Chaudière" all-star race on August 28. A return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway is also expected for 2010, which would include several Série ACT-Castrol drivers.

Donald Theetge of Boischatel, Qué. beat Patrick Laperle by one point to win the Série ACT-Castrol championship in 2009. Trampas Demers of South Burlington competed in seven events in 2009 and finished 15th in points, while Milton's Brent Dragon became the first American-born driver to win a Castrol race when he took an event at Riverside in June. The 12-race slate for 2010 is the longest schedule for the series in three years, after a nine-event campaign this year and just eight races in 2008.

SÉRIE ACT-CASTROL 2010 SCHEDULE

#-Day-Date-Track-Location-Laps


1. Sat., May 22 -- Autodrome St. Eustache, St-Eustache (Montréal), Qué. -- 100
2. Sat., May 29 -- Autodrome Montmagny, Montmagny, Qué. -- 100
3. Sat., June 5 -- Autodrome Chaudière, Vallée-Jonction, Qué. -- 150
4. Sat., June 12 -- Capital City Speedway, Ottawa, Ont. -- 100
5. Sat., June 19 -- Riverside Speedway, Ste-Croix (Québec City), Que. -- 100
6. Sat., July 3 -- Autodrome Montmagny, Montmagny, Qué. -- 250
7. Sat., July 10 -- Autodrome St-Félicien, St-Félicien, Qué. -- 135
-- Sun., July 18 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. -- 250 (non-points)
8. Mon., July 26 -- Riverside Speedway, Ste-Croix (Québec City), Que. -- 100
9. Sat., July 31 -- Autodrome St. Eustache, St-Eustache (Montréal), Qué. -- 100
10. Sat., Aug. 7 -- Autodrome Chaudière, Vallée-Jonction, Qué. -- 150
11. Sat., Aug. 14 -- Riverside Speedway, Ste-Croix (Québec City), Que. -- 200 (Castrol/Tour combo)
-- Sat., Aug. 28 -- Autodrome Chaudière, Vallée-Jonction, Qué. -- 200 (non-points)
12. Sun., Sept. 26 -- Autodrome St. Eustache, St-Eustache (Montréal), Qué. -- 300

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vermont Motorsports Magazine "Driver of the Year" Voting to Begin Monday

VMM Driver of the Year Awards presented by Subway

Voting for the first-ever Vermont Motorsports Magazine "Driver of the Year" awards opens on Monday, November 2. The awards have been created to recognize the efforts of stock car drivers in and around the Green Mountain State, and selections will be made by fan votes from a list of nominees in five categories. The Driver of the Year awards will be presented by Subway of Barre, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Northfield.

The awards will be given in the following categories: one each for the fan-voted Driver of the Year at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, and Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre; one "On The Road" award for a Vermont driver that competes on a touring series or at an out-of-state track; and one final award for the Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year presented by Subway.

Among the 15 nominees for Bear Ridge Speedway Driver of the Year are Sportsman Modified champion Gary Siemons of Orford, N.H., Sportsman Coupe champion Josh Harrington of Topsham, and Limited Late Model champion Dan Eastman of Thetford Center. Devil's Bowl Speedway's 14 nominees include Modified champion Kenny Tremont, Jr. of West Sand Lake, N.Y., five-time Budget Sportsman winner Frank Hoard, III of Manchester, and Pro Street Stock champion Cale Kneer of Troy, N.Y. Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl's 14 nominees include Late Model champion Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, Tiger Sportsman champion Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, and Street Stock Rookie of the Year Tucker Williams of Hyde Park.

"On The Road" nominees include American-Canadian Tour champion Brian Hoar of Williston, St. Johnsbury's Stacy Cahoon, the Late Model champion at New Hampshire's White Mountain Motorsports Park, and multi-track stars Chris Riendeau of Ascutney, Josh Sunn of White River Junction, and Chris Wilk of Mendon. The nominees for the final 2009 Driver of the Year award will be the top vote-getters from each of the four individual categories, vying for the title as Vermont's top stock car racer.

"There are hundreds of talented drivers racing in and around our state that give race fans so much satisfaction every summer. Now the fans have a chance to give back to the drivers," said VMM Editor Justin St. Louis. "Every one of the racers nominated deserves recognition, but it should be very interesting to see who the fans select as the final nominees for the overall Driver of the Year award."

Voting for the Driver of the Year awards begins on Monday, November 2. Voting will be open for one week in each category, with the final Vermont Motorsports Magazine 2009 Driver of the Year presented by Subway award vote open from Monday, November 30 to Sunday, December 6. Winners will be announced following the final tallying of fan votes.

Founded in February, Vermont Motorsports Magazine is the unofficial home for online news in asphalt and dirt stock car racing in and around the Green Mountain State, covering events at all three Vermont tracks as well as facilities throughout New England and upstate New York. VMM can be found at http://vtmotormag.blogspot.com/, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vtmotormag. For more information on Subway, visit http://www.subway.com/.

Monday, October 26, 2009

ACT Not Likely to Visit Devil's Bowl in 2010

WEST HAVEN -- The American-Canadian Tour announced in August that it would hold its first event on the born-again Albany-Saratoga Speedway asphalt in 2010, and ACT President Tom Curley has been overheard saying his series will visit "one or two" new tracks next year.

But don't expect Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven to be one of them.

Devil's Bowl, the sister track to Albany-Saratoga under the CVRA umbrella, has begun the transtition from dirt to a new asphalt surface, but, according to Curley, won't host the ACT Late Model Tour. At least not this year.

"The [Devil's Bowl] announcement was a big surprise to me," Curley said on Monday. "We have not talked about an ACT race there [with promoter Jerry Richards] and our schedule for 2010 is very full on both sides of the border already. In fact [we] plan to announce it within a couple of weeks, along with the rules."

Curley was at Albany-Saratoga on Sunday to watch an asphalt race and take notes in preparation for his series' first visit at the track. While the Devil's Bowl bombshell was unexpected, he did leave the door open for the future.

"It certainly is interesting news and obviously ACT would consider being part of their future plans," Curley said.

Devil's Bowl Transition Under Way for 2010

WEST HAVEN -- Race fans might recognize the name and the logo at Devil's Bowl Speedway next year, but they surely won't be at the same race track. Vermont's biggest and fastest raceway is already undergoing major renovations in preparation for the 2010 season, shedding its clay surface in favor of a new coat of asphalt.

Promoter Jerry L. Richards confirmed Monday morning that the 4/10-mile speedplant has already begun the transition to blacktop, and that along with its sister track, Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., the Champlain Valley Racing Association -- a sanctioning body founded by family patriarch C.J. Richards in the 1960s, now run by his three children -- will take a big step into the future.

After the completion of its regular season as a clay track in September, Albany-Saratoga Speedway was converted to an asphalt track, using blacktop that had been lying under clay since 1977. Two race events have been run on the asphalt this month, including Sunday, which ran in conjunction with Airborne Speedway rules. (Airborne is a 4/10-mile asphalt oval in Plattsburgh, N.Y. that races with the same dirt-style Modifieds used weekly at the CVRA tracks.) It was announced on Sunday during the drivers meeting that Devil's Bowl Speedway would be also be paved, also harkening back to its asphalt days in the 1970s.

According to Bruce Richards, promoter of Albany-Saratoga Speedway, the races were successful. "I'm very pleased with how everything went on Sunday. It was very positive," he said.

Jerry Richards said that the reasons for the changeover are many, not the least of which was the passage of time. "We're looking into the future, far down the road, for the betterment of our company," he said. "My sister Sharon, my brother Bruce, and I are all getting older. We're in our late 40s, and we need to start planning years down the road. God forbid one of us gets sick, we need to have plans in place to be able to keep the race tracks open. That's the reality of life. Changing to asphalt will make things less strenuous and easier to manage for the whole staff.

"But I also feel that there's so much more that Devil's Bowl can offer to the community besides being a race track, and the change to asphalt will help with that. We would like to do special events with things like motocross, ATV, and snowmobile racing in the winter, but we'd also like to get involved with the local schools and towns, host things like 4H Clubs, muscle car shows, things we couldn't do [with the clay surface]. A clay track takes a countless amount of hours to prepare during the week, and everything depends on the weather. If Albany-Saratoga still had the clay on it, we wouldn't have been racing [on Sunday]."

Richards confirmed that, in spite of the switch from clay to asphalt, the rulebooks in place for all divisions at the two CVRA facilities will remain intact, likely with only minor changes after meetings with competitors during the off-season. All current officials will be kept on CVRA staff, as well. The competitors themselves, Richards said, seemed to take the news of the changeover well. "From what I could see, the drivers felt a lot of relief. Everyone has been wondering what will happen next year, and there is a rumor going that Albany-Saratoga may be sold. It may be sold in the future, it may not be sold ever. But I can say that we will definitely be operating both tracks full-time in 2010 as asphalt venues.

"This is the best avenue for both tracks to head down for the future. It's long been known that Lebanon Valley and Fonda (two dirt tracks in upstate New York) aren't interested in cooperating with CVRA rules, but already with the asphalt we have Mike Perrotte from Airborne working with us, and Tom Curley has already made a deal to have [an ACT Late Model Tour race] at Albany-Saratoga in 2010. [Curley] was at Albany-Saratoga on Sunday and he was excited when we told him about the news at Devil's Bowl. We're hoping to keep working in conjunction with them and other promoters in the northeast. I really think that Devil's Bowl will flourish as an asphalt track and offer more opportunities for family entertainment for the whole community."

BREAKING NEWS -- Devil's Bowl Speedway to Asphalt in 2010

WEST HAVEN -- Champlain Valley Racing Association offficials confirmed on Monday that Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven will be making the transition from dirt to asphalt racing in 2010.

"The first load of shale went on the track this morning," said Jerry L. Richards, who has taken over promotional operations at Devil's Bowl. "The gravel will go on next, then we'll put the asphalt on in the spring. The base is already being laid down."

Vermont Motorsports Magazine will have more on the transition soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Devil's Bowl to Asphalt?

Multiple unofficial reports from Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Sunday are saying that Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven will be paved as soon as this week.

As we first reported in July, Albany-Saratoga was rumored to be switching from dirt racing to asphalt for 2010, due to pressure from a new microchip company in the town of Malta, N.Y., where the track is located.

Bruce Richards, president of the Champlain Valley Racing Association (CVRA) and promoter of the Albany-Saratoga and Devil's Bowl tracks, has removed the clay racing surface at Albany-Saratoga for a pair of race events this month and announced special asphalt events for early in the 2010 season -- including appearances by the ACT Late Model Tour, the True Value Modified Racing Series, and the ISMA Super Modifieds -- but that the clay would be returned to the track in mid-May.

Richards reportedly announced during an event at the track on Sunday, however, that Albany-Saratoga would continue to operate strictly as a dirt track next year, and that its sister speedway, the 4/10-mile Devil's Bowl Speedway, would follow suit with paving expected to begin at Devil's Bowl within the week.

Both tracks have operated with dirt and asphalt surfaces, but have been dirt tracks since the late 1970s, with the exception of one-time-only asphalt events in the early 1990s. Should Devil's Bowl Speedway return to full-time asphalt racing in 2010, it would be the second paved track in Vermont, joining the 1/4-mile Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre; Bear Ridge Speedway, a 1/4-mile clay track in Bradford, is Vermont's only other operational race track.

Stay tuned to Vermont Motorsports Magazine for information and updates as they become available -- and official.