Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tiger Sportsmen to Have Three-Race Series in 2009

A three-race, three-track series was announced on Tuesday night for Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl's NAPA Tiger Sportsman division. American-Canadian Tour President and Thunder Road Promoter Tom Curley made the announcement at rules meeting in Berlin to an overflow crowd of Tiger Sportsman drivers and crew members, confirming events at the soon-to-be-redesigned Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. and the Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H., as well as Thunder Road. Official dates for the events were not immediately available.

ACT has held touring Tiger Sportsman series in various forms sporadically since 1990. The last touring-type series for the division was held in 2006, with events at Airborne, Thunder Road, and the 1.3-km Sanair Super Speedway tri-oval in St-Pie, Que. Chuck Beede of Graniteville was named the series' champion after the final three events - which were to be held at Airborne, White Mountain Motorsports Park (N.H.) and Circuit Ste-Croix (Que.) were cancelled.

Past Tiger Sportsman Series Champions:
1990 - Dwayne Lanphear, Morrisville
1991 - Brent Dragon, Milton
1994 - Eric Williams, Hyde Park
1996 - Jimmy Young, Middlesex
1997 - Ricky Dennis, Colchester
1998 - Jimmy Young, Middlesex
1999 - Cooper MacRitchie, Williamstown
2000 - Cooper MacRitchie, Williamstown
2001 - John Donahue, Graniteville
2002 - Craig Bushey, Cambridge
2003 - Craig Bushey, Cambridge
2005 - Robin Wood, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
2006 - Chuck Beede, Graniteville
(No series in 1992-93, 1995, 2004, 2007-08)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Survivor: Thunder Road - Street Stocks and Warriors Merging in '09

Thunder Road promoter Tom Curley announced at a rules meeting in Berlin on Tuesday evening that the track's two four-cylinder divisions would merge for the 2009 season. The higher-tier Allen Lumber Street Stocks will now combine with the entry-level Power Shift Online Junkyard Warriors on race nights, running on the track at the same time. Little else will change, however - the rulebooks for each division have stayed the same from 2008 with only minor exceptions, and seperate point standings will be kept for drivers in each class. To help those in the grandstands distinguish the cars from each other, all Street Stocks are required to have their roofs painted "Thunder Road green" while all Warrior cars will have "Thunder Road yellow" tops.

Curley said the reason for the change was threefold: first, to help grow car counts in both divisions; secondly, to begin the integration of foreign-made cars into the Street Stock division and create opportunities for its drivers in the future; and thirdly, to re-energize the four-cylinder classes and give fans and potential racers a new flavor of excitement for Thunder Road's upcoming 50th anniversary.

While car counts are relatively healthy for both divisions - the Street Stocks averaged about 33 cars weekly, with the Warriors drawing around 20 cars at each event - Curley believes that one field of 50 or more cars is better than two fields divided. While divisions of 33 and 20 cars might be something many race track promoters would envy, Curley reminded the crowd that as recently as five years ago, each division drew 40 or more cars weekly. He jokingly likened the merge to the TV show Survivor: "When the tribes start to get whittled down, they merge, so here we are."

Curley thinks a new format will encourage more would-be racers to get involved. The Streets and Warriors will run in the same qualifying heats and feature events, and those that fail to qualify for the feature will run in a points-paying "B" feature that will offer the same number of laps as the main event. The hope is that less-experienced drivers will get the same experience as the more successful veterans, speeding up the learning curve.

With every driver in both four-cylinder divisions virtually guaranteed a starting berth in each week's main event during the last two seasons, the pressure to perform over recent seasons - and more importantly, fan interest - had begun to wane. Curley hopes the new format will change that. "You look at racing 25 years ago, or at today's Tiger division at Thunder Road, and it's tense from the moment you walk in the gate," he said. "That's the way racing is supposed to be - the way the big (American-Canadian) Tour races are, when half of the field goes home without qualifying. You see everyone working harder in the pits, and the fans are in the stands with their pencils checking off numbers, watching their favorite driver to see if he makes it in. We're hoping to bring that back to the Streets and Warriors."

Curley also pointed to the fact that since its introduction in 1993, the Street Stock division has only permitted American-made cars to compete. Nearly every other track in the northeast allows foreign manufacturers like Honda and Volkswagen to race against the Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Cavaliers that populate four-cylinder classes, and Curley hopes that a "Nationals" type of event - like the one held at Maine's Beech Ridge Motor Speedway - would be a viable option for a Thunder Road competitor to attempt in the coming years. The Warrior division currently allows foreign and domestic automobiles to compete, and the merging of the divisions will begin the transition of foriegn cars, and eventually more technology, into the Street Stocks.

Reaction from the standing-room-only crowd was mostly positive.
"I trust Tom," said Street Stock driver David Greenslit of Waitsfield. "He's the best promoter around for a reason. I actually want to race with some of the (Warrior) guys, I think it will be fun."
"The 'B' feature is good for someone like me," said Street Stock rookie Mike Ducey of Williamstown, who ran the last two seasons as a Warrior driver. "I put in my two years, and I was looking forward to stepping up and racing only the more experienced drivers, but as long as I get some seat time and keep learning I'll be happy. I totally understand the concept of putting the divisions together. Realistically, what do we have to worry about? We're still going to get in and race our cars just like we always have, there's just more of us out there."
(Photos courtesy Thunder Road)

Dunbar racing for a reason

Travis Dunbar is like any other race driver on the track, striving to win, learning every week, and moving up to the next level as he progresses.

The man behind that racer, however, is in it for a much bigger cause; now entering his third full year of competition, the Hartland native is using his race car as a tool for promoting autism awareness and raising money to fight a disease that affects 1 in 150 children.

"I remember telling my wife, 'I've got to do something,'" Dunbar said. Read the full story at Green-White-Checker.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Devil's Bowl Speedway Schedule Released

The Champlain Valley Racing Association (CVRA) has released the 2009 schedules for Devil's Bowl Speedway in Fair Haven, Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., and the CVRA Budget Sportsman and CVRA Enduro series.

Eighteen race dates are scheduled for Devil's Bowl Speedway's 43rd season, which opens on Sunday, May 17 with a full card of 358 Modifieds, Budget Sportsmen, Pro Street Stocks, Limiteds, Mini Stocks, and Duke Stocks. The C.J. Twin 50s for Modifieds and Budget Sportsmen will be held on Sunday, May 24, followed a week later by the double-points Spring Championships.

A big Independence Day weekend is scheduled for Sat./Sun., July 4/5, with CRSA Sprint Cars, Empire Lightning Mini Sprints, DIRTcar Sportsmen, an Enduro, and a holiday fireworks display highlighting a 7-division card on Saturday. The weekend rounds out with the double-points Mid-Season Championship event on Sunday.

The 358 Modified division's 100 on Sunday, Aug. 30 leads up to the season finale Championship Weekend, with the third and final double-points event on the line for all six regular Devil's Bowl divisions on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ACT/Thunder Road Driver Rosters Released

The American-Canadian Tour has released its 2009 driver rosters for the ACT Late Model Tour, Série ACT-Castrol, and Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl's Late Model, NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stock, and Power Shift Online Junkyard Warrior divisions.

Among the new additions to the Thunder Road Late Models are Chris Chambers of Brookfield (#20VT), David Paya of Milton (#72VT), and Craig Bushey of Cambridge (#05). Paya was a top Flying Tiger star in the mid-1990s at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., but has been out of action for over a decade. Chambers raced three seasons in the Tiger Sportsman class at Thunder Road, picking up featrue victories in each of the last two years, as well as earning the Most Improved Driver award for the 2007 season. Bushey (photo right, courtesy ACT) is a four-time champion in the Tiger ranks, earning back-to-back Grand Slam Series titles in 2002-03, as well as the Airborne Speedway title in 2002 and the Thunder Road championship last season. He previously raced Late Models on a limited basis from 2004-06, and made a spectacular debut behind the wheel of Bolton car owner Leigh Sykes' Vermont Life Safety "Freedom Eagle" car at the Chittenden Milk Bowl last September, setting the second-fastest time trial speed and winning his 50-lap qualifying race.

In Thunder Road's Tiger Sportsman division, John Lambert (#2) returns to the division full-time after purchasing the former Rick Garand car. Lambert was a three-time winner in the division in the mid-1990s. George May (#16), who has competed at Thunder Road off and on for two decades, is back on the roster, as are former top Thunder Road drivers Shawn Fleury (#31), Chuck Beede (#53), and Jeff French (#06). Fleury was the 2005 and 2006 Sportsman champion, while Beede won the 2006 Sportsman Series title. New drivers include Waterbury's Neal Foster (#19), up from the Warrior division, Street Stock graduates Erik Steel (#32) of Barre and Shawn Powell (#40) of Jericho, and Kevin Godfrey (#21) of Wentworth, N.H.

The Street Stocks welcome back Joe Blais (#14), who was a top runner earlier in the decade, along with Warrior champion Travis Hull (#66). Other former Warrior racers include two-time division runner-up Jamie Davis (#43), Justin Gay (#16), Mike Ducey (#86), and Scott Weston (#04), White Mountain Motorsports Park racer and champion Late Model crew chief Tucker Williams (#99), Bear Ridge Speedway racer Amanda Habel (#09), and Chuck Hess (#21). In a peculiar move, all-time divisional win leader Tommy "Thunder" Smith has swapped numbers, from his familiar #22 to #50, presumably in honor of Thunder Road's upcoming 50th season of racing. Smith's wife, Melissa, will drive the #22 this year. .

The Warrior roster is expectedly thin - as it always is in February - but lists new drivers Ed White, Jr. (#5), Troy (#7) and Cheryl Kingsbury (#13), Bob Mays (#71), Thomas Elwood (#88), and Casey Sweet (#93).

The ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT-Castrol see many new additions, including White Mountain Motorsports Park standouts Quinny Welch (#78NH). and Ben Lynch (#7NH), top Beech Ridge Motor Speedway driver and former PASS Sportsman Series champion Dan McKeage of Gorham, Me (#40ME, photo left courtesy PASS), and Speedway 95 Strictly Street division graduate Rowland Robinson, Jr. of Steuben, Me (#28).
Among the registered car owners listed is David Maynard, Jr., who is expected to field a car for driver Jeff Zuidema. Zuidema, of North Brookfield, Mass., is a multi-time champion at Monadnock (N.H.) Speedway, Thompson Int'l (Conn.) Speedway, and has won races in Pro Stock, Late Model, and Pro-4 Modified competition. He is also expected to make selected starts on the True Value Modified Racing Series in 2009. Also listed among car owners are John Casey, who has assumed full ownership of car #48 from previous owner David Storey for driver Robbie Crouch, and Brock Rouse, who will now operate the former RLD Motorsports #70 team in alliance with Pete Duto and drivers Phil Scott and Brad Leighton.

North of the border, new drivers expected to compete on the Série ACT-Castrol include Etienne Lemay (#12PQ), Éric Lehoux (#20PQ), and Valérie Chiasson (#26PQ). Lehoux previously competed with the Série ACT-Castrol in 2007 and was the Rookie of the Year on the forerunning Série Nationale Castrol in 2006. Chiasson (photo right, courtesy is a former road, ice, and kart racer who has spent the last year studying and training with legendary short track driver Jean-Paul Cabana.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

World Series: Jarvis Squeaks Out Top Ten Point Finish

Ascutney racer Peter Jarvis concluded the 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing with an eighth-place finish in the Tour-type Modified division at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Saturday night, and moved back into the Top 10 in championship standings on the final night. Jarvis entered the 25-lap finale in a tight battle for points positions 8-11 with John Jensen, Louie Mechalides, and Kevin Goodale, and was able to move up a position to finish 10th overall in the nine-night series.

Jarvis, the 2007 True Value Modified Racing Series Rookie of the Year, did all he could by finishing eighth in the race with Jensen and Goodale right behind in ninth and 10th, but was unable to overtake either driver in the standings. Mechalides was unable to make the start of the finale, dropping him to 12th overall behind Jarvis and J.R. Bertuccio. The final tally saw Goodale finish eighth in points, just four markers ahead of Jensen (644-640) and only six ahead of Jarvis (638).

Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn. won the race and the World Series championship in the Tour-type Modfieds.

Final Point Standings
43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
New Smyrna Speedway - New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Tour-type Modified

1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT - 819
2. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 727
3. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY - 709
4. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ - 701
5. Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, MA - 697
6. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA - 678
7. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA - 670
8. Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 644
9. John Jensen, Wolcott, CT - 640

Saturday, February 14, 2009

World Series: Chase Finishes 8th in Crate Late Points

Eric Chase parlayed a smooth seven-night campaign into a top-ten championship points finish at the 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing on Friday night. The American-Canadian Tour veteran from Milton finished 13th in the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division's 50-lap finale, which was good enough to secure eighth place overall for the traditional week-long series at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway.

Chase's 2009 World Series began on a rocky note with a 16th place finish on Friday, Feb. 6 after a minor on-track incident. A fuel problem relegated the driver of the Gary Clay Builders/Mansfield Heliflight/Chicken Charlie's #40 Chevrolet to 23rd the following night. An eighth-place finish on Monday, however, triggered a strong finish to the series; Chase finished fifth on each night from Tuesday to Thursday before his 13th-palce effort in the finale.

Chase and Ryan Nolin combined their efforts in 2008 to finish seventh overall at the World Series.

Defending ACT Late Model Tour champion Patrick Laperle completed only one lap of the 50-lap race on Friday night before parking his car and being scored 26th. Laperle's JPN Racing/Shear Metal Products #91 Chevrolet was severely damaged in a crash on Thursday night. Laperle won three-straight features during the week and settled for second place in the championship behind Ohio's David Wagner.

Thirteen year-old Stephen Nasse of Pinellas Park, Fla. captured the 50-lap finale over Wagner, Austin Kirkpatrick, Brandon Johnson, and Tommy Martins. The top ten was completed in order by Landon Cassill, Josh John, David Rigan, Nick Glaze, and Kawartha (Ont.) Speedway driver Shaun McWhirter.

The 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing concludes on Saturday night with events for the Super Late Models, Tour-type Modifieds, SK Modifieds, Late Models, and FASCAR Pro Trucks.

Final Point Standings
43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
New Smyrna Speedway - New Smyrna Beach, Florida
ASA/Crate-type Late Model division, after Fri., Feb. 13, 2009

1. David Wagner, Akron, OH - 282
2. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC - 226
3. Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, FL - 222
4. Landon Cassill, Cedar Rapids, IA - 198
5. Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids, IA - 186
6. Kyle Maynard, Weirsdale, FL - 162
7. David Rigan, Clarence, NY - 158
9. Austin Kirkpatrick, Ocala, FL - 142
10. Jimmy Weller, Hubbard, OH - 126

World Series: Jarvis 10th in Richie Evans 100

Peter Jarvis of Ascutney held on for a top-ten finish in the 24th Annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Friday night. Jarvis, a True Value Modified Racing Series regular, drove the Wally and Dennis Albro-owned #9NH to his third top-ten in seven starts in the Tour-type Modified division at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, but slipped to 11th in points after chief rivals John Jensen and Kevin Goodale had better finishes. Jensen, of Wolcott, Conn. finished seventh after leading some laps after the halfway point, while Riverhead, N.Y.'s Goodale clawed to a fifth-place finish.

Championship positions 8-11 are seperated by just ten points, with Goodale leading the group at 568. Tyngsboro, Mass. driver Louie Mechalides sits ninth at 566 after failing to finish the Richie Evans 100, with Jensen (562) and Jarvis (558) close behind. The World Series draws to a close on Saturday night with a 25-lap finale for the Tour Modifieds.

Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn. copped the Richie Evans Memorial 100 victory for his fourth career triumph in the race. He also won in 1994, 1997, and 2000. Ronnie Silk, Bobby Grigas, III, Matt Hirschman finished second through fourth. Goodale was next in fifth place at the finish, followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Jensen, Eric Goodale, Andy Seuss, and Jarvis.

Point Standings
43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
New Smyrna Speedway - New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Tour-type Modified, after Night 8 of 9, Fri., Feb. 13, 2009

1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT - 719
2. Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, MA - 633
3. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 632
4. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY - 627
5. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ - 617
6. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA - 590
7. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA - 584
8. Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 568
9. Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, MA - 566
10. John Jensen, Wolcott, CT - 562

Friday, February 13, 2009

World Series: Nasse Wins Crate Late Finale, Wagner Secures Title

Thirteen year-old Stephen Nasse of Pinellas Park, Fla. has won the 50-lap finale for the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway's 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Nasse took command of the race with 10 laps remaining as the car of early leader Sean Bass lost power on the race's final restart. David Wagner of Akron, Oh. was able to finish in second place and clinch the division's 2009 championship, unofficially, by 56 points over Patrick Laperle, 282-226.

Laperle, of St-Denis, Que., won features on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before a hard crash took him out of Thursday's race. The 2008 American-Canadian Tour champion was able to complete one pace lap with his badly bent car on Friday night in order to collect last-place points and lock up second place in the World Series championship. Unofficially, Nasse finished third in points, just four markers behind Laperle.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

World Series: Chase Scores Another 5th, Jarvis Rebounds to 13th

Milton's Eric Chase continued his streak of top-five finishes on Thursday night at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway's World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, finishing in fifth place for the third night in a row. With the finish, Chase continues to hold onto eighth place in the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division point standings, and tightens the gap considerably to just four points - or, one on-track position - behind seventh-place driver David Rigan, 146-142.

Former point leader Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Que., the defending American-Canadian Tour champion, was involved in a lap 10 crash that heavily damaged his JPN Racing/Shear Metal Products #91 Chevrolet, as it slammed the Turn 1 wall rear-end-first before hitting the driver's side. Laperle was uninjured, but his crew is already in the process of pulling an "all-nighter" to make repairs to the car in time for Friday's 50-lap finale. Laperle, who officially finished 22nd, now trails David Wagner, who won Thursday's feature, by 24 points for the championship, 246-222.

Points in the Crate Late Models are awarded as follows: 40 points to the winner, 36 for second place, 32 for third, etc., to a minimum of four points (10th place and lower). To clinch the championship, Laperle will need to win on Friday and have Wagner finish 8th or worse, or finish second and have Wagner to finish no better than 9th. One saving grace for Laperle may be that the Crate Late Models will qualify via time trials for Friday's 50-lap race. For most of the World Series, the division has had heads-up starts based on the previous night's finish, meaning Laperle would have had to start in 22nd place Friday under the regular format.

Peter Jarvis of Ascutney rebounded after crashing in afternoon practice to post a 13th-place effort in the Tour-type Modified event on Thursday. Jarvis is now tied for ninth with Kevin Goodale at 482 points, while John Jensen sits 11th just two markers back. The 24th Annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 is up next for the Tour Modifieds on Friday night, with a 25-lap feature scheduled to close out the World Series on Saturday.

World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Night 7 Results:
ASA/Crate-type Late Models
1. David Wagner
2. Stephen Nasse
3. Kyle Maynard
4. Joey Gase
6. Austin Kirkpatrick
7. Josh John
8. Nick Glaze
9. Landon Cassill
10. Shaun McWhirter
22. Patrick Laperle

Tour-type Modifieds
1. Ted Christopher
2. Bobby Grigas, III
3. Ronnie Silk
4. Matt Hirschman
5. Chuck Hossfeld
6. Jimmy Blewett
7. Eric Goodale
8. Robbie Fuller
9. Jon McKennedy
10. Kevin Goodale

Point Standings Following Night 7:
ASA/Crate-type Late Models
1. David Wagner, Akron, OH - 246
2. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC - 222
3. Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, FL - 182
-- Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids, IA - 182
5. Landon Cassill, Cedar Rapids, IA - 178
6. Kyle Maynard, Weirsdale, FL - 158
7. David Rigan, Clarence, NY - 146
9. Jimmy Weller, Hubbard, OH - 122
10. Nick Glaze, Austin, AR - 110
-- Austin Kirkpatrick, Ocala, FL - 110

Tour-type Modifieds
1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT - 619
2. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ - 555
3. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 552
4. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY - 543
-- Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, MA - 543
6. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA - 530
7. Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, MA - 498
8. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA - 496
-- Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 482

World Series: Point Leader Laperle Wrecked at New Smyrna, Title Hopes in Question

ASA/Crate-type Late Model point leader Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Que. crashed hard on lap 10 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Thursday night with 13 year-old Stephen Nasse of Pinellas Park, Fla. Laperle made heavy contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 1 while running in third place.

"The car is bad," Laperle said. "The front and rear clips are bent, two shocks, the rear end, lower and upper control arms, and spindles. We're trying to figure out how to even get the car in the trailer."

Laperle was trying for his fourth consecutive victory in the division at the 43rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

Number-two point man David Wagner of Akron, Oh. made the most of Laperle's situation, winning the sixth of seven features for the Crate Late Models. Friday night's 50-lap event will determine the division's 2009 World Series champion.

World Series: Laperle Pulls Off the Hat Trick

Chase 5th again, Jarvis hangs on to Top 10 points position

"We did it again," is all you need to hear Patrick Laperle (left) say to know how Night 6 went at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway's 43rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The St-Denis, Que. driver pulled off a hat trick in the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division on Wednesday night, his third consecutive victory and fourth top-three finish in the division's five feature events since the World Series began last Friday. He now leads Ohio driver David Wagner for the World Series championship by 12 points and has a 48-point edge over 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill.

"It's just been a perfect week," said the defending American-Canadian Tour champion. "Seventh, third, then three wins in a row. Unbelievable!"

Milton driver Eric Chase also repeated his performance from Tuesday night, finishing fifth for the second night in a row. With his third straight top-ten result after two rough outings to open the World Series, Chase holds on to eighth place in the Crate Late Model point standings with two features remaining.

With New Smyrna Speedway's policy of heads-up starts pending a draw for inversion of the Top 10 by the previous night's winner, Laperle drew a "0" - meaning no inversion - giving him the pole position. Although Laperle started from the top spot, Wagner challenged him - as he often has during the week - and led from lap 1 until Laperle passed him back with 10 laps remaining. Laperle suggested that his team's success was due in large part to a major difference in chassis setups between his car and everyone else's.

"My car is so fast, and it's so good in the corners, but they're all running on their bump stops on, like, lap 2 or 3. That's totally wrong," Laperle said. "Their cars (suspensions) settle early and push right up the track (in the corners), and I can wait and just drive right under them. Our car is set up perfect, but they're making it a little easier, too."

Technical inspection officials are reportedly combing Laperle's car over after each victory, trying to find components that run afoul of the rulebook. "They haven't found anything and they won't," said brother Daniel Laperle, "so they added 25 pounds to our car after each win. If we keep winning, by the end of the week we'll be 200 pounds heavier than everyone else!" On Wednesday night inspectors looked closely at the carburetor, intake, distributor, and looked all over the car for a traction control device.

"The only traction control I need is in my right foot," Patrick Laperle said.


Ascutney's Peter Jarvis has been plugging away in the Tour-type Modified division, and despite an 18th place finish in the John Blewett III Memorial 50 on Wednesday night, hangs on to ninth place in points after five features.

"It's going good, although we're a little underpowered," said Jarvis on Wednesday afternoon. "We're here having fun trying to take what we can get. We've kept our nose clean and stayed out of trouble. With the amount of cars they've junked down here in wrecks and stuff like that, we've been lucky."

For someone racing an underpowered car and just having fun, Jarvis and car owner Dennis Albro are certainly doing well. Jarvis brought the #9NH car home in seventh place on opening night last Fridayand again on Monday, and has also earned finishes of 12th and 15th in fields of 20-25 cars.

"The choice was to stay at home in the cold and snow in Vermont, or come to Florida and race, so what the hell?" said the 2007 True Value Modified Racing Series Rookie of the Year. "And if we make it out of here in one piece, we'll go home and race when it's warm up there in a couple months."


Patrick Laperle dedicated his Crate Late Model victory on Wednesday night to the memory of John Blewett III, who was killed in a crash at Thompson (Conn.) Int'l Speedway in 2007. Blewett, of Howell, N.J., was one of open-wheel Modified racing's top stars at the time of his death, and was a perennial contender at New Smyrna's World Series. Laperle befriended Blewett and his brother, Jimmy, also a Modified racer, at New Smyrna Speedway in 2004.

"Jimmy and I have been joking around all week," Laperle said. "I told him he needed to touch my car for good luck, and he told me I was (expletive) crazy." The joke was obviously on Laperle, as Jimmy Blewett won the opening round of the Tour Modified division on Friday, and is undefeated in five SK Modified division events. He finished fourth in the 50-lap event named in honor of his late brother on Wednesday night.

"John was a great guy and an awesome driver," said Laperle. "We still miss him a lot."


World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing Point Standings after Night 6, Wednesday, Feb. 11:

ASA/Crate-type Late Model division
1. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC - 218
2. David Wagner, Akron, OH - 206
3. Landon Cassill, Cedar Rapids, IA - 170
4. Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids, IA - 154
5. David Rigan, Clarence, NY - 146
-- Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, FL - 146
7. Kyle Maynard, Weirsdale, FL - 126
-- Jimmy Weller, Hubbard, OH - 118
10. Nick Glaze, Austin, AR - 98

Tour-type Modified division
1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT - 519
2. Jimmy Blewett, Nowell, NJ - 471
3. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY - 470
4. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY - 457
5. Jon McKennedy, Chelsmford, MA - 452
6. Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, MA - 448
7. Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, MA - 426
8. John Jensen, Wolcott, CT - 416
10. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA - 408
(Photo by Marc Matrick Roy -

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hoar and Paya Ready to Tackle Tour

A pair of five-time American-Canadian Tour champions have teamed up for the 2009 season, each with the intention of winning title number six. Driver Brian Hoar of Williston returns to the ACT Late Model Tour full-time this season behind the wheel of Rick Paya's new Chevrolet. Paya was the winning crew chief in five consecutive championship seasons with driver Jean-Paul Cyr from 2003-07, and his RPM Motorsports team owned the cars Cyr drove in 2007 and 2008.

An announcement broke in October of Hoar's arrival to the RPM stable, and that he was seeking his first ACT championship since 2000 while campaigning Paya's new #37 car. Nearly four months later, enthusiasm about the new pairing has only increased.

"I can't wait to get started (racing)," said Hoar (photo, right). "We're working on the car in Rick's shop every week and it's been a lot of fun. The chemistry with everyone on the team is really good. Rick has guys that have been with him for a long time working on the car, and there are a few guys that have come with me from my family's Goss Dodge team, and everyone is so excited. It's pretty cool."

Paya is just as happy. "Brian is pumped up, and so am I. All the guys are," he said. "Everyone is getting along great, and I pride myself on having my team getting the most out of their efforts. The car is very close to being ready, Brian is working out to get in shape for the season, and we're all working hard on the car. We've set next Tuesday as the day we fire the engine up for the first time, and it's a big deal, it's got us all pumped."

One dynamic of the RPM Motorsports team has changed, though. Cyr, wanting to have more time off to pursue other interests, was originally slated to race for Paya between 4 and 6 times in his familiar #32 car. Since the October announcement, however, Cyr has effectively left the RPM Motorsports team altogether.

"Jean has other things he wants to accomplish in racing, with his family, and with his business," explained Paya. "I don't think our partnership ended badly, it was just... weird. We're still friends, and I think that we left the situation with the understanding that if I need a driver once or twice during the year, I can give him a call."

Paya said that discussions have begun with two undisclosed drivers to race - at least on a part-time basis - in the #32 car. "I've spoken with a couple of drivers that I feel are very accomplished, and it's basically a matter of whether or not they can find the sponsorship money to compete," he said.

Hoar, the ACT champion in 1993 and each year from 1997 to 2000, said that the biggest challenge for him in coming to the RPM team is understanding his position with team.

"When I was with our family team, I made most of the decisions on the car and with the way the team operated," he said. "Now I'm in a completely different role, and I'm starting to adapt to it. I do work on the car, but my main job is going to be to just drive. Rick and Andrew Hill and all the rest of the guys are really going after it. It's a total change for me, and I'll get to focus solely on driving. I still haven't totally wrapped my head around it, but I'm getting there. I think that's part of the reason why I'm so excited - for the first time in 18 years of racing, I get to just drive."

World Series: Crate Late Model Points After Night 5

After Night 5 of the 43rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, here are the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division point standings, with four feature events completed and three remaining:

1. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Que. - 178
2. Dave Wagner, Akron, Oh. - 170
3. Landon Cassill, Cedar Rapids, Ia. - 166
4. David Rigan, Clarence, N.Y. - 146
5. Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids, Ia. - 134
6. Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, Fla. - 118
7. Jimmy Weller, Hubbard, Oh. - 114
-- A.J. Fulgenzi, Green Cove Springs, Fla. - 94
-- Kyle Maynard, Weirsdale, Fla. - 94

Laperle Goes Back-To-Back at New Smyrna

Chase a World Series-best 5th, Jarvis double-dips in open wheel divisions

Patrick Laperle has won his second consecutive ASA/Crate-type Late Model feature at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway's 43rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.

Laperle, the 2008 American-Canadian Tour Champion from St-Denis, Que. near Montréal, won an ugly race on Monday night that was shortened from 25 to 11 laps due to time constraints and multi-car pileups, but walked the definitive walk by defeating Dave Wagner of Akron, Oh. in Tuesday's full-distance, 25-lap event.

Joey Gase of Cedar Rapids, Ia. and Weirsdale, Fla.'s Kyle Maynard finished behind Wagner, while Milton's Eric Chase posted his best finish of the 2009 World Series in fifth place.

Jimmy Weller and Crate Late Model division point leader Landon Cassill - Friday and Saturday's feature winners, respectively - were knocked out of contention with 10 laps remaining after Weller spun Cassill into the wall. Weller was penalized and sent to the rear of the field while Cassill's car was too heavily damaged to continue. Laperle, running third at the time of the wreck, inherited the lead and pulled away from Wagner for the victory.

Other winners on the night included Drew Brannon (Late Model), Ryan Preece (Florida/IMCA-type Modified), Ted Christopher (Tour-type Modified), Jimmy Blewett (SK Modified), and Jeff Choquette (Super Late Model).

Ascutney's Peter Jarvis, a regular on the True Value Modified Racing Series, pulled double-duty by finishing 12th in the Tour-type Modified event and 19th in the Florida Modified division. Tuesday was Jarvis' second night of double-duty in this year's World Series, as he finished 6th (Tour Mod) and 28th (Florida Mod) on Friday. He also has posted finishes of 15th (Saturday) and 7th (Monday) in the Tour Modified division.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photos: World Series Night 4

Photos by Marc Patrick Roy - visit his entire Picasa album here:
1. Patrick Laperle (#91) at speed at New Smyrna Speedway
2. Eric Chase (#40) enters the pits after a practice run
3. ASA/Crate Late Model point leader and Hendrick Motorsports development driver Landon Cassill (#7)
4. Patrick Laperle (front, right), Normand Girard of JPN Racing (front, left), and the #91 team celebrate their victory on Monday night

Monday, February 9, 2009

Laperle "Finally" Wins Shortened Race at New Smyrna, Eyes World Series Title

American-Canadian Tour Champion Patrick Laperle earned his first victory in the 43rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing on Monday night at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway. Laperle's victory in the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division, however, came in a rather unconventional way.

The feature race was scheduled to run 25 laps, but was cut short after just 11 circuits due to a seemingly out-of-control field of race cars. Laperle, of St-Denis, Que., started in third place and took the lead from Landon Cassill on lap 11 before the seventh, eighth, and ninth caution flags came out. During the eighth caution period, more than an hour into the race, officials informed the drivers that due to the time - and machinery - wasted during the opening laps, that the next yellow flag would end the race, regardless of the number of laps completed. As the field came to the green flag for the restart, a backmarker spun, bringing out the yellow and checkered flags.

"It was awful, everybody was wrecking," said Laperle. "It was crazy, even though we were restarting single-file, they were wrecking. It's too bad, because our car was really good, but we still won and it feels good."

Milton's Eric Chase rebounded nicely from a rough first two outings in the World Series on Friday and Saturday nights, finishing in eighth place.

Laperle apologized to the fans at New Smyrna Speedway during his victory lane interview for the wreck-filled race.

"You don't want to win like that," echoed Daniel Laperle, Patrick's brother and long-time crew member, "but the car was a rocket. We earned it." Cassill, who won on Saturday night, finished second. Dave Wagner, David Rigan, and Joseph Gase completed the unofficial top five.

"I'm glad that race is over," said Patrick Laperle. "We finally got (a win), and I think after a few beers, we're all going to bed." Laperle, favored as one of the championship favorites prior to the start of the 2009 World Series, has established himself as one of the proven forces to reckon with, along with Cassill, whose worst finish is second in three nights.

The ASA/Crate Late Model division will be back in action on Tuesday night.

Laperle Wins Wreckfest at New Smyrna, Chase 8th

Reigning American-Canadian Tour Champion Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Que. has won the ASA/Crate Late Model feature at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Monday night. The race, scheduled for 25 laps, was shortened to just 11 laps. Multiple-car crashes marred the race, which took more than an hour and a half to complete its 11 circuits. Eric Chase of Milton finished eighth, unofficially.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

World Series After 2: Laperle Looking Good, Chase Struggles Early

Reigning American-Canadian Tour Champion Patrick Laperle (#91, left) is looking strong at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway's World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing with the Crate Late Model division's first two events now complete. Laperle, from St-Denis, Que., started and finished finished third on Saturday night to follow up his seventh-place finish in the Friday opener.

Eric Chase of Milton has struggled a bit to open the 43rd annual World Series, having finished 16th on Friday after being involved in a multi-car crash early in the race. Chase ran as high as 13th with two laps remaining on Saturday night before retiring with a fuel problem. He was scored 23rd, unofficially. Jimmy Weller of Hubbard, Oh. was victorious on Friday.

Laperle raced hard with Hendrick Motorsports development driver Landon Cassill of Cedar Rapids, Ia. and Clarence, N.Y. driver David Rigan throughout the 25-lap race, but was unable to complete a pass for second place in the closing laps. Cassill, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, held on for the win.

If Laperle or a rebounding Chase prove to be championship challengers over the final five events, it's likely that their toughest competition will come from Cassill, Rigan, and Dave Wagner of Akron, Oh. The latter three drivers each have a pair of top-five finishes in two starts. The Crate Late Model division has Sunday night off at the World Series, and will finish out its seven-race schedule on each night from Monday through Friday.
(Photo courtesy

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chase and Laperle Carry ACT Banner at New Smyrna's World Series

Milton's Eric Chase (left) and defending American-Canadian Tour Champion Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Que. will carry the northern colors at New Smyrna Speedway's 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in New Smyrna, Fla. Chase will attempt to defend his opening night 2008 victory on Friday in the ASA/Crate-type Late Model division. The ACT veteran captured the opening round during the traditional nine-night winter championship series at the fast half-mile last February, and, with teammate Ryan Nolin splitting time in the car, finished seventh in point standings despite skipping the final race.

"Just like last year, we're just going down to have some fun and race our car," said Chase.

In 2008, Chase posted the first main-event victory of his career at the 25-lap World Series opener on Friday, Feb. 8, surviving three red-flag periods for violent crashes, including one that took fellow ACT competitor Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. out of the race. Chase earned a seventh-place finish the following night, while Nolin posted finishes of eighth, 21st, and 16th in his three starts. Chase withdrew from the final race after a lackluster qualifying effort.

Nolin will reportedly not be sharing driving duties with Chase in the Gary Clay Builders/Mansfield Heliflight #40 car in this year's World Series.

Laperle is also competing in the ASA/Crate division, and like Chase, is considered one of the early favorites for the championship. According to Laperle, it sounds like he'll be hard to beat. Laperle reported Thursday night that his car performed so well it seemed "too easy" in practice sessions during the day. "If it stays like this all week, we could have a lot of fun," he said confidently.

Multi-time ACT Canadian Champion Claude Leclerc of Lanoraie, Que. helped Chase's team on Thursday, substituing in the driver's seat for Chase, who was on a business trip to Paris, France. Chase is scheduled to arrive in New Smyrna on Friday morning.

The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing opens on Friday evening, with NASCAR Tour-type Modifieds, SK Modifieds, Super Late Models, Late Models, and Florida/IMCA-type Modifieds joining the ASA/Crate-type Late Models on the card. The ASA/Crate division runs cars with chassis similar to ACT Late Models, but larger engines and 10-inch tires are permitted.

The ASA/Crate division has the most official entries filed of any of the seven divisions competing at New Smyrna, with 32 drivers pre-registered. Polewarczyk, however, confirmed that despite filing an entry, he will not be competing in 2009. Among the pre-entered drivers are Hendrick Motorsports driver Landon Cassill of Cedar Rapids, Ia., Kawartha (Ont.) Speedway regular Shaun McWhirter, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Jerick Johnson of Mooresville, N.C. Logan Ruffin, who at age 13 was last year's ASA/Crate division champion, has not filed an entry for this year's World Series.

The ASA/Crate division is scheduled to compete on seven nights, including Friday and Saturday this week, and each weeknight next week. The division's finale will be a 50-lap race on Friday, Feb. 13. Stay tuned to Vermont Motorsports Magazine, Green-White-Checker, and The Backstretch for New Smyrna Speedway coverage.

Green-White-Checker Doing its Part in 2009

Green-White-Checker will make every appearance count in 2009.

In 12 years, Racing Against Cancer has raised more than $600,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, the motorsports Web site is going to hold its own "Race Against Cancer" at tracks across New England and beyond in an effort to combat this horrific disease for which there still is no cure.

Green-White-Checker founder and editor Travis Barrett will donate $5 for every race day he attends in 2009. Last year, Barrett devoted a total of 75 calendar days to covering motorsports at all levels, and he is hopeful to eclipse that number in the coming season, beginning next week at Daytona International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

"It’s not much, but I know that every little bit helps," said Barrett, who founded Green-White-Checker in early 2008 and reaches an average of more than 3,000 readers daily. "We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer on some level, and I really feel like this fundraiser will give all those trips to the races this summer a little extra meaning."

Four short tracks in northern New England have already agreed to participate in the fundraising efforts. Promoters at Oxford Plains (Me.) Speedway, Thunder Road International (Vt.) Speedbowl, Unity (Me.) Raceway and Wiscasset (Me.) Raceway have all agreed to either match Barrett’s $5 per race pledge or make a flat donation at season’s end. More are welcome.

Race fans are also encouraged to seek Barrett out at events throughout 2009 to make their own donations to the event.

"We’re really excited to be joining forces with Green-White-Checker," said Scott Gregory, the director of operations at Racing Against Cancer. "We’re happy that Travis approached us about the project, and we appreciate all the support out there."

Racing Against Cancer was founded by Jon Blanchette in 1996, two years after he lost his wife, Jodi, to the disease. He got the ball rolling at his wife’s insistence before her passing.

"It was her dream to make something good come from all she went through," Blanchette said in the fall of 2007.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Welcome to Vermont Motorsports Magazine! Let's begin by introducing ourselves; my name is Justin St. Louis, and I'll be the guy writing the stuff here. And you must be my favorite kind of person: a race fan.

As with all things just beginning, this blog will be a work-in-progress over the next few months or years, but I'll work hard at it, trying to bring you up-to-date, accurate news from all over the Green Mountain auto racing scene. And we won't let the name "Vermont" limit us to just the borders of this state - there are Woodchucks racing all over the place, and we'll do our best to keep up with them. Heck, we'll probably go places where there aren't ANY Vermonters on occasion.

I’ll admit that I’ve spent A LOT more time at asphalt tracks than dirt tracks, but I promise to give fair and adequate coverage to all of Vermont’s grassroots-level racers and tracks.

Basically, here’s the point of Vermont Motorsports Magazine: The goal is to report on the stories that are important to Vermonters that care about local stock car racing and their friends, family, and heroes that turn the wrenches, write the checks, or hammer it down into Turn 1 just a little harder than the next guy.

At the deepest of my roots, I am a race fan. Red-blooded, true blue, any cliché you’d like. But on top of that, there are some layers – I’m a competitor, a former official, and, through no real fault of my own, a member of the local motorsports media. I spent a few years in freelance journalism rarely getting paid. I liked it, but I started to get ideas about writing to make a living. So I spent a fair amount of time in the PR world, basically writing about what I was told to write, and representing a company. I liked that, too.

But in both of those disciplines, I was instructed to temper my comments and not share opinions anywhere near as much as I would have liked, and I didn’t care for that part of it that much. Sometimes, I couldn't tell the whole story because it would make my employer(s) look bad. It happened at every outfit I worked for, and I totally understood, but my inner rebel wanted more instant gratification.

I didn’t want to be a PR lackey any more, having to write things I didn’t necessarily want to write about. In my first paying gig, I sort of had a reputation as the "controversial" writer, the one that told the stories exactly as the drivers told them to me. It wasn’t always popular with management, and it certainly wasn’t always popular with the drivers.

But man, I loved it. I will always remember early Saturday morning at the 2005 Milk Bowl:

Me: "Rocket! What’s up?"
Roger Brown: "You might want to stay away from Patrick today."
Me: "Uhhh… Laperle?"
Brown: (laughing) "You got him perfect at Lee, I could hear him saying the words as I read them."
Me: "Uh-oh…"
Brown: "Yeah, he’s pissed, and he’s looking for you."

Suffice it to say that Patrick Laperle, who was not only a great source for one-liners, but had started to become a friend, was a little hot after I printed everything he said – and I mean EVERYTHING – after a good race gone bad at Lee USA Speedway the week before.

Laperle found me about 10 minutes after I got the heads-up from Rocket Roger, and he let me have it pretty good. "I thought we were talking as friends," he said. And in the moment we were, but I also clearly had the microphone in his face, and he knew exactly what he was saying and that, friends or not, I was a reporter and I was doing my job.

My point here is that I’m not willing to sacrifice my journalistic integrity for a paycheck. If people want to spout off at the mouth, they’re more than welcome to, but if that mic is on, don’t leave it up to me to censor what you say. Some guys – and Laperle is usually one of them – say controversial things on purpose. Some guys stay clear away from it with a generic, "We had a great run going, but it wasn’t meant to be, blah, blah, blah." That’s their choice, but it’s my job to write what they tell me.

The best example of that came at this year’s Milk Bowl with Travis Barrett of Green-White-Checker. Joey Polewarczyk got black-flagged for rough riding, and gave Travis a generic-type "we’ll accept it and move on" kind of interview. As a kid his age with his potential, looking for the next big ride, that’s exactly the type of stuff he should be saying, because it’s PC and it’s what the big-wigs want. On the other hand, Cris Michaud and Brad Leighton kicked the hell out of each other when Travis asked them what was going on, because, honestly, what risk is it for them to take? Both guys are in their 40s, are very accomplished racers, and are in it simply to win races.

Here’s the drill: Joey Pole’s got a lot riding on his shoulders and needs to do everything right, especially when he’s under scrutiny. Michaud and Leighton, they’ve got nothing left to prove except that they’re not taking anyone’s crap. Kudos to a guy like Travis Barrett for printing everything those three men said, as they said it. That takes integrity from a writer that’s willing to push personal relationships aside for the best, most honest, most fair product for the race fans that deserve to read about it.

And that’s my mission here at the brand-new Vermont Motorsports Magazine. It’s Green Mountain racing for Green Mountain people, with a Green Mountain attitude. You’ll see positive and negative, accolades and controversy, and both sides of every story.

Thanks for checking out VMM. It’ll be a fun ride.