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."

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