Thursday, February 12, 2009

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 -

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