Patrick Laperle made it official on Thursday: he will contend for his second Série ACT-Castrol championship this year.
The St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, Que. driver was the Cinderella story of 2007 as he came back to win the Castrol title less than six months removed from a life-threatening blood infection. He used a relief driver, cousin Jacques Laperle, in the first race of that season, then posted an incredible string of top-five finishes to beat Sylvain Lacombe by just 12 points for the crown. He then won the 2008 ACT Late Model Tour championship by a single point over Milton's Scott Payea; Alexandre Gingras was last year's Castrol champion.
"Last year on the ACT Tour there was a lot of traveling and it was very hard on the team," Laperle said in a team-issued release. "Many tracks were far from home. This year we want to enjoy being with our young families while still competing in the sport we love."
Prior to the ACT Late Model Tour opener last week, Laperle told Vermont Motorsports Magazine that he was considering chasing the Castrol championship one more time. Laperle is looking to secure an starting spot in the inaugural ACT Invitational at the 1-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. this September; the winner of each Série ACT-Castrol event and the series' championship point leader as of Sept. 19 will be invited to compete at NHMS. Laperle also said that he will compete in selected ACT Late Model Tour events in the U.S., beginning with the Merchants Bank 150 at Barre's Thunder Road on May 2/3.
The Série ACT-Castrol opens its nine-race championship season, held in Québec and Ontario, on Sat., May 16 at Autodrome St-Eustache near Montréal. Laperle won the 100-lap opener at the track last year.
(Photo courtesy Marc Patrick Roy)