MONTRÉAL, Qué. -- Patrick Laperle will make his road racing debut on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series AUTOPRO 100 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal on Sun., August 30. Laperle, of nearby St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, Qué., will drive a car owned by Harvey Ambrose and normally piloted by Derek Lynch of Warkworth, Ont.
Laperle is a three-time winner of the Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl and is the defending champion of the ACT Late Model Tour. He is the current point leader on the Québec/Ontario-based Série ACT-Castrol.
"I've got a Formula 1 game for my PlayStation, but that's it," laughed Laperle, noting his limited road course experience. "I drove around the track [Thursday] in a street car for the first time, and that track is so narrow the Formula 1 guys that raced there must be crazy. I'm excited for the race, that's for sure."
Laperle will have a busy weekend beginning Friday, Aug. 28 with inspection and his first practice laps at the track in the race car. Saturday will be a day of practice and qualifying for the event, followed that night by the Coors Light Showdown of Champions ACT all-star race at Autodrome Chaudière some 160 miles northeast of Montréal. The pit area opens at 6:00am on Sunday morning at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the day of the AUTOPRO 100.
Laperle has taken delivery of the car already, and is hoping to get practice laps prior to the event at another road course.
"We're going to try to get some practice at St-Eustache or Sanair before the race," Laperle said. "The biggest thing to learn is downshifting in the turns. It will be a lot of work, but a lot of fun."
Laperle's effort in the AUTOPRO 100 will be sponsored by the Québec Dodge Dealers Association, who is also a presenting sponsor of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that weekend. The deal was put together by Stock-Car Montréal, the promotional group owned by International Speedway Corp. that is holding the event.
"We are now able to fulfill a wish that has been brought up many times by a great number of Québec stock car fans," said event promoter François Dumontier in an official press release. "Evidently, Patrick has a lot of admirers, and we quickly realized that it would be proper to give him the opportunity to showcase his racing skills in the biggest race event of the summer."
"We responded to the proposal from Stock-Car Montréal, and decided to sponsor Patrick Laperle because we believe in his ability, and because he is a fan favorite across Québec," said David Dumont, president of the Québec Dodge Dealers Association. "The Dodge Dealers of Québec and their employees are also stock car fans, and you can rest assured that they will follow with enthusiasm the performances of Patrick in the Dodge Avenger at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve."
(Photo by Marc Patrick Roy)