Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Curley: Laperle Strategy "Abhorrent"

WATERBURY -- Vermont Motorsports Magazine spoke with American-Canadian Tour President and Série ACT-Castrol race director Tom Curley about the controversy at Autodrome St-Eustache on Sunday, which ultimately led to Donald Theetge clinching the Castrol championship by one point over Patrick Laperle.

Curley explains the situation on lap 273, when Jacques Laperle drew a yellow flag, allegedly to aid his cousin, Patrick Laperle, who had a flat tire while leading the race and was certain to overtake Theetge for the championship at the time: "The press release explains it all. Jacques Laperle intentionally stopped his car in the power lane in the middle of the backstretch. As soon as the yellow was up, he peeled out and joined the end of the field. There was no crash, and there was no clean-up, it was very quick. We crossed the cars over for the restart and when the field came down, when the last car went by and took the green flag, the pits were opened up. Laperle and Laperle came down, and Patrick changed his tire, which is when he went a lap down. It's not our responsibility to change the tire, that's the team's responsibility, and that's why he lost a lap."

Curley on Laperle's post-race one-lap penalty: "It's clearly obvious to anybody but Laperle fans what the situation was. Patrick Laperle was riding around with a flat tire, about on the rim, and he was penalized for a crew member's infraction of the ACT rulebook. Patrick Laperle's team was in pit stall number one on the frontstretch, and one of the crew members was clearly sent to the backstretch, 30 pits away, to have a conversation with Jacques Laperle's team one lap prior to the yellow. According to ACT rules, the crew is not allowed to leave its pit stall during a race."

Curley on Laperle's apparent decision to have cousin Jacques Laperle intentionally draw a yellow flag: "The irony is that there are many strategies Patrick Laperle could have used, and I've explained this to them, that would have avoided this, and had he used one of them, he would have lost maybe one lap, if that. He would have been shown the same courtesies as everyone else in that situation. Frankly, I think the actions of his team were abhorrent.

"We're not idiots in this business, and I know a lot of you think we are, but we're not. We've been around a long time and seen a lot of races, and it was clear what was going on with the Laperle cars. If the fans can't determine what's fair play and what's not, I guess that leaves it up to us as officials. I think [Laperle's] actions were detrimental to the sport, they were dishonest, and there were other options they could have used."

Curley on allegations of favoring Donald Theetge for the championship: "At the time I obviously had no idea Donald Theetge could recover from that wreck and finish the race. His car was completely demolished, even the shock tower was sheared off the car. But his crew totally rebuilt the left-front of that car in 50 laps, they did a tremendous job. And then we ended up having that horrow-show scenario with everything that happened after Theetge's crash, and it came down to one point in favor of either driver, depending on the scoring recheck.

"As things played out, if Patrick Laperle had raced with honesty and respectfulness, he would have been the champion. Would he have won the race? I don't think so, the guys up front were very strong, and even with the new tire I don't think he could have passed them. But he certainly could have finished fourth or fifth and won the championship over Theetge by a wide margin.

"Laperle had a lot of options. If option number one works and option number two works, but option number three doesn't, why do it? They chose option number three. I can't explain that."


Anonymous said...

I suppose the courtesy he would have been shown would be the same as Eric Wlliams was shown. Oh it's ok your spinning through the infield. We will say the caution was for a car on the backstretch and give you your spot back. Once again TC manipulates the outcome of another championship. Shame on Patrick for not being a full series contender.

Anonymous said...

to the comment above:
shame on patrick for having no sportsmanship whatsoever,aswell as the 72. you would have to be blind not to see how obvious that stunt they pulled was. every single crew member on pit road seen what happened and were going crazy.the 72 got parked and the 91 should have too. it was the most selfish and unsportsman like thing i have ever seen! whom ever wrote the comment above accusing the race director of fixed the championship???? the laperel boys tried to fix the damm race,give your head a shake. you sir are just as ignorant as the laperel race teams were on sunday!!!