Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bob Valenti Auto Mall to Sponsor Modified Racing Series

(From Modified Racing Series press release)

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. -- Jack Bateman, founder and president of the Modified Racing Series, has announced an agreement has been reached with as the title sponsor for the 2010 racing season. Bateman made the disclosure at the all-new Racers Expo in Marlborough, Mass., on Saturday.

“BobValentiAutoMall.Com has signed on for the new season. We look forward to working with the Valenti family. They are strong supporters of racing and have been for many years. We are pleased to have them as part our series,” Bateman said.

Bateman was joined by Bob Valenti Auto Mall representatives including company Vice President Rob Valenti who eagerly looks forward to the new sponsorship.

“We have been involved in local racing for nearly 20 years sponsoring drivers and local tracks. The Modified Racing Series gives Bob Valenti Auto Mall the opportunity to continue our sponsorship at the local level while expanding our reach to consumers throughout New England," saud Rob Valenti. “The Modified Racing Series and are the perfect fit as they both offer exciting vehicles at a great value to the customer. We are very excited about the 2010 season and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

The family owned and operated business, based in Mystic, Conn., and Westerly, R.I., specializes in new and pre-owned vehicle sales and service. The Valenti family has been in the automotive business for over 80 years.

The popular Modified Racing Series, featuring open-wheel modified race cars, will compete in 19 races at speedways throughout the northeast including first time appearances at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. In 2009, 15 races were run with 12 different drivers victorious. Seven of those drivers were first time winners.

Mark Hann, President and CEO of Victory Motorsports Marketing Services, LLC, the newly named marketing specialist for the Modified Racing Series, worked with Bateman, Rob Valenti, and Dennis Perry, Business Development Manager of Bob Valenti Auto Mall to bring the sponsorship program to the series. Hann noted, “to have Bob Valenti Auto Mall become involved with the series as a marketing venue speaks volumes to what this sport and the series has to offer.”

Hann also disclosed something new this season for race fans to look forward too at each race. The Modified Racing Series sponsored by souvenir trailer and hauler will be on display so fans can purchase series related items and obtain information about Bob Valenti Auto Mall.

The 2010 season kicks off March 27-28 with the running of the “Budweiser Blastoff” 100-lap race at Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, Conn.

Polewarczyk to Test K&N Pro Series Car

(From Joey Pole Racing press release)

HUDSON, N.H. -- Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., will test a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East car with Fadden Racing next week.

Polewarczyk, who owns five career ACT Late Model Tour victories, will test for team owner Mike Olsen during a southern states swing to open the month of March. Polewarczyk will test at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., on Monday, March 1. On March 2, Polewarczyk heads to Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., and then to South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va., on Wednesday, March 3.

"It's a real great opportunity," said Polewarczyk, who has three career starts in the K&N Pro Series, formerly known as the NASCAR Camping World East Series. "Even though I've had three races with these cars before, I haven't ever really had one full day just to go and test the cars and get really comfortable. That, to me, is just going to build my confidence."

Polewarczyk, 20, competed for Fadden Racing last September in his only K&N Pro Series race of the 2009 season. He started fourth before finishing 28th in the 35-car field after being involved in a late-race incident not of his own making.

Polewarczyk made his K&N Pro Series debut at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in July 2008 with a 16th-place finish for owner Barney McRae. Later that season, he posted a career-best finish of sixth at New Hampshire in a Dave Davis-owned car.

"It's getting closer to racing season here, so just to get some seat time next week and get away from the snow up here will be nice," Polewarczyk said. "It will be good to get back at it."

Polewarczyk finished fourth in the ACT Late Model Tour standings in 2009.

Bob Savoie Plans Airborne Return

(From Airborne Speedway press release)

Plattsburgh, N.Y. – Veteran Bob Savoie of Broadalbin, N.Y., a multi-time track champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Airborne Speedway, Utica-Rome and Devil’s Bowl, is preparing a DIRTcar Modified for competition at various Airborne events and on the new asphalt at Albany-Saratoga. In 1985, Savoie won Airborne’s season opener – on dirt - and then went on to become the Modified track champion.

“I’m still active and I still have the desire to win,” Savoie said. “I think it’s a good idea for the Champlain Valley Racing Association (CVRA) tracks to switch over to asphalt. We’re doing a family deal with our own car. My son Jason and my son-in-law Steve are going to help me out. I’m 55. I’m tired of washing mud off my race car.”

“I know that the new surface made the racing really good at Airborne last year,” Savoie added. “I’ve raced a lot of laps alongside Mike Perrotte over the years. I’ve respected him for a long time. He’s a good 21st century promoter. He knows costs have to be kept under control, but he also understands things from the racer’s side.”

Savoie began his Modified career in 1978 at Albany-Saratoga and a year later won the Utica-Rome track title. He estimates his career win total to be “around 198 or 199.”

“In 1985, I had a good year at Airborne racing against Mike, Don Scarborough, Leon Gonyo, Wes Moody and Frank Keene,” Savoie said. “I remember Airborne as the place where they made their own french fries and had sacks of potatoes around. They used to throw potatoes at the car when we started winning too much. Perhaps we’ll make their opener, I’m not sure.”

Airborne’s 57th season opens Saturday, May 1 with the Econo Lodge 50 Syracuse qualifier for DIRTcar Modifieds. All weekly divisions will be in action.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Juice: Where Were YOU?

-by Justin St. Louis

JFK. The first moon landing. The Miracle On Ice. The Challenger space shuttle. September 11.

And now, electronic scoring.

Where were you when these life-changing events took place? I'll never forget where I was yesterday, messing around at my "real" job, reading Twitter on my phone, when messages came across from ACT and Thunder Road that the organizations would be switching to electronic scoring systems for 2010. I'm telling you I almost dropped my Blackberry right there.

I had to read it again. And again. Then I read the actual press release itself. Could this really be happening?

Since the dawn of its existence, Thunder Road has been very steadfast and proud of its traditional tape-scoring procedures. Hand-written scoresheets scribbled hastily each and every lap by as many as five or six people for as many as 200 laps. The practice was perfected at the Barre track in 1963 by Dr. Gordon Nielsen, and techniques and systems were developed there and spread to the masses at race tracks across the country, from tiny Vermont bullrings to the wide-open spaces of Daytona. But tape scoring is becoming a forgotten art, and yesterday it lost another battle in its war of surivial.

In an age where everything is done by computers (and here I am), Thunder Road and ACT -- or, more specifically, front man Tom Curley -- have been deadset against implementing electronic scoring, citing its many faults. In person, I have heard Curley go on maybe a dozen times in as many years about the disadvantages of electronic scoring. I agree with many of his arguments, including the dreaded "glitch" that seems to happen only in the most important of moments.

Many fans may not know this, but the first Modified Racing Series event at Thunder Road in 2008 was a nightmare for the electronic scoring system used that day. I have also witnessed first-hand several scoring-related delays at places like Oxford Plains and Lee USA speedways, transponders either not registering or simply "missing" a random lap at many other tracks, and myriad other problems.

As I understand it, each race car's transponder is in the same pre-determined location, so many inches or feet from the front edge of the front bumper, with a scoring loop buried in the racing surface the same number of feet or inches in front of the start/finish line. This means a car's transponder crosses the scoring loop at the same time the front bumper crosses the start/finish line. (For the record, the NEKC go-kart series has used electronic scoring at Thunder Road for many years, and the scoring loop wires are clearly visible in the asphalt about four to five yards before the start/finish line at the track; MRS has used this same system in both of its appearances at the track, and NASCAR used the system with its Busch North Series events in the late 1990s and early 2000s.)

But at most tracks, the scoring loop travels only a couple of feet into the infield, if at all. What if a car has to go through the infield for some reason and misses the loop, but is able to continue? Is the car not scored that lap?

How about this scenario, and say for the sake of the argument that the transponders are located on the rear frame rail of each car (which is quite common): What if two cars are racing for position coming to the line, and Car A spins but Car B continues, yet Car A -- now facing backwards -- has its transponder cross the line before the Car B, which although its nose may have crossed the finish first, its transponder is scored behind Car A's. Yeah, I made a diagram. According to the transponder, Car A is the winner, but according to everything else logical, Car B is the winner. In theory, you would think such a decision could be easily overturned by a race director or anyone else that physically witnessed the incident.

In a situation where there are between three and six human scorers watching every single car with their own eyes and writing everything down as it happens, it'd be a moot point and Car B would win every time. In this case, where transponders have replaced humans (and the impression that the official press release gives is that there won't be as many people sitting in the scoring tower as there used to be, meaning less eyes watching), it's plausible that such a scenario could be missed if it was to happen somewhere in the middle of the pack rather than at the front.

Is that a likely thing to happen often? Probably not. Am I reaching a little bit to try and prove a point? Absolutely. But it's entirely possible. And a computer error could ultimately cost someone a championship.

Here's why I feel I have some ground to stand on: I was a tape scorer for ACT in 2008. I worked the position at each Série ACT-Castrol event that year as well as ACT Late Model Tour races at Waterford, Kawartha, and White Mountain, the Showdown at Chaudière, and a handful of weekly races at Thunder Road, probably 15 events in total. Am I an expert? Of course not, but I did take a crash course with a very steep learning curve, and I now feel like I could get the job done at any track anywhere.

Tape scoring is without question the toughest job in racing, and I don't care who you ask. This media stuff is easy, trust me. Tape scoring is the dumps. You need 100% focus and concentration every second of every lap. You have to change your techniques all the time, even once a lap. You have to be able to anticipate, react, and get it right in the blink of an eye. You don't even get to watch the race, but rather focus on a group of six or eight or fifteen cars. But you feel damn proud of yourself when the night is over and nothing got totally botched.

Try scoring a 30-lap Tiger Sportsman feature at Thunder Road, when the pack never breaks up from side-by-side racing. And under those horrendous 60-watt lights hanging over the track. I've done it. It's hard and it totally sucks. But when that happens this year and one of those guys twitches out of Turn 4 and someone goes through the infield -- and I know you can picture it in your head -- and he misses the scoring loop, he's gonna be real mad when he recovers to finish seventh only to discover he never crossed the "line" on lap 13 and really finished in 26th, one lap down. And when titles come down to 13 points over the top three drivers like the Tigers saw in 2009, it will make a HUGE difference.

What about the practice of going back to the last complete green-flag lap when there's a wreck? Will that change? Will partial laps be deleted or not scored?

There are many, many advantages to electronic scoring, including better accuracy, instant results, lap-by-lap breakdowns, and more. Transponders take the inevitable and cruicial guesswork out of photo finishes or tight-quarters racing, and are usually able to handle an entire race without issue.

But when things are running smooth, it's no big deal. It's those freak incidents that get people up in arms.

I hope for everyone's sake that the transition to electronic scoring goes well. Because I'll certainly rememeber where I am if it doesn't.


We've heard encouraging news that the region's three dirt tracks are thinking about working together this season toward a common, successful goal. We've learned of an upcoming meeting between promoters Butch Elms of Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Dick Therrien, new boss at New Hampshire's Canaan Dirt and Canaan Fair Speedways, and first-time track operator Mike Rivers, who has completely rebuilt the track in Rumney, N.H., now known as Big Daddy's Speedbowl.

Wouldn't a Friday-Saturday-Sunday circuit be just awesome for the dirt racers around here? Cross your fingers, kids.


Joey Doiron is making a big mistake. At just 18 years old, he has decided to move from ACT to PASS in an attempt to win back-to-back Rookie of the Year titles. In a press release earlier this week, Doiron said he is looking forward to "going against guys like Richard Moody Racing, Scott Mulkern's team and Johnny Clark on all those different tracks with PASS this year," and eventually maybe moving up the NASCAR ladder.

Doiron is a likeable kid with some obvious talent. His parents have poured their hearts and souls into building a small-but-solid race team around their son. They have a huge behind-the-scenes ally in chassis man Dale Shaw, and could really turn some heads this year if they stuck with ACT. Moving to PASS is certainly not a bad thing, but the timing simply isn't right. Last year Doiron ran well in his first PASS start at his home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine, and started to get his ACT legs under him late in the season with impressive runs at Waterford, Twin State, and the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but that's only four races. Out of 15. He also failed to qualify at Lee, Thunder Road, and the Oxford 250, and struggled in races at Airborne, White Mountain, and Beech Ridge.

Doiron's late-season progress showed that he'd have certainly been ready to be in the top-five consistently in 2010, up a bunch from his 14th-to-24th-place runs earlier. Instead, he'll have to start over in a different series with a different car, and the learning curve goes instantly back to where it was at the beginning of last year.

What Doiron needs to do is focus on staying consistent, becoming a threat week in and week out in ACT, get some seat time out front, maybe win a race or two, and then make the jump. And running four or five PASS events on ACT off-weekends would be a great idea in the mean time.

While he is generally easy on equipment, he still has an average of only two crew members -- his parents -- at each race. He needs to establish himself, recruit some more help, and get comfortable racing against the likes of RPM Motorsports, Brent Dragon, John Donahue, the Pete Duto #55NH team, Joey Pole Racing, and the powerhouse ACT teams that are pound-for-pound every bit as good as the PASS-based Moody, Mulkern, and Clark organizations.

We just think Doiron would be better off running in fourth place in ACT than running 12th in PASS. If he had one year of solid consistency in ACT and then went to PASS, the momentum alone would give him a better shot at doing well in PASS right off the bat.


We're watching our TVs a bit more this year than we did last year, with eyes on Shelburne's Kevin Lepage in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Boris Said in the Sprint Cup ranks.

You might recall a sharp-tongued column from last summer about Lepage's recent disappointments, but maybe he's found something better this year in Jack McNelly's #56 Start Energy Drink Chevrolets. Last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Lepage practiced and qualified at around 25th place before falling out with a bad wheel bearing on lap 40.

Is this a start-and-park operation? It's hard to tell, but we don't think it will be. McNelly didn't run any races last year, and ran just four times in 2008 with drivers Danny O'Quinn and Travis Kittleson. We're going to wait and see on this, but the car has what appears to be decent sponsorship, and past results with McNelly's cars don't indicate a start-and-parker. Lepage may not win any races in the car, but it seems like a much better deal for Lepage than what he had with Derrike Cope and Jimmy Means last year.

Said, of course, is the pilot of Latitude 43 Motorsports, owned by new guy Bill Jenkins of West Wardsboro. Said finished 25th in the Daytona 500 on the lead lap despite two crashes, but fell out of Fontana in 38th place with a broken rear gear after chasing ignition problems all weekend.

Jenkins has made it clear that he fully intends to run the #26 Ford at every event on the Sprint Cup schedule this season, and is still locked into the lineup (based on last year's top-35 in owner points; the #26 points were purchased from Roush-Fenway Racing) for Las Vegas this weekend, Atlanta next weekend, and Bristol on March 21 before the team will have to worry about qualifying. With little in the way of sponsorship, but a talented team in Said and crew chief Frankie Stoddard, Jenkins remains confident that his team will succeed.

Said ranks 32nd in driver points with Jenkins 33rd in owner standings, 20 points ahead of 36th-place Bob Germain's #13 car and driver Max Papis.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VIDEO: Scott Payea 2010 Season Preview

A look inside the garage with American-Canadian Tour driver Scott Payea and crew chief Chris Companion, as Payea talks about his team's goals for the 2010 season. Video produced by Justin St. Louis/Vermont Motorsports Magazine, © 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

World Series: Crate Late Model Finale Rained Out, Laperle 2nd Overall Again

Delaney finishes third overall

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- It seems only fitting that the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing would end for the Crate Late Model division as it began -- soaking wet. Heavy rains on Friday have forced the cancellation of Night 8 on the nine-night championship at New Smyrna Speedway, which was scheduled to be the final night of racing for the division. Inclement weather also cancelled racing on opening night of the World Series last Friday (Feb. 5) and again on Tuesday.

As a result of the cancellations, former American-Canadian Tour champion and Milk Bowl winner Patrick Laperle of St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, Qué., has clinched second place in the Crate Late Model point standings for the second-straight year, with former CVRA and Devil's Bowl Speedway racer Dustin Delaney of Mayfield, N.Y., third overall.

Laperle posted a victory -- the fourth of his career at New Smyrna Speedway -- on Wednesday night after a drive from 15th starting position, and also turned in a pair of third-place finishes and an 18th-place effort in his four starts during the World Series. Delaney's best result was a runner-up finish on Monday night, followed by a third-place showing on the night of Laperle's win. Delaney was fifth on Saturday and eighth in Thursday's 50-lap feature.

Sean Bass of Orlando, Fla., found himself in the right place at the right time on Thursday night, winning the 50-lapper and taking the point lead away from 14 year-old Stephen Nasse. Nasse wrecked out of a top-five position with five laps remaining, eventually limping home in 16th place and dropping from first to fourth in the standings. Brandon Johnson finished fifth overall in the division.

Northeast noteables include Stayner, Ont., teenager Brandon Watson, who finished in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Crate Late Model division, and Shaun McWhirter of Mt. Forest, Ont., and Wayne Smith of Timberlea, Nova Scotia, who were among a six-way tie for 13th overall.

In other action at the World Series, B.J. McLeod leads St. John, New Brunswick's Lonnie Sommerville entering the Super Late Model division's Pete Orr Memorial 100 finale on Saturday, and Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., holds a slim three-point lead over Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, N.Y. entering Saturday's Richie Evans Memorial 100 in the Tour-type Modifieds. Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., leads the SK Modified division, Todd Allen leads the Limited Late Model class, and T.J. Duke leads the Pro-Trucks. James Tucker defeated second-generation driver Travis Eddy for the Florida/IMCA-type Modified championship.

44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
New Smyrna Speedway -- New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Crate Late Models, after Night 7, Thu., Feb. 11, 2010


1. Sean Bass, Orlando, Fla. -- 178
2. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Qué. -- 158
3. Dustin Delaney, Mayfield, N.Y. -- 154
4. Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, Fla. -- 150
5. Brandon Johnson, Tampa, Fla. -- 146
6. David Wagner, Akron, Oh. -- 102
7. Austin Kirkpatrick, Ocala, Fla. -- 98
-- Jerick Johnson, Mooresville, N.C. -- 98
9. Thor Anderson, Bondurant, Ia. -- 90
-- Brandon Watson, Stayner, Ont. -- 90
-- Erik Jones, Byron, Mich. -- 90

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Devil's Bowl Speedway Releases 2010 Schedule

WEST HAVEN -- The Champlain Valley Racing Association has made official the 2010 Devil's Bowl Speedway schedule, featuring 16 championship events for its first season as an asphalt 1/2-mile since the late 1970s. The track will feature weekly competition from the traditional dirt-style Modifieds, along with new-look divisions including the Sportsman (formerly Budget Sportsman), Renegade (formerly Limited), and Bomber Warrior (formerly Mini Stock) classes, and the Duke Stock division. A new American-Canadian Tour-legal Tiger Sportsman division is slated to begin racing at Devil's Bowl in 2010, but will not race weekly; the Tiger Sportsman schedule will be confirmed at a later date.

The 44th annual season opener will be held on Sunday, May 23, with a special 100-lap race for the Late Models from Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre. The new Modified Tri-Track Series, including drivers from CVRA sister track Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., and Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., moves in on May 30, followed one week later by the first of four championship programs that will also include an Enduro.

Other special events include an Independence Day fireworks celebration on July 4, the annual Mid-Season Championships on July 25, and the 100 for the Tri-Track Series on Championship Night, Sept. 5. Two snowmobile "grass drags" are planned with dates to be announced, and the season will conclude with the first-ever Vermonster Enduro 150 on Oct. 10.

DEVIL'S BOWL SPEEDWAY 2010 SCHEDULE (as of Thu., Feb. 11, 2010)
West Haven, Vt.


-- Sat., May 15 -- Practice
-- Sat., May 22 -- Practice
1. Sun., May 23 -- Opening Event (Late Model 100)
2. Sun., May 30 -- Modified Tri-Track Series 50 (ACOT/STAR antique racers)
3. Sun., June 6 -- Regular Event (Enduro)
4. Sun., June 13 -- Regular Event (Renegade 50)
5. Sun., June 20 -- Double Points Event (Kids Rides/Driver Autographs)
6. Sun., June 27 -- Regular Event
7. Sun., July 4 -- Independence Day Fireworks (Sportsman 50)
8. Sun., July 11 -- Regular Event (Duke Stock 25/Enduro)
9. Sun., July 18 -- Regular Event (Spectator Racing)
10. Sun., July 25 -- Double Points/Mid-Season Championships
11. Sun., Aug. 1 -- Regular Event (Black Flag Night/Officials Race)
12. Sun., Aug. 8 -- Regular Event (Enduro)
13. Sun., Aug. 15 -- Double Points Event (Kids Rides/Driver Autographs)
14. Sun., Aug. 22 -- Regular Event (Judith L. Richards Memorial Night)
15. Sun., Aug. 29 -- Regular Event
16. Sun., Sept. 5 -- Double Points/Championship Night/Modified Tri-Track Series 100 (Enduro)
17. TBA -- Snowmobile Grass Drags
18. TBA -- Snowmobile Grass Drags
19. Sun., Oct. 10 -- Vermonster Enduro 150 (Renegade 50/Bomber Warrior 50/Duke Stock 30)

VMM on VLF Radio -- TONIGHT!

Join the new VLF Radio show tonight at 7:00 as Vermont Motorsports Magazine Editor Justin St. Louis talks racing with host Eric LaFleche! Click here to listen to the live show, and be sure to call in at (347) 826-7505 with your questions and comments!

World Series: Laperle Wins at New Smyrna, Delaney 2nd in Points

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Patrick Laperle of St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, Qué., drove from 15th starting position to win the Crate Late Model feature at New Smyrna Speedway's World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing on Wednesday night. Laperle, a former American-Canadian Tour champion and three-time winner of the Chittenden Bank Milk Bowl at Barre's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, now sits fifth in points after four events have been completed in the series.

Dustin Delaney of Mayfield, N.Y., a former Modified racer at Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, finished third in the Wednesday night feature, and is tied for second in points with Tampa, Fla., driver Brandon Johnson, just markers behind young Stephen Nasse of Pinellas Park, Fla. Part-time ACT competitor Brandon Watson of Stayner, Ont., is ninth in points after a disqualification for illegal fuel earlier in the week.

Only three of five scheduled Crate Late Model events have been completed; rain cancelled racing on Friday, Feb. 5, and heavy fog wiped out racing on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The Crate Late Models are slated to race again tonight, with a final 50-lap feature on Friday. Fourteen year-old Nasse won on Saturday and Monday to open the series, but finished seventh last night. Delaney has three top-five finishes to his credit.

For additional coverage of the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, visit Marc Patrick Roy's "Oval-Racing" website.

44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing
New Smyrna Speedway -- New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Crate Late Models, after Night 6, Wed., Feb. 10, 2010


1. Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, Fla. -- 146
2. Dustin Delaney, Mayfield, N.Y. -- 142
-- Brandon Johnson, Tampa, Fla. -- 142
4. Sean Bass, Auburndale, Fla. -- 138
5. Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, Qué. -- 126
6. David Wagner, Akron, Oh. -- 98
7. Jerick Johnson, Mooresville, N.C. -- 94
8. Thor Anderson, Bondurant, Ia. -- 82
9. Brandon Watson, Stayner, Ont. -- 74
10. Erik Jones, Byron, Mich. -- 70

(PHOTO: Patrick Laperle at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway; Photo by Marc Patrick Roy)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CVRA Releases Albany-Saratoga, Sportsman Schedules

Devil's Bowl schedule expected soon

MALTA, N.Y. -- The Champlain Valley Racing Association has released its 2010 schedules for Albany-Saratoga Speedway and the CVRA Sportsman division. The newly-paved, 4/10-mile, Malta, N.Y., track will hold 25 race meets from April through October, including first-ever events for the Race of Champions Modified Tour, Modified Racing Series, American-Canadian Tour, International SuperModifed Association, and the new Modified Tri-Track Series, in association with CVRA sister track Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., and Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The Albany-Saratoga Speedway season opens on Sat., April 17 with 100-lap Enduro, followed the next day by the RoC/MRS Modified combination event. The ACT Late Models and Tri-Track Series debut on Sat., April 25, and the lightning-fast ISMA series runs on Sun., May 2. Regular Friday-night racing begins on May 7 with the "Grand Re-Opening" event, featuring a 50-lap Pro Stock feature. Other big events include the 100, a Tri-Track event, on July 16, Championship Night on Sept. 10, and the "Halloween Havoc" Enduro 200 on Oct. 16.

The CVRA Sportsman division -- formerly the "Budget Sportsman" class -- will again run weekly at Albany-Saratoga and Devil's Bowl, but will decide its champion in a 21-race series between the two tracks. Albany-Saratoga will host 12 events, beginning May 7, while Devil's Bowl will hold nine races, starting Sun., May 30. The Devil's Bowl Speedway schedule, according to the CVRA website on Tuesday, will be released "within a day or so."

Click here to view the Albany-Saratoga Speedway schedule, and click here for the CVRA Sportsman schedule.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hickory Test a Success for Laquerre, Goodyear

(From ACT press release)

AKRON, Oh. -- Officials of the Goodyear Engineering and Racing Division and the American-Canadian Tour have announced that the final test of their new Limited Late Model tire was very successful.

East Montpelier's Joey Laquerre traveled to Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last week to assist with the test of Goodyear's new 7-1/2” treaded tire (#D2637), designed for a +/- 3,000 lb Limited Late Model-type race car, using his ACT-legal Tiger Sportsman car. Laquerre originally tested the 7" first-generation #D2635 tire in 2008, and was instrumental in developing the tire, which is now used throughout the country. Laquerre also did extensive testing on the ACT Late Model tire in 2004, which led to use by a dozen tracks and both ACT Touring divisions in the US and Canada.

“The test went really well, and working with Joel (Reichert, a development engineer for Goodyear racing) is always interesting," said Laquerre. "He listens to what we as racers think might help the product. Goodyear really improved the tire with the added half-inch creating a better contact patch, and I was very pleased that after 150 laps of testing the tire was still performing within a tenth (of a second per lap) or two of where we had been 100 laps earlier."

ACT has been involved with development of short track tires in conjunction with Goodyear for over 20 years.

“It is great to have the world’s highest profile racing tire company work with us for the betterment of short track racing,” said ACT president Tom Curley. “We started out working on a treaded tire back around 1990. A few years ago we saw a need for an upgrade on the 8” Late Model slick, and Goodyear allowed us to work with them to produce the state of the art 8” slick which has become very popular nationwide and is used by our affiliate tracks and both our US ACT and Canadian Castrol tours. Now with the development of the 7-1/2” #D2637 treaded tire, we have come full circle.”

ACT is also working with Goodyear on a cost-effective tire for four-cylinder divisions. Additionally, Goodyear will be providing ACT competitors with a special tire for their second ACT Invitational to be held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 18.

“Working with the competitors at ACT is always a very positive and rewarding experience for Goodyear," said Goodyear Short Track Racing Sales Manager Scott Junod. "We have done a lot of testing with them over the past few years, and all of us in Engineering and Sales have really enjoyed the relationship. We are especially grateful to Joey and appreciate all the help and input he has given us in development of this new tire for the Limited Late Model-type car.”

The ACT Tiger Sportsman division has been popular since 1966 at the flagship track, Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl in Barre, as over 40 teams compete there weekly. Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has seen continued success with the division for twenty years, and in 2010, White Mountain Motorsport Park in North Woodstock, N.H., and Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Fair Haven will adopt the ACT Tiger Sportsman division rulebook.

The Bond Auto/Wix ACT Tiger Sportsman Series will be expanding in 2010 to include events at both Thunder Road and White Mountain, as well as Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., and Canaan Fair (N.H.) Speedway. Tracks from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Ontario have indicated they will run the new Goodyear #D2637 tire in 2010 following the testing results from Hickory.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Junior Johnson was famous for saying, "If you want to make a small fortune in racing, start with a big one." There's only one reason we sacrifice our time, energy, money, and at times even our family lives, to stay in racing.
The love of the game.
"The choice was to stay at home in the cold and snow in Vermont, or come to Florida and race, so what the hell?" --Peter Jarvis at New Smyrna Speedway

"For me it's a learning-charge-your-battery-focus-on-Thunder-Road-race-the-Baja-and-not-get-killed-type of year." --Jean-Paul Cyr, looking forward to his 2009 season

"I don't race to prove things, I race because I like to race." --Eric Williams

"It was a long haul, but I got to skip school so it was worth it." --17 year-old Joey Doiron on testing on a Wednesday afternoon at Thunder Road

"It's all about wins, because it won't be long that I won't be doing this anymore." --Brad Leighton

"Who's Quinny?" --Eddie MacDonald, after an entertaining battle with Quinny Welch at Lee USA Speedway

"As long as everybody's having a good time, it's all good." --Modified Racing Series founder Jack Bateman

"We come down here every year to the first big race, we pull in with our little hauler and trailer. Some of these rigs I could park my hauler and truck inside their rig and still have a picnic underneath it, you know? And you stand there and you look around and you almost say, 'Man, what am I doing? This is crazy.' " --Eric Williams on operating a winning ACT race team with a shoestring budget

"When I was paving it, I threw some money on the track before the roller came through so I can say I've got a couple dollars in it." --Airborne Speedway champion Bucko Branham, who was on the construction team that gave the track a $300,000 facelift in April

"Not many people would give a kid a dirt Modified and say, 'Here, have at it.' " --Jason Gray

"We thought we were headed to Waterford, and we ended up winning at Ste-Croix." --Brent Dragon

"I'm gonna have to fly like the wind. Literally." --Eric Chase, on catching a flight from Concord, N.H., to Berlin, Vt., after qualifying a NASCAR Camping World Series East car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday afternoon and getting to Thunder Road in time to race that evening

"Dale kept telling me, 'Slow down, slow down, slow down, save your tires,' and I said, 'How slow do you want me to go? I'm not even driving hard enough to use my brakes!' " --John Donahue after blistering an ACT field at White Mountain Motorsports Park

"ACT called asking me to run Beech Ridge, and I called them back and I said, 'You know something, I have a hard time pulling a dime out of my pocket to race on Thursday nights.' " --Doug Murphy

"If there wasn't no Saturday night racing, there wouldn't be no Sunday racing." --Seven-time NASCAR champion "King" Richard Petty on the importance of short track racing as it relates to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

"We were at the shop, heck, I was going home before them and I usually don't do that. I'm usually one of the last guys there, and I was like, 'Guys, I gotta go to work in the morning,' and they would just stay down there." --Nick Sweet on the dedication of his crew

"I've got a Formula 1 game for my PlayStation, but that's it. I drove around the track in a street car for the first time, and that track is so narrow the Formula 1 guys that raced there must be crazy." --Patrick Laperle on making his road course debut in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

"This is just for fun." --Chris Donnelly

"We're a family-run team and that's what makes it fun. We stay close as a family, and it's even fun sometimes when you're fighting. It's like a woman, you've got to fight 'em every once in a while. It wouldn't be real if you weren't fighting, right?" --Nick Sweet

"He along with his whole team always represented to me exactly why I have stayed in this business for so long. If I could have 30 Mark Lambertons on the road each week, I would keep doing this until I either dropped dead or became so senile that they threw me out." --ACT president Tom Curley, upon the news that Mark Lamberton would return to regular competition

"I'm hoping they'll think I'm Jeff Taylor and they'll cheer for me." --Nick Sweet at Oxford Plains Speedway, referencing the paint scheme on his car honoring nine-time OPS champion Taylor

"Honest to God, if I could run with those guys every week, I'd come up here and run every single week." --Wayne Helliwell, Jr. on racing against Quinny Welch and Randy Potter

"You get butterflies when you turn off the road here into New Hampshire and come through the tunnel." --Scott Payea on racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

"You couldn't ask for a better guy." --Crew chief Jeff Laquerre on his driver, Jean-Paul Cyr

"I couldn't be more pleased with the way Scott races people. He's very smart and doesn't abuse his equipment. Some guys, like Brad Leighton and Patrick Laperle, those guys will risk it all to win. He's not that type of driver." --Brian Hoar on Scott Payea

"The reality is that the chemistry with me and this team is there. I've had more fun racing this year than ever before, and that's whether we're at the track, or in the trailer on the way to a race, or on Tuesday nights when we're all in the shop together working on the car. I actually look forward to Tuesday nights more than anything." --Brain Hoar on his RPM Motorsports team

"I'm 38 years old and I still get all excited when I see these (NASCAR) guys race at this track. And in about an hour I get to be one of the guys racing here." --Dave Pembroke at NHMS

"I appreciate short track racing and haven't forgotten where I learned the sport from the grassroots up." --NHMS vice president Jerry Gappens


An adjustment of the panhard bar can win or lose a race. Improving a race track can help revitalize a community. Bringing two groups together can, in turn, tear racers apart.

Change is everywhere.


"When the tribes start to get whittled down, they merge, so here we are." --Thunder Road promoter Tom Curley on the off-season Street Stock/Junkyard Warrior divisional merge, drawing comparisons to the TV show "Survivor"

"It will change the racing completely." --Airborne Speedway promoter Mike Perrotte on his track's new layout for 2009

"I never would have thought this would have happened." --Phil Scott on conducting the first Goodyear Late Model tire test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in April, alongside four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams

"I love it. This is the way racing should be. This is the way it should have been a long time ago." --Bucko Branham on the new Airborne Speedway surface

"Those kids are good. Don't underestimate them. That 28 and the 23 car (Tim and Matt Potter), you remember what they were like last year? They were toilets. This year they're really good." --Joey Laquerre

"We're supposed to be entertaining. I think that's something Jack Bateman really needs to think about if he really wants us to bring people onto this tour and put some fans in the grandstands. He's got to take some of these rules he's got and throw them away." --Modified Racing Series driver David Pinkham

"I don't think I want to race asphalt again on a regular basis." --Devil's Bowl Speedway champion Todd Stone, upon learning that his two home tracks, Devil's Bowl and Albany-Saratoga Speedway, would likely be paved in 2010

"I guess I have run out of energy to carry on the constant fight with those that just don't get it." --Curley on the mid-season controversy that temporarily split the Street Stock and Warrior divisions apart again

"It's time we put the racing back in the racing." --David Pinkham

"I feel like a backwards rookie, maybe that's why we've got a yellow stripe on the front of the car. I'm still learning how to drive these Late Models again. Everything is different than when we ran years ago with big motors and tire softener. All those races and titles I won, that was almost ten years ago, it's been so long. It's totally different now, I'm just starting over." --Brian Hoar, who would go on to win his first ACT Late Model Tour championship since 2000

"Twelve years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be here." --ACT driver Tyler Cahoon, who began racing Street Stocks at Thunder Road in 1998, on the reality of practicing his own Late Model at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

"I'm getting soft." --Airborne Speedway Sportsman champion Bucko Branham on keeping better control of his temper as he grows older

"We're looking into the future, far down the road, for the betterment of our company." --Devil's Bowl Speedway promoter Jerry Richards on the Champlain Valley Racing Association's decision to pave both of its facilities, including sister track Albany-Saratoga Speedway

"Our attendance was up over the previous three or four years by having ACT there, and I give them all the credit for increasing the crowd." --New Hampshire Motor Speedway vice president Jerry Gappens, on hosting the first-ever ACT Invitational on Sylvania 300 weekend in September

"Running races at Loudon singlehandedly changed the Busch North Series, and everyone thought they had to go out and get superspeedway bodies and superspeedway cars and spend lots of money. And it's already started in ACT -- Patrick Laperle had a car built specifically for Loudon before he was even invited. Ricky Rolfe tested well there in August, and put his car up on jackstands and pulled out a back-up car for the rest of the races until the Invitational. Guys are figuring out that aerodynamics have never been as important on a Late Model as they are at Loudon. It's up to ACT to clamp down on it." --ACT champion Brian Hoar on the series running future events at NHMS


Some do it in their first try, for some it can take decades. Some do it once, some do it once a week, some never get the chance at all. But for everyone, it's all they want to do.

Just win.


"I'm typically not that patient." --Brad Leighton

"To race with him here is pretty impressive for us." --Quinny Welch on keeping up with hometown hero Eddie MacDonald at Lee USA Speedway

"It was interesting out there." --Rob Goodenough, Modified Racing Series winner at Monadnock Speedway, after leader Kirk Alexander crashed out with 10 laps remaining

"It's not really hard, you go as fast as you can and turn left." --Tucker Williams

"We're just small-town people up in the hills around Hyde Park, and this is a big deal for us. I'm just proud as can be of my boy." --Eric Williams, after he and son Tucker swept their feature events on opening day at Thunder Road

"I guess I was prepared to finish second. I was not looking forward to having to ask him for a ticket to Loudon." --Dave Pembroke after winning the Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road and a qualifying berth for the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway; Joey Polewarczyk dominated the race but spun out of the lead on lap 82

"Last year I had some bad situations I was in and things didn't turn out like I wanted them to, but this year it's just been one hell of a year." --Steve Masse after winning his first Modified Racing Series feature at Thunder Road

"I'm getting lucky this year." --Josh Harrington after his third-straight victory to open the season at Bear Ridge Speedway

"It was a lot of fun, but it wasn't pretty, I know that." --Bobby Dragon, after winning a match race at Bear Ridge Speedway over his brother, Beaver, and nephew, Brent

"They think it's kind of a facade I'm putting on, but it's really fun and I seem to do pretty well at it. I think they just hate it that I can beat them at their own kind of game." --Amanda Gray on beating the boys

"There's nothing easy about races here. Starting first is a bonus, but it's still hard. I was driving as hard as I could." --Dave Pembroke after winning the Thursday night opener at Thunder Road

"You don't want to win like that." --Daniel Laperle on his brother, Patrick, winning a wreck-filled race at New Smyrna Speedway, shortened from 25 laps to 11.

"Chris Donnelly is probably the best driver we've got in this class, and for me as an 18 year-old kid to come out and race with these guys, it's awesome." --Jason Gray

"I guess it was worth the trip." --June Dragon, wife of Brent Dragon, after winning a Série ACT-Castrol race at Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix, Qué., on June 20; the ACT Late Model Tour event at Waterford, Conn., that the Dragons planned on running was rained out earlier that day

"Pretty friggin' good." --Joey Polewarczyk's answer to the question, "How does it feel to finally win at Thunder Road?"

"I bent my steering shaft down punching the steering wheel I was so excited. I couldn't hardly turn doing the burnout." --Jimmy Hebert after his first Tiger Sportsman win

"My God, I've been waiting for that. My car's always junk, you know what I mean?" --Grant Folsom after his first win at Thunder Road

"We unload and nine out of ten times it's fast." --Jon McKennedy

"I came here probably 15 or 18 years ago with my father to watch the 250 and just watch these guys. I never thought I'd be able to come here and win the thing." --Eddie MacDonald after winning the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway

"We have one spare shock in the race car trailer, and that's the only spare part we have with us other than our wheels and tires. We have no spare springs, the setup in the car is what we run every week. When I watch these guys beside us that are just throwing shocks and springs at their cars to make them go better, it's like, man, why do they do all that? We can do it with just what we have." --Doug Murphy

"Overall the night rates about an 8 [out of 10]. It could be a little better, but I've got to spend the money I won fixing the car." --Bucko Branham after taking an Airborne Speedway win despite his car missing half of its bodywork due to crashes

"At the front was the place to be tonight as far as I can tell. I mean, we came around and one car was upside down." --Ryan Avery after taking his first Sportsman Modified win at Bear Ridge Speedway

"I was almost in tears. I said, 'There it goes.' I knew it was going to happen here." --Shawn Duquette's mid-race thoughts after crashing in the ACT Tiger Sportsman Series finale at Thunder Road; he clinched the championship after a tie-breaker with Jason Bonnett

"We lose as a team, we win as a team, and you really find out who your real friends are when you're down. I mean, look at us, we were down tonight. This is what happens in racing. You're at your lowest point in the season, you don't think it can get any worse, all of sudden you're like, 'I'm so sick of it, I can't wait for it to be over,' and then you win a race. And look at us now, I've got a grin on my face, I'm on the ninth cloud, and we're going to come back tomorrow." --Nick Sweet after his first Late Model win

"It's really fun to race here when people actually give you some room." --Jamie Fisher

"It was easy tonight." --Martin Roy after his fifth Airborne Speedway win

"It was probably the best race I've been in, I don't know, probably my whole career." --Quinny Welch, after battling Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Randy Potter in the Clash of the Titans 150 at Riverside (N.H.) Speedway and finishing second

"They said that we were pretty fast, but sometimes I wonder if he's not showing it all." --Todd Stone on championship rival Kenny Tremont, Jr., after Stone won the penultimate race at Devil's Bowl Speedway

"This is cool. This is what I wanted." --Jean-Paul Cyr while watching fireworks, moments after winning the Thunder Road championship

"No, no, no. The winner is on the last lap of the last race." --Martin Roy on being able to relax after gaining a season-high 12-point lead over Patrick Dupree entering the final event at Airborne Speedway

"This is our first win in the States this year, so I guess I can be a U.S. citizen again. Everybody's been beating on me about being a Canadian all year." --Brent Dragon in ACT victory lane at Twin State Speedway; Dragon had previously won at Riverside Speedway and Autodrome Chaudière, both in Québec

"You always think about the bad times instead of the good times, like when we won in '05 at Drummond. But tonight nothing bad happened. It's a happy time." --Martin Roy after clinching the Airborne Speedway Modified championship

"We went up this morning after the drivers meeting, Tom (Curley) took all the Late Models up to the three stones up there in the grandstands. My name was on two of them at the beginning of the day. Now it's on all three." --Dave Pembroke after winning the Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road; granite monuments at the track honor past winners of the Labor Day Classic, Memorial Day Classic, and Vermont Milk Bowl events

"It's not that easy. I'll bet it looks easy though." --Chris Donnelly, after his sixth win of the season at Bear Ridge Speedway

"I've won titles and I've lost some really close battles, but at the end of the day I've still got five championships. I'm not going to lose sleep if I don't win another one this year. Don't get me wrong, I want nothing more than to win my sixth ACT championship, but do I think the pressure to perform is greater on him? Yes, I do." --Brian Hoar on ACT title rival Scott Payea

"Thank God for Nick spinning out." --Lonnie Rivers, after clinching the Airborne Speedway Renegade championship when point leader Nick Heywood went off the track in the season finale

"It wasn't until last night after we got done at Donnie Avery's race shop, I was laying underneath the car changing gears, that it sunk in -- I'm going to Loudon." --Stacy Cahoon, who won the White Mountain Motorsports Park track championship late Friday night, changed his car's setup in track promoter Avery's garage, and was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway by 7:30 on Saturday morning

"Yes it was." --Oxford Plains Speedway champion Travis Adams' interjection to our offering, "Sorry your Loudon experience wasn't what you wanted." Adams finished 32nd in the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but was so happy to be racing at the track that he cared little about his finish

"We're not idiots in this business, and I know a lot of you think we are, but we're not." --ACT president Tom Curley

"A month ago Tom (Curley) brought us all up there, and I'm looking on down through and I'm on two of them, and I said, 'Boy, I'd really like to be on that Milk Bowl one, that way my name is on all three of them.' I've been thinking about it since then." --John Donahue, moments after winning the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road and realizing his name would be on each granite monument at the track

"It's ten times better than I ever thought it would be. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of this. I never thought I would race at 16, say nothing about winning a championship at 18." --Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman champion Jimmy Hebert

"Yes." --Mike Rollins' straight-faced answer to the question, "Did you expect to win?" after winning the Hart 100 at Bucktona Int'l Speedway

"I'd see how quickly I pulled away and I figured, as long I didn't do anything mentally challenged I'll be just fine." --Eric Williams after beating Joey Polewarczyk to win the ACT Late Model Tour finale at Oxford Plains Speedway

"I celebrated for about ten minutes when we signed the deal, but then I put my head down in the ditch and got to work." --Bill Jenkins, after purchasing the #26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team from Roush-Fenway Racing

"The irony behind it all is that probably if you hadn't decided to go with them, I might not have the opportunity to be where I'm standing right now." --Brian Hoar addressing Jean-Paul Cyr during his ACT championship speech; Cyr left the RPM Motorsports team after 2008 to form a new team with Joey and Jeff Laquerre at Thunder Road, and Hoar filled the RPM seat on the ACT Late Model Tour. The switch resulted in both Hoar and Cyr winning their respective championships in 2009


It sucks. It's the worst part of racing, and for some it never stops. But there can only be one winner.

The question is: How good a loser are you?


"It's a little frustrating when you don't win, but oh well, that's racing. That's why they call it 'racing' and not just 'winning.' " --Patrick Dupree

"We're trying to figure out how to even get the car in the trailer." --Patrick Laperle after wrecking at New Smyrna Speedway

"It's a bummer not having sponsors." --Eric Williams

"I'm over it. Last year is last year. It could have been a hundred points and it wouldn't have mattered. We finished second the year before, too." --Scott Payea on losing the 2008 ACT championship by one point

"They're playing their cards, you know what I mean? Come on, they didn't start racing yesterday. They're better than they showed, and they were good." --Eric Williams on Cris Michaud's team while testing the new ACT-approved Ford 'spec' crate engine

"I don't like struggling to qualify, and I don't like struggling to keep up." --Trampas Demers

"I wasn't thinking about the trophy or going to Loudon. I wanted that chair. I wanted it last year, too. Maybe Scott [Payea] will let me sit in it." --Randy Potter, after finishing second in the Furniture World of Vermont Spring Green 100 at Airborne Speedway two years in a row

"I go from hero to zero in a one-hour drive over the mountain." --Ben Rowe on struggling in ACT events at Thunder Road, less than 24 hours after winning a PASS event at White Mountain Motorsports Park

"I'm pissed off now. I want to win here. I want to win at this place more than anything in the world." --Joey Polewarczyk after spinning out of the lead at Thunder Road, 18 laps shy of the checkered flag

---Overheard in the Bear Ridge Speedway pits following Brent Dragon's dirt racing debut---
Brent Dragon: "I'll never complain about Ste-Croix being a rough track ever again."
Gary Siemons: "What? That ain't even rough. That wasn't bad at all."
Brent Dragon: (Expletive deleted)

"Um, a little bit... maybe... not really... kinda, yeah." --Joey Polewarczyk on whether or not losing at Thunder Road to Tony Stewart -- in one of his own cars -- would bother him

"I have had to do a lot of fixing this year." --Junkyard Warrior driver Ken Christman on the Street Stock/Warrior divisional merge at Thunder Road

"We can't afford it this year from a money and risk standpoint." --Scott Payea on having to skip racing the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway

"Right now I'm sad, but at the RV we're going to have a party." --Patrick Laperle on finishing second in the TD Bank 250

"I think he learned the hard way that racing up here in the north is nothing like what he's used to down south." -- Joe Polewarczyk, Sr., on Georgia driver Michael Pope, who wrecked out of a PASS event at Lee USA Speedway in his own Super Late Model, then wrecked in one of Polewarczyk's cars at the TD Bank 250 one week later

"He just came over and said, 'I overdrove.' I said, 'Yup, you did, but if you don't try it, you don't learn.' " --Tony Andrews after beating Brooks Clark for a win at Thunder Road

"Everybody was pretty crazy tonight. I don't know, the whole place was going nuts." --Chris Donnelly, after finishing second in a race that featured one flip and two other major wrecks at Bear Ridge Speedway

"Sometimes I get a little impatient and I run out of talent, it just happens." --Nick Sweet

"This is the funniest thing I've ever said in my life, but Brad Leighton thought I drove him rough. That's bullsh-t. And that's a direct quote. Write that down. He got his hand caught in the candy jar." --Brian Hoar after winning a controversial ACT Late Model Tour event at Waterford Speedbowl, in which Leighton crashed out of the lead coming to the final lap

"He blatantly drove over my nose. I'm not taking his crap any more. It's happened to me too many times." --Joey Polewarczyk on an incident with Brian Hoar at Waterford Speedbowl

"I guess it's sort of my fault that Jason lost the title. Duquette would have helped us out. We've lost titles before, and we've won them, too. It would have been nice to win, but it's no big deal. Stuff like this is why we race." --Ron Bonnett after helping to repair point leader Shawn Duquette's car following a crash in the ACT Tiger Sportsman Series finale at Thunder Road; Duquette beat Jason Bonnett, Ron's son, for the championship in a tie-breaker

"I'm good at doing vinyl. I'm getting fantastic at that." --Nick Sweet on making constant repairs to his car

"I gave that one away. Maybe not the championship, but tonight's race I gave away, like a f---ing moron." --Patrick Dupree after finishing second to Martin Roy in both the Charlie Trombley Memorial 100 and Modified championship points at Airborne Speedway

"I wish he would have stopped hitting me and just let us race." --John Donahue on Patrick Laperle

"I beat him in the race -- I was third and he was fifth -- but he won his heat and we were even after it was over. It all comes down to heat points. It sucks." --Scott Payea on battling for the ACT championship with Brian Hoar

"He's a pain in the ass." --Patrick Laperle on rival Donald Theetge

"Everything went black." --Joey Polewarczyk after a hard crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

"It's clearly obvious to anybody but Laperle fans what the situation was ... 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." --ACT president Tom Curley, following a Série ACT-Castrol controversy at Autodrome St-Eustache that penalized Patrick Laperle for allegedly mainpulating the outcome of the season's final race and the series' championship

"I don't know what it is, but I think he likes Theetge and not me." --Patrick Laperle, suggesting he was unfairly targeted by Tom Curley

"I'm afraid I might do something stupid if I go race there." --Patrick Laperle on skipping the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, and therefore a chance at becoming the race's only three-peat winner

"We're not a bunch of idiots, we're not just a piece of meat to throw around. I'm done, I've had enough for now. I don't think I'll be racing ACT for a while, maybe like two years I'll come back. I say that I'm done, but I might have regret and come back next year. But then I'll probably want to smash my head off a wall if I do." --Patrick Laperle

"It's the second time it's happened this year. I'll be good with it, and I'll keep it in my memory bank. That's part of the deal. We'll see what happens next week." --Brent Dragon after being on the losing end of a rough battle with John Donahue

"We ran good at Thunder Road for a long time before the win. The win gives us confidence and it got the monkey off our back, but you can't ever go to Thunder Road thinking you're going to win there. It's such a tough place, and it'll bite you at any second. You can come out of Turn 4 and think you're just going to brush the wall a little bit, and the next thing you know you're upside down. You have to respect it, because something will always go wrong that will bring you back to reality." --Joey Polewarczyk


It takes a lot of things to get into a race car: Money, people, time, energy, sponsors, equipment, dedication.

But it only takes one thing to win: Guts.


"The only traction control I need is in my right foot." --Patrick Laperle

"The sky is the limit, we just have to use our heads and move slowly." --Airborne Speedway promoter Mike Perrotte

"You're my new hero." --NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon's remark to ACT driver Phil Scott after Scott ran full-bore through a stream of water in Turn 1 during a Goodyear tire test at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

"There was some bumping, but this is short track, right?" --Brad Leighton at Airborne Speedway

"If you're nuts enough to stick it out there, you can really go." --Mike Perrotte on Airborne Speedway's new outside lane

"He might be driving one of my cars, but he's gonna have to try to get by me to win that race." --Joey Polewarczyk on NASCAR champion Tony Stewart's Governor's Cup 150 appearance at Thunder Road

"I've been doing this a long time. I'm not going to wait if I see an opening, whether it's behind a lapped car or whatever, I'm going to head down there and take a shot at it and see if it works." --Chris Donnelly

"I've heard a lot of bad stories about it." --Airborne Speedway Sportsman driver Shawn Duquette on making his first start at Thunder Road

"At lap 80, I was getting dizzy. I kept pulling my gloves down and hanging my hands out the window trying to cool my wrists. I was good on that last run, and then that caution came out with seven to go. And it just hit, everything started spinning. If there was another lap I would have drove right off the speedway." --Wayne Helliwell, Jr., who collapsed from heat exhaustion in victory lane at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., after winning the Clash of the Titans 150 in 95-degree heat

"If you want to jack me up and spin me out, well, you're going to the rear, too. That's just the way I look at things. I'm not going to let someone booger me around." --John Donahue

"We've got good notes and a lot of confidence, and it's not like I'm going out there and pussyfooting around. We're going over to win." --Scott Payea

"The Milk Bowl is all about patience, but then again, you can't say that, either. You have to get to the front fast, but you have to race with the sense in your head that, 'Okay, there's another leg right after this one, so don't wreck.' " --Joey Polewarczyk

"I don't like being put three-wide, but this is the third segment, this is the Milk Bowl, this happens once a year. I don't know how else to put it. I wanted it more than he did. I got rough. I usually don't drive like that, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal." --John Donahue on racing for the Milk Bowl victory with Brent Dragon

"I hate seeing that black bumper in my mirror. He's always run me clean, but I still let him go if he wants a spot." --Nick Sweet on racing with Eric Williams

"You don't want to piss Eric off, because he gets mad and he don't forget." --John Donahue on racing with Eric Williams

"Life isn't a dress rehearsal." --Gardner Stone's advice to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Bill Jenkins


Every racer needs something to work toward. An item to cross off a list. A trophy to put on the mantle. A reason to keep coming back.

A goal.


"The number-one goal is to create a very stout team that can be a threat week-in and week-out, and the number-two goal would be the Thunder Road title." --Jean-Paul Cyr on joining forces with Joey and Jeff Laquerre

"That's what I wanted, that's my baby." --Four-time New Hampshire Motor Speedway track champion Brad Leighton on becoming the first qualifier for the ACT Invitational at NHMS

"I have nothing to prove, people know how good we are. I just want to win races and try to go for it again this year." --Scott Payea

"My objective is win the championship. It's my year. I've finished second and third, it's my year." --Martin Roy

"I need more seat time out front so I'll be more comfortable in situations like this." --Trampas Demers, polesitter at Thunder Road's Merchants Bank 150, on his decision to race with the Série ACT-Castrol in Canada

"I can't really comment and give you anything other than baloney right now, I just don't know." --Sponsorless Eric Williams on racing the full ACT schedule after winning the Merchants Bank 150 at Thunder Road in May

"I hope to get a top-15 finish and learn about the track and the cars. But then again, I could go out and scare the hell out of myself. I'm just looking to have some fun this weekend." --Eric Chase on making his NASCAR Camping World Series East debut at NHMS

"I rememeber coming to the first race here and just looking at this place and thinking this is the cat's ass up here in New England, you know?" --Pete Potvin on the possibility of racing at NHMS

"I'd like to win this race if I have shot, but even if I finish 36th ten laps down I'll be able to say I came here and raced." --Stacy Cahoon on competing in the ACT Invitational at NHMS

---Overheard in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway infield following Friday's Camping World Series East event in September---
Tony Stewart: "Are you ready for next week?"
Joey Polewarczyk: "I'm not running Dover, we don't have the money for that."
Tony Stewart: "No, I know. I meant the Milk Bowl. That's a big deal."

"I want this one bad. Last night I stayed up and watched the last three years' Milk Bowls on DVDs that we have. I watched every part of them. I'm the most focused I've ever been for any race this year." --Joey Polewarczyk

"You watch what they do and try to follow in their footsteps. We just try to improve as we can. To be able to run up there with those guys, it's pretty cool." --Brooks Clark

"I'd like to finish top-ten in points. We'd get a check anyway, and I wouldn't mind a little bit more of ol' T-Bone's money. It spends nice." --Eric Williams, on hoping to win some ACT point fund money; series president Tom Curley's nickname has been "T-Bone" since the 1960s

"I’m Phil Scott -- native Vermonter, graduate of Spaulding High School and the University of Vermont, fisherman and snowmobiler, mechanic and laborer, truck driver and stock car driver, both a cyclist and a biker, father and business owner, State Senator, proud Republican, and as of today, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of Vermont." --The opening line of former Thunder Road, Airborne Speedway, and ACT champion Phil Scott's speech on Dec., 1, 2009, introducing himself as a candidate for the 2010 election

"I'm a huge race fan and I've always wanted to do this." --Bill Jenkins on becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner

"You set goals, and I've never truly achieved any goal that I've ever set, believe it or not." --Jean-Paul Cyr

Dear Fans: THANK YOU!

I woke up this morning, February 3, 2010, thinking, "Why does this date sound like something familiar?"

Birthday? No. Appointment? No. Anniversary? Um, yeah, actually. But whose?

I'll tell you whose: Vermont Motorsports Magazine's!

That's right, one year ago today this little space was launched into the world for all to see. With a business model in place, but no real plan of action other than to take it one day at a time, VMM became the next joiner-upper in the long line of fledgling attempts at auto racing journalism. While we're not sure whether or not we've done a good job, we are still around, and we know that we have at least two or three fans.

Guys, gals, kids, from the bottom of my heart I simply can not thank you all enough.

Everyone has a dream, and being an auto racing writer has been mine since I was eight years old. I used to read the works of Dr. Dick Berggren, Bones Bourcier, Ken Squier, Lew Boyd, Dave Moody, Karl Fredrickson, Joyce Standridge, Pete Zanardi, Don Fillion, Pete Hartt, Mal Boright, Mark Thomas, Tom Herzig, and so many more, and I treated them as gospel. I had my heroes on the race track, of course, but I had so much respect and admiration for the people that got to tell their stories, and I wanted to be one of them.

I started posting on message boards and in chat rooms at about age 13, weaseled my way into a couple of writing jobs at 17, started working for the Amercian-Canadian Tour -- which, in my own opinion, biased or unbiased, is the most professional sanctioning body in short track racing -- at age 20, and eventually decided in the interest of my long-term goals and for the future of my family, to branch out on my own at 25, and I landed here.

It's been a weird ride, but it's one I would take over and over again, exactly the same way. I've been so fortunate to have met and worked with not only my racing heroes, but many of my writing heroes as well. I've seen some outstanding races (and some real clunkers), I've met an amazing number of wonderful people, I've told stories, I've shared opinions that have made people laugh, cry, get mad, or change their own opinion, I've been invited to report for television and radio, and, although I've heard that it's a no-no in the journalism business, I've made a lot of very good, close, trusted friends.

Well, I wasn't raised to not make friends with people, so too bad.

I know I did this in "The Juice" back in October, but I again want to thank all of the promoters and staff of the tracks in the area that have allowed me to work at their events and treated me so well, the drivers, crews, sponsors, and families of the hundreds of race teams I've covered, the advertisers that have believed in and supported Vermont Motorsports Magazine (RPM Racing Engines, Subway, Burnett Scrap Metals, C&S Screenprinting, and "Fifty Years of Excitement"), my own family and friends, and, of course, YOU! There would be no reason to do this if it wasn't supported, and it's all thanks to, as of this morning, all 83,000+ of you.

As a means of looking back on our first complete year, we have compiled our favorite quotes collected throughout the year and will be posting them periodically today. The quotes have been divided into six themes: Goals, Guts, Losing, Winning, Change, and The Love of the Game. As far as we're concerned, those six things are what racing is all about, and we've heard all about them from some of the best in the business.

There are a lot of big plans in store for VMM in 2010, including expansion from this little Blogger page into a full website, so stay tuned, and thanks again for the continued support of this project. Everyone has a dream, and Vermont Motorsports Magazine is mine. Because of you, I'm getting to live it.

--Justin St. Louis, Vermont Motorsports Magazine

Monday, February 1, 2010

Leighton, North Tame PASS in Florida

St. Johnsbury teen Legendre sixth

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- Brad Leighton led a strong contingent of northern drivers to win the inaugural PASS Winterfest 150 at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday afternoon in his debut performance with Maine-based Richard Moody Racing. For Leighton, of Center Harbor, N.H., it was his first PASS victory and his first win in a Super Late Model car since 1995. The Winterfest 150 was the opening round of the five-race 2010 PASS National Championship.

The race was hotly contested, with Leighton, Johnny Clark, Ben Rowe, Preston Peltier, Sam Watts, and Jeff Choquette each leading laps. Rowe was eliminated from contention following two wrecks just past lap 100, and Leighton recovered from a flat tire with just 25 laps remaining to take the lead from Clark and speed to the win.

Following Leighton across the finish line were Clark, of Hallowell, Me., Floridians Watts and Choquette, and Canadian Lonnie Sommerville of New Brunswick. Seventeen year-old Steven Legendre of St. Johnsbury finished sixth after starting 20th in the 22-car field. The top-10 was completed by North Carolina racers Peltier and Jay Fogleman, Jared Foley of Kentucky, and Florida's Kyle Maynard.

PASS National Championship -- New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Sunday, January 31, 2010


1. Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, N.H.
2. Johnny Clark, Hallowell, Me.
3. Sam Watts, Winter Springs, Fla.
4. Jeff Choquette, Loxahatchee, Fla.
5. Lonnie Sommerville, St. John, N.B.
6. Steven Legendre, St. Johnsbury
7. Preston Peltier, Harrisburg, N.C.
8. Jay Fogleman, Durham, N.C.
9. Jared Foley, Williamsburg, Ky.
10. Kyle Maynard, Weirsdale, Fla.
11. Kevin Ingram, Auburndale, Fla.
12. Dale Brackett, Strong, Me.
13. Justin Larson, Clearwater, Fla.
14. Ben Rowe, Turner, Me.
15. Tim Russell, Apopka, Fla.
16. Devin Jones, Mooresville, N.C.
17. Joey Gase, Cedar Rapids, Ia.
18. Steve Nasse, Pinellas Park, Fla.
19. Brandon Ward, Winston-Salem, N.C.
20. Eddie Gainey, Fort White, Fla.
21. Mario Gosselin, Lake Wales, Fla.
22. Clay Jones, Goldsboro, N.C.

(PHOTOS: 1. (L-R) 3rd-place Sam Watts, winner Brad Leighton, runner-up Johnny Clark; 2. A mid-race restart with Clark (#54), Preston Peltier (#26), Jeff Choquette (#33), and Leighton (#55) up front. Photo 1 by Norm Marx/PASS, Photo 2 by Dave Parker for VMM)