-by Justin St. Louis
Hey, the rain can't stop us all year, right? The weekend forecast looks pretty good, and two of Vermont's three tracks will get up and running on Saturday.
We're headed down Routes 7 and 22A to West Haven to take in the first asphalt practice session at Devil's Bowl Speedway in nearly 40 years early Saturday afternoon, then over Route 4 and up I-91 to Bradford for the Bear Ridge Speedway season opener.
If that wasn't enough, we're getting up bright and early Sunday morning to head wicked east to Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine for the American-Canadian Tour show.
Ayuh. (Or "Yessah" for you Mainers.)
There's short track racing everywhere, now that spring is actually here. Where are you headed?
Sunday's WJAB 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway will be the 200th championship event for the present-day ACT Late Model Tour.
With its deepest roots planted at Barre's Thunder Road, the series has ushered in several changes revolutionary to the short track world including "spec" crate engines, tires and shocks, and the first-ever trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway last fall. The series has gone through a few name changes, scheduling formats, rulebooks, and occasionally a cast or two of characters, but it is, for all intents and purposes, the same old Tour.
I'm a self-admitted stats junkie and have been looking for some sort of outlet lately, so without further ado, here's a look at the history of the ACT Late Model Tour by the numbers...
0 -- The number of wins for ACT Late Model Tour champions Phil Scott in 2002 and Jean-Paul Cyr in 2007.
0 -- Cautions in the Time Warner Cable 100 at Oxford Plains Speedway, the only caution-free race in ACT history. Eddie MacDonald scored his first ACT win in the race.
1 -- As in, the first race. Warren, Vt.'s Norm Andrews, a multi-time Thunder Road track champion in the 1970s and '80s, won the first-ever "ACT Late Model Sportsman International Series" event, a 25-lap race at the 9/10-mile Sanair Super Speedway tri-oval in St-Pie, Que., on April 26, 1992.
1 -- The number of Canadian drivers to win the ACT Late Model Tour championship -- Patrick Laperle, 2008.
1 -- In points, the margin of victory for Laperle over runner-up Scott Payea in 2008, the narrowest championship margin in history.
1 -- The number of ACT races Maine's Ryan Moore won in 2001... a year before he won the ACT Rookie of the Year title.
2 -- Norm Andrews' winning car number in the first event at Sanair.
2 hours, 42 minutes, 8 seconds -- The amount of time it took Ben Rowe to win the 2006 "Mega Classique" at Sanair Super Speedway, the longest race of record in series history.
3 -- Drivers to win in their first career ACT start: Norm Andrews (Sanair, 1992 -- ACT's first race), Ryan Moore (Oxford, 2001), D.J. Kennington (Lee USA, 2004).
3 -- Consecutive wins for Gary Caron in 1995 and Ben Rowe in 2006, the ACT Late Model Tour record for victory streaks. Interestingly, neither driver had ever won an ACT race prior to their threepeats.
3 -- The car number of the first last-place finisher, Jimmy Young, who was 26th with a transmission failure at Sanair. Young would make one more Late Model start in his first rookie attempt before going back to the Tiger Sportsman division and dominating for most of the decade. Young would return as an ACT rookie in 1999, finishing third -- where else? -- in his first start at Thunder Road.
4 -- The number of top-five finishes Scott Payea turned in during the first four races of his ACT career in 2005.
4 -- Races that have won by a last-lap pass for the lead. Jim Cilley beat Kevin Lepage at Thunder Road on August 26, 1993; Dave Whitcomb won in a famous three-wide photo finish at Airborne Speedway over Ron Weston on Sept. 22, 1996; Tracie Bellerose beat Phil Scott in a controversial finish at Thunder Road on Sept. 1, 2001 that resulted in suspensions for driver Joey Laquerre and ACT president Tom Curley; and Brent Dragon assumed the lead at Airborne on May 8, 2004 when Laquerre pit out of the lead under caution, one lap before rains cancelled the final 34 laps of the race. For Cilley, Whitcomb, and Dragon, the final lap was the only lap each driver led en route to his respective win.
4 -- Consecutive championships for Brian Hoar, 1997 to 2000.
5 -- Consecutive championships for Jean-Paul Cyr, 2003 to 2007, an all-time ACT record.
5 -- The number of events run in two-part "segments" in the 1992 season, out of eight total races.
6 -- The number of events held in 1994, the shortest schedule to date.
6 -- Career championships for Brian Hoar (first was in 1993).
7 -- Career championships for Jean-Paul Cyr (others in 1994 and 1996).
8 -- The number of car numbers to win the ACT Late Model Tour championship. They are: 14 (Phil Scott, 2002), 25 (Dave Whitcomb, 1992), 31 (Lance Ferno, 1995), 32 (Jean-Paul Cyr, 1994, 1996 and 2003-07), 37 (Brian Hoar, 2009), 45 (Brian Hoar, 1993 and 1997-2000), 75 (Pete Fecteau, 2001), and 91 (Patrick Laperle, 2008).
10 -- Combined top-five finishes by rookies Jamie Fisher, Scott Dragon, and Jimmy Young in 1999.
12 -- The number of different drivers to win in 2004, an ACT record. Six were first-time winners.
14 -- Drivers whose first career top-five ACT finish was a victory. They are: Norm Andrews in 1992, Pat Corbett in 1993, Kip Stockwell, Pete Fecteau and Billy Holbrook in 1996, Chris Fisher in 1998, rookie Jamie Fisher in 1999, Ryan Moore in 2001, Jacob McGrath in 2002, Joey Becker, Shawn Martin, Dale Shaw and D.J. Kennington in 2004, and Eddie MacDonald in 2007.
16 -- The number of events held in both 2002 and 2003, the longest schedules to date.
16 -- The number of events run at a distance of less than 100 laps.
16 -- The record for the ACT Late Model Tour's smallest starting field. It has happened twice, at Riverside Speedway (Ste-Croix, Que.) in 1992 and Sanair Super Speedway in 1993.
17 -- The number of times a driver has led every lap of an ACT Late Model Tour race. Norm Andrews led all 25 laps of the first-ever ACT event in 1992 for his only victory, and Pat Corbett did so in two of his three career wins. Jean-Paul Cyr has done it a record three times. Joey Laquerre and Cyr did it in back-to-back races at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., and Thunder Road in August 2002.
18 -- The record number of cautions in the "Massacre at Ste-Croix" at Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix, Que., on June 29, 2002. The mark was equalled at Autodrome St-Eustache on July 28, 2007.
18 -- The number of ACT Late Model Tour events held at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., since 1998.
19 -- The record for lead changes in a single event. It has happened twice -- the 2004 Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic at Thunder Road and the 2009 Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Fall Foliage 300 at Airborne Speedway.
19 -- Jean-Paul Cyr's career win total, second all-time.
20 -- The number of ACT Late Model Tour events held at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Me., since 1995.
21 -- The age of champion Brian Hoar in 1993, the youngest of any ACT Late Model Tour champion.
23 -- The number of drivers with just a single ACT Late Model Tour win.
25 -- Brian Hoar's career win total, tops all-time.
25th race -- The Coca-Cola 100 on July 3, 1995 at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., won by Gary Caron.
26 minutes, 30 seconds -- The amount of time it took Jean-Paul Cyr to win the 2002 Labor Day Classic 100 at Thunder Road, the quickest race of record in series history.
35 -- The number of drivers with multiple ACT Late Model Tour wins.
35 -- Brian Hoar's winning percentage through the first three seasons of the ACT Late Model Tour, 1992-94 (7 wins in 20 races).
36 -- The number of ACT Late Model Tour events held at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., second-most of any track on the circuit.
43 -- The largest starting field in ACT Late Model Tour history, at Sanair Super Speedway in 2006.
50th race -- The Fleur-de-Lys Classic on August 16, 1998 at Sanair Super Speedway in St-Pie, Que., won by Joey Laquerre.
51 -- The age of champion Pete Fecteau in 2001, the oldest of any ACT Late Model Tour champion.
57 -- The number of ACT Late Model Tour events held at Thunder Road in Barre, the most of any track on the circuit.
58 -- Different drivers to have won at least one ACT Late Model Tour event.
66 -- The number of laps run in the Spring Green at Airborne on May 8, 2004. It is the only ACT Late Model Tour race to date that has been cut short of its advertised distance (the race was scheduled to go 100 laps). Joey Laquerre pitted out of the lead under caution with a vibration on lap 65, only to have the rains come one lap later. Brent Dragon inhertied the lead and took the win. Laquerre finished 15th.
75th race -- The Currier Auto Group 100 on August 24, 2000 at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., won by Phil Scott.
100th race -- The Subway 100 on June 23, 2002 at Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H., won by Kenny Dufour.
125th race -- The New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl on October 5, 2003 at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., won by Eric Williams.
150th race -- The Merchants Bank 150 on April 30, 2006 at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., won by Jean-Paul Cyr.
175 -- Career starts for Brent Dragon, most all-time.
175th race -- The New England Dodge Dealers 150 on April 26, 2008 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Me., won by Ricky Rolfe.
184 -- In points, the margin of victory for Brian Hoar over runner-up Chuck Beede in 1999, the widest championship margin in history.
199th race -- The Merchants Bank 150 on May 2, 2010 at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., won by Nick Sweet.
200th race -- The WJAB 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Me., to be run on Sunday at 2:00pm.
300 -- Laps run in the Fall Foliage 300 at Airborne Speedway last September, the longest-distance ACT race in history.
24,182 -- Laps completed by the ACT Late Model Tour since 1992.
AROUND THE REGION:
Time to take a look at the top Vermonters from the past weekend...
Big Daddy's Speedway (Rumney, N.H.): Louie Cadwell of Vershire was the runner-up in the inaugural Sportsman Modified feature at Big Daddy's Speedbowl on Sunday, with Hartland's Ed Tobin fifth. Josh Sunn of White River Junction won the Mini Stock feature.
Canaan Dirt Speedway (Canaan, N.H.): Rookie Dan Eastman of Thetford Center was sixth in the Sportsman Modifed opener on Friday, with Hartland's Ed Tobin ninth. Josh Sunn of White River Junction was fifth in the Mini Stocks. Dakota Stender of Tunbridge won the Bandit feature with Mike Stender of South Strafford fifth.
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Shelburne's Kevin Lepage was 38th at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Friday night.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: David Stremme finished 24th at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday night for Vermont-based Latitude 43 Motorsports.
PASS South Super Late Models: Steven Legendre of Danville finished 19th in Friday's event at Wake County Speedway in Raleigh, N.C.
Twin State Speedway (Claremont, N.H.): Dallas Trombley of Rutland finished 13th in the Late Model feature on Friday night, while Robert Hagar of Windsor was tenth in the Modified event. Russ Davis of Cavendish won the Super Street feature over Chris Wilk of Mendon, with Mt. Holly's Kayla Bryant fifth. Pittsford's Kyle Davis won the Strictly Stock feature over Jacksonville's Kaitlin Stone and David Greenslit of Waitsfield.
Friday, May 14
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, N.Y. -- 6:45pm (Regular Event)
Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 7:00pm (SCoNE 360 Sprint Cars)
Twin State Speedway, Claremont, N.H. -- 7:30pm (Regular Event)
Saturday, May 15
Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, N.Y. -- 5:00pm (Regular Event)
Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford -- 10:00am (Car Show @ Jiffy Mart), 6:00pm (Season Opener - Double Features)
Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Season Opener)
Devil's Bowl Speedway, West Haven -- 1:00pm (Open Practice)
Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. -- 6:00pm (Regular Event)
Sunday, May 16
Big Daddy's Speedbowl, Rumney, N.H. -- 4:00pm (Regular Event)
Riverside Speedway, Groveton, N.H. -- 1:00pm (Season Opener)
ACT Late Model Tour: Sun., May 16 -- Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Me. (2:00pm)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Fri., May 14 -- Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover, Del. (SPEED/8:00pm - Tape Delay)
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sat., May 15 -- Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover, Del. (ABC/1:00pm)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sun., May 16 -- Dover Int'l Speedway, Dover, Del. (FOX/7:30pm)
Sprint Cars of New England: Fri., May 14 -- Canaan Dirt Speedway, Canaan, N.H. (7:00pm)