CYR THE UN-SURPRISE ACT WINNER AT WHITE MOUNTAIN by Justin St. Louis
Defending Champ Was a Favorite Going in and Did Not Disappoint
Jean-Paul Cyr has won four American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model championships, including each of the last two. Cyr has won three times on New Hampshire soil, including the last two June events at North Woodstock's White Mountain Motorsports Park. He has been among the fastest drivers in every ACT outing this season. Therefore, it was an easy bet that his Chevrolet would be among the favorites to win Saturday's 100 lap race at the Granite State oval.
The Champion did not disappoint.
never looked back, running virtually uncontested for the remainder of the event, despite several restarts.
Rookie Scott Payea drove through the field from his 15th starting spot and took the runner-up spot. In three starts on the ACT Late Model Tour, Payea's worst finish is fourth. Brent Dragon held on for third over Merrimac, MA driver A.J. Begin and Roger Brown.
As dominant as he was, Cyr admitted that he had more car than what he showed. "I wanted to go," he chuckled. "But Ricky (crew chief Rick Paya) kept telling me over the radio 'Leave me something, leave me something'. The car was great, and it has been all year, this is really just the first night we got to show it."
Cyr was the leader late in the going at Lee USA Speedway's Seacoast Late Model Challenge 100 last month before spinning with 20 laps to go. At Thunder Road the next week, his #32 car was flying through the field when a hub broke, then the following event at Oxford Plains was postponed due to rain.
"Lee really bummed me out, I thought I had that in the bag. Thunder Road was good and we broke. We were unbeatable during practice at Oxford, I have no doubt we could have won that race. Now, we finally got out front and pulled one off, this is great."
Cyr doesn't plan on letting up, either.
The #32 was a threat before the race at White Mountain... (Justin St. Louis Photo)
...And Jean Paul Cyr didn't disappoint by winning the 100 lapper.
Cyr ran many fast laps in the day's early practice sessions, using the outside groove as often as the inside. The strategy worked, as he rode the slippery high side from fourth to second in his heat race, earning a "+2" rating in ACT's new "plus/minus" handicap system. As the numbers were tallied after qualifying rounds, Cyr's +2 was good enough to start him fourth in the 100-lap feature event.
Young B.J. Piekarski earned the pole with a +5, and led the first 19 circuits before slipping up and allowing Merchants Bank 150 winner Dave Pembroke to drive underneath him for the lead on lap 20. "Rocket" Roger Brown and Cyr followed Pembroke through, and Cyr took the lead from Pembroke in similar fashion on lap 30. He
"I can't wait for Canaan in a couple weeks," Cyr said. "We're going to run a new setup there, something like a mix between Oxford and here. I've been thinking about it a lot, and we've spent a lot of time on it. I'm ready."
For the rest of the ACT Late Model Tour, that's probably not a good thing.