BEN ROWE BESTS ALL-STAR LINEUP IN SANAIR ACT RETURN
Drivers From Seven States and Two Canadian Provinces Compete in Quebec
Turner, Maine’s Ben Rowe scored big Sunday in his first trip to Quebec’s Sanair Super Speedway, St. Pie, Quebec by claiming the American-Canadian Tour’s (ACT) $10,000 to win Late Model stock car Mega Classique. The event, the first of three in the ACTion Super Series this year, was contested in a unique three-segment format where drivers earn points based on their finishes in three 50-lap races.
points. Nolin’s 15 points placed him in third. To start the third and final 50 lapper, Laperle, Rowe and Nolin would all have to come from the back once again.
Dennis Botticello from Suffield, CT started on the pole and led much of the race. He dueled back and forth with Theetge and Cyr, who had made repairs to his car in time for the third segment. Laperle knew that to win the $10,000 Mega Classique he had to keep Rowe within a couple of positions. Conversely, Rowe knew he had to finish a minimum of three spots ahead of Laperle to take the money back to the Pine Tree State. Rowe and Laperle sliced through the field as one with Rowe unable to gain the distance between himself and Laperle that he needed for victory
Drivers representing all six New England states, New York and two Canadian provinces participated in the event; the first to combine the U.S. based ACT and Quebec’s Serie Castrol. The enticement of big money, a huge car count and many of the regional top drivers caused brought the fans turned out in droves to witness the biggest Late Model stock car car race in the history of Quebec stock car racing.
Rowe posted the lowest cumulative score (12) for the $10,000 top prize. Ryan Nolin from Georgia, VT was second with 22 points and Montpelier, Vermont’s Dave Pembroke was third with 24. Rounding out the top five were Donald Theetge from Boischatel, Qc (30 points) and
Ben Rowe cuts some Canadian doughnuts after his victory at Sanair. (Leif Tillotson Photos)
Patrick Laperle of St. Denis, Qc (31). Forty-three of the 64 cars that attempted to qualify started the event at the 7/8ths mile tri-oval.
Laperle handily won the first segment from his pole starting position to earn one point and lead the event heading into the second portion. Five-time and defending ACT Tour Champion, Jean-Paul Cyr from Milton, VT was second to Laperle to earn two points. Scott Dragon, Theetge and Rowe completed the top five in the first segment.
To start the second segment, the finish of the first 50-lapper was inverted which meant that Laperle had to come from the 43rd post position. Laperle began his march from the back of the pack at the drop of the green flag hoping to score his second consecutive ACTion Super Series victory. The veteran Quebec racer won last October’s New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, VT. In that event he also scored a pay day of more than $10,000.
A horrific crash exiting Sanair’s back stretch dogleg on the 15th circuit eliminated many top contenders including Cyr as well as fellow Vermont racers, Phil Scott, Brent Dragon, and Scott Dragon. Top Quebec competitors Mike Lavoie and Marc Cliché were also involved. No one was injured in the multi-car pileup.
Andre Beaudoin from St Augustine, Qc won the second segment with Rowe and Laperle on his bumper. Outside polesitter Allard was fourth and Nolin completed the top five. Laperle’s combined score of four points put him in the lead following two segments with Rowe in second with seven
Rowe in victory lane.
That was, until the 37th circuit when Laperle’s car sputtered as it crossed the start/finish line, the victim of an apparent ignition failure. He was able to pit for repairs, but lost several laps to the field. Rowe went on to finish 5th which earned him the lowest total score and the $10,000.
Eventual runner-up Nolin had one of the most impressive runs of the day. The sophomore racer spun on the second lap in the third turn of the final segment. He quickly spun his car around and set off at a breakneck pace to try and catch the field. A caution on the 17th lap for a first turn spin allowed Nolin to close ranks. He
fought his way to a seventh place finish which secured the runner-up spot for him.
Rounding out the top ten positions in the Mega Classique were Claude Leclerc from Lavaltrie, Qc in sixth (34 points), Jean-Paul Cyr recovered for seventh (37), Farmingdale, Maine’s Johnny Clark (38), Robbie Thomson from Fergus, ONT (38) and Alexandre Gingras of St Lambert, Qc (40).
The ACT Tour competitors have their next race event on Tuesday, July 18 with the completion of Re/Max100 at New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway. Post time is 6:00 pm.