Currently, Rowe leads the PASS South standings and sits second to Scott Chubbuck in PASS North points.

CUSHMAN TEAM HEADS NORTH

The #29 Cushman Competition team with driver Scott Chubbuck will take advantage of an off-weekend for the PASS North Super Late Models by heading north of the border to compete in the Coast Tire Best of the Best Pro Stock 100 at New Brunswick International Speedway on Saturday night.

RACING WITH AN AUDIENCE

On any night at the track, children are awed by the sights of sounds of racecars - especially when those cars are the thunderous Modifieds of the True Value Modified Racing Series.  This Friday evening at Lee USA Speedway (NH), things are a little more special than usual though as 40 family members of children in the Make-A-Wish Foundation will be guests of the track on hand to receive the full red carpet treatment for the All Star 100.

parted ways with the Dennwood Builders team which joined before the start of the 2006 season.  Drew, who won the 2001 TD Banknorth 250, is now looking for a ride for that event later in the month.

PASS OUTLAW RACE WORTH THE WAIT FOR RANSTROM

It finally happened. The first PASS Outlaw Late Model Central Division 100 is in the books. It took three attempts to get the race in at Canaan Fair Motorsports Complex, Canaan, NH, but it was worth the wait for several drivers.

A great field of 29 cars attempted to qualify through three heats and a consi for the 25 starting spots in the 100 green-flag lap race prior to the big Celebrate America Fireworks show. The local racers showed the way with Walt Hammond of Canaan and Donnie Lashua of Enfield, NH taking the first two heats and the front row for the 100 lapper. In row two it was the winner of the third heat and 2005 Canaan Pro-Stock champion Zig Geno of Canterbury, NH and Brunswick, ME driver Chris Staples in the #5. Canaan regulars Chris Curtis of Rutland, MA and Brian Henry of Lebanon, NH made up the third row. The consi went to Jimmy Rosenfield of Middleboro, MA.
A pair of cautions, just after the half-way mark, tightened up the field and gave freshman runner Bailey a shot at veteran Laquerre.  Bailey tried valiantly but was not able to maintain momentum in the high groove after his tires had cooled down.  Becker, who snuck underneath the first year racer for second place was followed by Scott.  Scott, who is also a former Thunder Road Late Model champion, switched lanes and claimed the runner-up spot with a pass in the high groove.

With five laps remaining, Williams, who had started eighth, made his move and powered past Bailey for fourth.  When the checkers flew, Williams was closing on the lead pack.

Completing the top ten were John Donahue in sixth, Jamie Fisher, Cris Michaud, Chad Wheeler and Dennis Demers.  Unofficially, Demers maintains his point lead, although his advantage has been narrowed by Wheeler to just five.  Becker is third, two behind Wheeler.

Thunder Road is back in action next Thursday with the 20th annual New England Dodge Dealers VT Governor’s Cup.  The 100 lap main event has a special entrant in Nextel Cup star, Kenny Schrader of Fenton, MO.  The veteran racer will be making his second appearance at Thunder Road.  After running to a ninth place finish in last year’s 50 lapper Schrader vowed to return if he could have more laps.

Joe Becker, the third place finisher in Thursday’s Charter/CMT 50 commented about racing with such a storied competitor, “Last year I got behind Schrader and gave him a shot (in the bumper).  I don’t owe him anything but he sure owes me!”
ROWE DOES IT AGAIN

After finishing seventh in Saturday night’s Pro All Stars Series North event at Oxford Plains Speedway, Mike Rowe’s SP2 Motorsports team packed up their equipment, made a quick pit stop at their Southern Maine race shop and then braved holiday traffic to head south for the Fourth of July weekend.  Their destination?  Hudson, North Carolina’s Tri County Motor Speedway.

The team was rewarded for their hard work and travel when Rowe drove the #24 Boot Hill Saloon Super Late Model to victory in the PASS South event at Tri County.  Rowe’s commanding victory in the race was his second of the PASS South season.
51's NORTHERN EXPOSURE Compiled by Mike Twist
Races All Over the Map, Winners from 15 to (Almost) 63 and Much More
Phil Scott, who started 11th, was second, while Joe Becker was a close third.  Completing the top five were Hyde Park’s Eric Williams and So Barre’s Mike Bailey.

From the outset, Laquerre set a blistering pace and left the battle for position to the rest of the field.  David Chagnon of Colchester, clearly one of the most improved Late Model drivers in competition this year, held on for the runner-up spot early but was bested by Pete Fecteau from Morrisville.  Fecteau, a former track champion set off after Laquerre.  Rookie contender, Bailey, had other plans for Fecteau and passed the veteran using the outside groove to move in to second.  Fecteau’s Pontiac eventually faded toward the rear of the pack.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  HERE’S YOUR TROPHY

Late Model stock car driver, Joey Laquerre gave himself an early birthday present Thursday by winning the Charter Communication/CMT 50 at Barre’s Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl.  Laquerre, who has the distinction of winning a feature race at the high banked quarter-mile oval in each of five decades, will turn 63 in four days.  He dominated the race from his pole starting position.
Mike Rowe's Boot Hill Saloon #24 is the only car that has won twice so far in PASS South.  (Norm Marx Photo)

On Monday night, Drew stopped evoking everyone's sympathy and reminded a packed house at Oxford Plains Speedway that he's one of the best In the local short track racing business.

Drew led from wire-to-wire for a 50-lap Oxford Networks Pro Stock triumph on Maine State Lottery Fireworks Night. Prior to his runaway win, Drew had led more than 120 laps around the 3/8-mile oval this season without even finishing a race.

Al Hammond and Scott Robbins completed the top three in the Pro Stock encounter, which immediately preceded a giant fireworks display presented by Central Maine Pyrotechnics.

After the race, Drew’s fortunes changed again.  Within 48 hours of the checkered flag, he announced that he had
Joey Laquerre celebrates his 63rd birthday week in style.  (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Gary Drew wins at Oxford - two days before parting ways with his car owner.  (Trudy Marshall Photo)
Both the drivers of the True Value Modified Racing Series and Lee's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series will be meeting the families and signing autographs.  A number of teams have also donated items ranging from t-shirts to other racing goodies to give to the children.  Dinner will be provided by Domino's and the children will also help to flag the TVMRS heat races.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

The All Star 100 at Lee USA Speedway will consist of heat races, a consolation event and a 100 green flag lap feature race.  Lee's regular divisions will also be in action.
The racing is scheduled to start at 6:30pm on Friday night.

DREW WINS, LEAVES RIDE, ALL WITHIN TWO DAY SPAN

Everything ghoulish that could have gone wrong for Gary Drew in the first two months of the racing season, did.  There's something about the Fourth of July weekend that brings out the best in Drew, however.
Lashua and Hammond traded the lead over the first few laps, and then things settled down as Hammond took the lead and ticked off 18 laps until the 37 of “Pistol Pete” Fraser  of Nottingham, NH got helped up into the marbles in turn one, taking Mike Fowler of Scarborough, ME in the # 66X with him.

A series of yellows over the next ten laps claimed the #99 of Marc Belanger of Whitefield, NH, who took a wild ride off turn two, the #4X of Peter Jarvis of Ascutney, VT, and the #04 of Joey Porciello of Lee. NH.

On lap 36, Geno moved to second past Lashua, with Staples fourth, Curtis fifth, Fowler back to sixth, Mark Patten of Belmont, NH in the #07 seventh, and Jimmy Renfrew of Candia, NH in David Joyce’s #55 eighth.

At the halfway mark, Mike Harnish of Skowhegan, ME in the #22 tangled with young Kraig Coffin of Uxbridge, MA in the #3, sending both to the pits. It was still Hammond and
Geno battling for the lead, but on the restart Geno broke and Lashua took second. A lap later, Fowler took second from Lashua, with Curtis and Staples in behind. Over the next several laps, Fowler and Lashua traded place as Hammond pulled away to a three car-length lead.

On lap 74, Henry in the #20 checked up in turn four and got booted to the infield. On the restart, it was still Hammond, but some experienced faces were asserting themselves into the top ten.  Rosenfield was up to fourth, Renfrew to sixth, Dale Shaw in the #60 seventh, and the #35 of Derek Ramstrom of W. Boylston, MA patiently up to eighth from his 18th-place starting spot.

On lap 82, Geno spun off turn one after returning from the pits and the yellow flew again. On the restart, the fireworks really started as Hammond and Fowler banged together off turn two and the top seven cars were all involved. Staples limped to the pits along with Shaw who had the entire driver’s side door peeled off, Renfrew, and Curtis. Rosenfield and Hammond, who both went off on the hook, were done for the night. Fowler escaped the carnage and rejoined the field at the back of the pack. The veteran Patten and the rookie Ramstrom scooted through the mess along with Mike Thomas of Lewiston, ME in the #25 and Dillion Moltz of Waterford, CT in the #94

While under caution, Staple, Geno, and Renfrew rejoined the field, and Patten went to pits and was done for the night. With 18 laps to go it was Derek Ramstrom leading the field to the green. Ramstrom had to survive two more restarts and challenges by Fowler, Staples, and Thomas, but the kid had what it took to hold them off as he took the checkers for his first win in an Outlaw Late Model car.

It was not a real surprise to some observers to see the 15 year-old holding the checkers in Victory Lane. He has been racing in Quarter Midgets since he was six and last year was a winner in the Allison Legacy Series. So far in 2006, he has a fourth, a third, and second in his last three races, including a fourth at Unity on June 18th in a PASS Outlaw Late Model Series Northern Division race following a ninth at Bangor’s Speedway 95 after he was running fourth with one to go and suffered a mechanical failure. In four PASS Outlaw Late Model races he has finished out of the top ten only once, and that was 11th at Unity in April in his first visit to “Maine’s Toughest Oval.”

In weekly series PASS Outlaw Late Model races at Canaan, he has a second and an eighth in the two races that have been run so far in a rain-soaked season.

While it was raining everywhere in New England on June 9th, Derek took two exams in high school on that Friday morning and then jumped into the hauler with his dad and crew and drove to Florence, SC to attempt to qualify for the PASS Super Late Model South Series race the next day at Florence Motor Speedway. Derek made the show, but got caught up in someone else’s wreck. The win Sunday, his performance so far in 2006, and this kind of drive and determination to learn and to get seat time against the best shows that this kid’s a racer.

CURTIS WINS THUNDER ROAD THRILLER

Thunder Road’s faithful have a new Late Model driver to cheer for following Monday’s Pepsi Firecracker 50 at the Barre speedplant.  Twenty-two year Marc Curtis from Worcester, MA earned the admiration of the packed house as he repeatedly held off a pair of veterans, Dennis Demers from Shelburne, and Hyde Park’s Eric Williams en route to posting his first career win at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval.  Demers’ runner-up finish unofficially moves him atop the season-long Late Model point standings.  Williams was third, Joe Becker from Jeffersonville and Morrisville’s Pete Fecteau completed the top five.
Curtis was understandably emotional during the victory lane interview, “Thunder Road’s the best, it has the best fans, and it’s worth the 200 miles that I travel each week.  Trust me, there’s no better place to race.  Dennis and Pete (Fecteau) gave me a great run; it was a lot of fun.”

During qualifying, Curtis showed that he was a force to be reckoned with when he won the second heat by holding off two-time and defending champion, Cris Michaud.  The victory put him in the bonus purse and point Semi-Feature where he took on several veterans.  Fecteau, also a former Thunder Road “King of the Road”, and Curtis ran neck and neck early in the 15-lap race before Michaud moved in.  The former champions took the youngster to school but the Kid learned his lessons well.

In a repeat of last Thursday’s Sanel Parts Plus 50, Fecteau and David Chagnon set the early pace.  Fecteau moved into the lead with fourth place starter Curtis in pursuit.  By the sixth circuit, Curtis was challenging for the lead using the upper groove.  On the 19th lap, the Bay State resident was along side Fecteau.  The pair swapped the lead back and forth at the stripe several times until the event’s lone caution for a front stretch crash involving Cal Poulin and Brett Wheeler slowed the pace.  Neither driver was injured.
Cyr, Scott, Whitcomb, Lacombe and Mike Rowe have all previously raced at the Sanair tri-oval. Neither Clark nor Ben Rowe has raced at the unique St. Pie race track before, but to their credit, the young guns have multiple event wins across New England as well as skills at the wheel of a race car that belie their age. Earlier this year, Lacombe finished second in the ACT event at Quebec’s high banked, 5/8ths mile Circuit Ste-Croix. A top finish by the veteran racer will help him in his quest to repeat as Series champion.
Another racer to keep an eye on is the ageless Claude Leclerc. At 60+, Leclerc will be one of the mostexperienced drivers in competition at the Sanair tri-oval this weekend. In addition to his thousands of miles at the wheel of a stock car at dozens of tracks over the year, Leclerc, a multi-time STP Canadian Challenge Champion, is a former winner at the Sanair tri-oval.

Other champions who’ve filed an entry for Sunday’s Mega Classique include Patrick Laperle from nearby St Denis, Qc as well as a pair of Airborne Raceway Late Model Champion, second generation racer, Brent Dragon from Milton, VT and Mooers Forks, NY driver, Mark Lamberton. Also, 35 year-old Derek Lynch will lead a contingent of Ontario drivers to Sanair for the first time in several years.

Laperle, a 30 year-old hot shoe, captured ACT’s 2005 New England Dodge Dealers Milk Bowl title in the event’s 43rd edition as well as the Furniture World of VT Fall Foliage 150 the week before. More recently, Laperle, who is a former Late Model Rookie of the Year at Airborne Raceway, Plattsburgh, NY, won the PASS race at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on July 1.

Dragon, a three-time title holder at the Plattsburgh, NY half-mile loves the longer tracks. He has participated in four of the five ACT Late Model races held at Sanair and has earned a finish average of 8.5 which includes three top five efforts. The son of two-time ACT Champion (1979-1980), Harmon “Beaver” Dragon, who virtually ruled the Sanair tri-oval during his hey-day, would like nothing better than to score a $10,000 win.

Lamberton has been to Sanair twice in his lengthy racing career. Once as an ACT Sportsman driver, the other time, in 1998, at the wheel of a Late Model. The former Airborne Late Model champion must’ve found the track to his liking as he finished second to winner Joey Laquerre in his rookie season.

Lynch, a former winner of the prestigious Oxford 250, one of the Northeast’s most historic short track races, returns to Sanair for the first time at the wheel of a Late Model. The veteran competitor from Warkworth, ON, has several starts at the 7/8th miler during his previous stint with ACT in the 1990s. Lynch sees the ACT Late Model as a car for the times with its affordable GM “crate” engine, spec Koni shock absorbers and Goodyear Eagle racing tires.

Several past and present ACT Tour Rookies of the Year also look to make their marks at Sanair this weekend including 2005’s Scott Payea from Milton, VT, New Hampshire’s Roger Brown (2003), and Shelburne, Vermont’s Jamie Fisher (1999). Fisher also won the 2003 Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (Barre, VT) Late Model crown. None of the three have raced at the Canadian super speedway.

Additionally, Dennis Botticello, a multi-time track champion from southern New England is looking forward to seeing the track he’s heard so much about, “I know that Sanair’s a big track,” he stated. “We get around Thompson (CT) Speedway pretty well and that's the fastest short track (5/8ths
of a mile) in New England. The only thing that I want to check at Sanair is the banking. We have enough experience to set my car up once I know that,” he remarked.

This weekend’s Mega Classique will bring together the competitors from the Vermont-based ACT Late Model Tour and Quebec’s Série Castrol as well as a host of outlaw racers from across Canada and the northeastern United States. Qualifying, through heat races, is set to begin Saturday (July 8) around 3:00 pm. Sunday’s activities start with practice which will be followed by a Last Chance “B” Feature at 12 noon. The first of the three 50-lap segments comprising the Mega Classique is set for 1:30 pm.




Curtis, who had nosed ahead on the lap before the caution, lined up in the low groove.  Fecteau was relegated to the upper line with Demers and Chagnon in the row behind.  Fecteau’s Pontiac wasn’t able to hold the line and Demers moved into second.  Williams, who had started seventh and Becker made short work of Fecteau’s fading car and pushed him further back in the field.

Demers kept looking to the high side to get around Curtis which left the low groove open for Williams.  The pair ran side-by-side on Curtis’ bumper but were not able to rattle the youngster.

“He’s (Curtis) is no kid.  He’s a hard racer and deserved to win,” runner-up Demers commented.  “I came up a bit short tonight but Marc raced me like people should be raced.”  The veteran racer added, “Thunder Road’s a wonderful race track.  It provides great racing and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Completing the top ten were Trampas Demers in sixth, Chagnon, Phil Scott from Montpelier, Graniteville’s John Donahue and Chad Wheeler from Waterbury Ctr.  Trampas Demers’ finish moved him into second in the standings, 13 points behind his father, while early leader Wheeler is now third.

CARQUEST PRO STOCKERS BACK IN ACTION

The CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour makes its second
appearance of the 2006 season at Scotia Speedworld
(NS) this Saturday.

After three events of the 11 race series, only one point
separates points leader Gordie Ryan and John Flemming
while Wayne Smith sits in third pace, five points back.
Rounding out the top five are Brad Mann in fourth and last
Saturday’s race winner at Raceway Park, Greg Proude is
fifth. It will be a battle among these top drivers as they fight
for finishing positions and those valuable championship year-end points. Ryan won this race in 2005.

Russell Smith holds a 10-point lead over Paul Gahan in the Rookie of the Year honors going into this event.

ACT TRIP TO SANAIR WILL BE STAR-STUDDED AFFAIR

This weekend’s American-Canadian Tour (ACT) $10,000 to win Mega Classique Late Model stock car race at Quebec’s Sanair Super Speedway will feature a star studded cast of past and present champions when the green flag drops on Saturday’s qualifying. The Tour will be making its first appearance in nearly eight years at the 7/8ths mile tri-oval Quebec speedplant. Over 70 drivers from across the Northeast and Canada have filed entries.

Among the early favorites to win the $10,000 top price are the champions of several of the region’s short track series including ACT’s Jean-Paul Cyr, Phil Scott and Dave Whitcomb as well as PASS’ (Pro All Stars Series) Johnny Clark and Ben Rowe. Also filing an entry is veteran stock car driver Mike Rowe from Turner, ME who has the distinction of being both an ACT and a PASS champion. And Quebec’s defending Series Castrol title holder, Sylvain Lacombe from Terrebonne, Qc hopes to have a home field advantage. 
The True Value Mods will be at Lee on Friday night.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
Derek Ranstrom sits in victory lane at Canaan.  (PASS Photo)
Marc Cutris, Jr. wins at T-Road.   (Leif Tillotson Photo)
The Carquest Pro Stock Tour will head to Halifax this weekend.   (Carquest Tour Photo)
The ACT Late Models have a big weekend ahead of them.  (Alan Ward Photo)