Patrick was already on the first list due to a previous win at Oxford in an ACT Late Model, but Saturday’s PASS victory was the first at the track in a Super Late Mode/Pro Stock and he couldn’t have been happier to add that accomplishment to his racing resume.
“I love this track. To win here is unbelievable. Since when I was too young to get into the pits and I would sit in the grandstands with my mother, I was dreaming about and thinking about coming here for races with a Super [Late Model] for races like the 250.
“I was about that tall,” said Laperle holding his hand about waist high. “And I would come to the race with my Uncle. When I was old enough to get in the pits, I was helping out. We were his crew and then when he was all through with that, we started. Now, here we are. Julio, my sponsor, gave us the chance to come here and race about three years ago.”
Since then, Laperle has had good and bad nights at Oxford. There has been the ACT victory for starters, but also plenty of evenings that have been full of unrealized potential.
“I always run pretty good here, but sometimes it’s been mechanical stuff that has happened to us. But that can happen anywhere. Last time in PASS at Canaan, we were going for the lead when Johnny Clark lost a brake rotor and it came back and hit us. It’s racing and that is part of the deal.”
The race was delayed by 90 minutes due to a passing rain shower. When it did get underway, there was plenty of action. In the first 10 laps, there were three caution periods. In the first 20 laps, there were three different leaders. Young Corey Williams took the point early from the pole, but Scott Chubbuck and Rick Martin also spent time up front.
LAPERLE CELEBRATES CANADA DAY WITH OXFORD VICTORY by Mike Twist
Visitor From The North Beats PASS Regulars in Close Show
Saturday, July 1st was Canada Day, the national holiday for our friends to the North to celebrate their country’s heritage and creation.
Meanwhile, Laperle’s car didn’t even have a scratch on it after the race.
“The car is clean, there aren’t any doughnuts on the car and it looked like we didn’t even race it.”
Laperle compares this victory at Oxford to several other big ones in his career.
“To win here is like a dream come true. It’s like winning [the ACT Late Model] Milk Bowl, it’s like winning the Fall Foliage at Plattsburgh or the Unity 250.
For the most part, the outside lane was the fast one at Speedway 95. Here, Scott Chubbuck noses his #29 ahead fo Cassius Clark (#8) on a restart. (Norm Marx Photo)
“We were really good early,” said Khiel. “I think about 30 or 40 laps into the race, we dropped a cylinder. It was definitely not right for the whole race. But I kept pulling away from people with a motor like that. I was really surprised.”
Laperle was coming fast though and a restart on lap 133 pretty much decided the race. Khiel powered ahead of Leperle at first, but before the first green flag lap was complete, Leperle took command.
“The cautions at the end hurt us,” said Khiel. “I think that I knocked the front end out a little bit. I got together with a few lapped cars. It was nothing like it was before at the end.”
“I missed a shift [on that restart],” said Laperle. “But I knew that my car was better than his on the short runs, so I knew that I had to go for it then. The next thing I knew, I dove under him and when for it. I had a good run with Mulkern too when he was third and I was fourth.”
While Laperle rolled to the finish, Khiel held on for second place. Chubbuck nipped Scott Mulkern at the finish for third. Mulkern was fourth and Rick Martin rounded out the top five finishers.
Some of the PASS big guns fell silent early in the race. Cassius Clark, who was undefeated in PASS North this season entering the Oxford race, had a distributor shaft break on his #8 ride. Unofficially, Clark’s 29th-place finish will drop him from the point lead to third behind Chubbuck and Mike Rowe.
Also having trouble were Ben Rowe, who had fuel supply problems with his brand new car and Travis Benjamin, who had two flat tires and finished nine laps off the pace in 25th.
Quebec’s Patrick Laperle’s way of celebrating of the holiday consisted of some impressive smoky burnouts down the frontstretch of Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway after he beat an impressive lineup of 33 other Super Late Model/Pro Stock drivers in the 150-lap Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North feature there.
Oxford has always had a Canadian accent on their racing. The number of license plates from Maritime and Eastern Canadian provinces on campers during major events rivals that of U.S. plates. The Canadian anthem, “O Canada” is always played before the start of the TD Banknorth 250 and some of the notable invaders from the North who have won features at the track have included Don Biederman, Junior Hanley, Derek Lynch, Dave Whitlock, the late Scott Fraser and his father Frank.
The list of Canadians who have come to Oxford and not won a race is almost as impressive. Jean Paul Cabana, Randy MacDonald And even Patrick Laperle’s uncle Roger Leperle have come home from the track without a winner’s trophy to declare at the border.
Patrick Laperle in Oxford's victory lane. (Norm Marx Photo)
But he also knows that there is one more race coming up later in July that would put all of those other victories in the backseat. Now that he knows that he can conquer Oxford, he is going for its biggest race of the year.
“I’ve won in ACT, I’ve won in PASS,” said Laperle. “Now the next thing is the [Oxford] 250. My first race in a Pro Stock was the 250. We qualified and finished 13th. The next year, we finished ninth. Last year we were
Laperle (#91) looks to the outside of Travis Khiel's #44. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Laperle waits out a rain delay (Top), while Chuck LaChance's #38 team shows some Yankee ingenuity by weighing down their tarp with an upside-down table. (Bottom). Eventually, racing got underway. (51 Photos)
ifth when we got spun. We led 50 laps last year. Now, we’re ready to win.”
The TD Banknorth 250, which is a non-PASS event, takes place on July 30th. The PASS North Series returns to action on July 12th at Thompson International Speedway.
The #8 team of Cassius Clark had a tough night. (Glen Davis Photo)