Leftovers: ACT Late Models at St-Eustache by Marc Patrick Roy
Brown, Laperle, Hoar and More
Patrick Laperle shares victory lane at Ste Eustache. (ACT Photo)
LAPERLE WINS HIS FIRST OF THE SEASON
Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC won convincingly the ACT Super Series 200 laps race held at Autodrome St-Eustache, just north of Montreal, Canada. The only Super Series event held in Quebec and one of two held on Canadian soil could have turned into a diplomatic affair; Laperle held off recent TD Banknorth Oxford 250 winner Roger Brown of the United States to take the victory.
Laperle passed Brian Hoar for the lead on lap 156 and never looked back, taking the victory.
“My intention was to lead the most laps I could,” said Laperle. “We were confidant we would finish in the top five. So I worked my way to the front as quickly as possible. Once there, I wanted to put as many car lap down as I could. We stayed as long on the track before pitting as we could, our car ran well, why change tires that worked well?
"We came in on lap 130 because we got worried the race would go green for the rest of the race since there had been so many yellow flags. We finally won a race this year! This one is so sweet.”
BROWN CARRIES AMERICAN FLAG TO SECOND PLACE
The American Roger Brown, who just won the prestigious TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford
one week before St-Eustache, finished second. It was the best finish for a driver from the United States.
“We knew coming here that there was going to be some very good Canadian driver,” said Brown. “Patrick Laperle, his cousin [Jacques Laperle] and Sylvain Lacombe are always very fast. So we hoped for a top 15. My crew chief told me to stick to his game plan. He wanted me to follow Patrick Laperle when he pitted. I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I was wrong. At the end, we got worried about the #3 car [Lacombe] he was very strong.
TWO LAPERLES IN THE TOP FIVE
In addition to being the cousin of the race winner Patrick Laperle, fifth place finisher Jacques Laperle also had a pretty good day himself.
“We pitted for gas, but did not change tires,” said Laperle. “The car was very good even on old tires. For a part time driver we are very pleased with our finish. Our next race will be the 300 lap race right here at St-Eustache.”
Patrick Laperle (#91) leads Roger Brown's #99 (ACT Photo)
LACOMBE COMES THROUGH FIELD FOR PODIUM FINISH
Sylvain Lacombe of Terrebonne, QC, the local favorite and driver with the most wins on the 4/10th mile oval finished third.
Lacombe did a lot of passing to just get to that point
“My car drove well,” said Lacombe. “Twice I had to go thru the field, we therefore ran out of laps, we could have given Brown a battle. I could have caught up to Laperle, but passing him would be something else.”
TEAMS COME FROM ALL OVER THE MAP TO TRY AND QUALIFY
There were 40 teams at Ste Eustache with representation from Vermont (8), New Hampshire (3), Massachusetts (1), Rhodes Island, Ontario (1) and Quebec (16). Only 30 of them would qualify for the 200 green laps, the others would go home early.
Setting the field and even just getting to that point, brought plenty of stories
Each of the two practice sessions were impacted by light showers for a few minutes. Despite this, the lap times were very quick. Quebec drivers were listed at the top of the fast lap list at the end of the two sessions. Sylvain Lacombe 17.31s, Patrick Laperle 17.37s, Jacques Laperle 17.40, Normand Lavigueur 17.40s.
American drivers, none having raced here before except for Jamie Aube, came into the race at a disadvantage. A double disadvantage actually, because they do not compete often on flat tracks such as St-Eustache.
Sylvain Lacombe gets interviewed after the race. (ACT Photo)
But it is important to highlight the impressive progression the American drivers did between their initial lap times and the ones they clocked toward the end of the second session: Roger Brown 18.12s at the beginning and 17.47s at the end of the second session; Jean-Paul Cyr from 18.65s to 17.39s; Jacob McGrath from 18.10s to 17.49s; Brian Hoar from 18.87s to 17.65s
The first four to cross the line in each of the qualifying heat races would move on to the
big show. Others would then have to compete for one of height qualifying spots (4 per)
in the two consis. Drivers still not qualified would then move on to the B-Feature were
another four drivers would qualify…. Others would go home.
That list got to be pretty long. Jamie Aube and Dany Ouellet started respectively 29th
and 30th with provisionals as best non-qualified driver of the ACT Tour and the ACT
Ron Henry, Joey Polewarczyk, Steve Munro, Sylvain Métivier, Mathieu Francoeur, Éric
St-Gelais, Kevin Roberge, Jonathan Desbiens, Martin Lacombe and Martin Marcoux
loaded up and went home early.
The fans got to see quite a show at St-Eustache - even before the feature ever started.(Yvan LaVoie Photo)
“Coming to this race, off of the 250 win is really working to our advantage. We know we can win any races, now that we have won the biggest short track race we can compete in. It takes the pressure off. This is a beautiful facility. The racing surface would be great if it had 32 degrees of banking.”
HOAR RUNS WELL IN FIRST TRIP TO TRACK
In his first trip to St-Eustache, Brian Hoar led a few laps. He started 20th, finished fourth and had a pretty good day, but he’s not holding his breath to come back either.
“I had come here once to watch, but had never raced here,” said Hoar. I expected a nightmare. This track is not really contusive to racing. Our car wasn’t bad. The last couple of weeks we were junk. So we tried different stuff and came up with a decent setup. When we changed tires, I quickly realized we had a bad set of tires. When we came in a second time we went back to the first set, but the car tightened up.”