Laperle Takes Kawartha By Storm by Marc Patrick Roy
Quebec Driver Wins His Second ACT LM Feature of 2007
Sunday, Kawartha Speedway of Fraserville, Ontario was host to the Summer Sizzler 200, the fourth of five ACTion Super Series events in 2007. Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Quebec dominated the 29 car field finishing first ahead, by three-quarters of a track, of second place finisher Pete Vanderwyst. Right on Vanderwyst’s bumper at the end was Joey Polewarzyk.
Local driver, Larry Jackson, the Kawartha point’s leader, was turning laps in the 17.90 seconds, the fastest Ontario representative. Ontario hot shoes Steve Munro could not get his car to go below 17.90, meanwhile Robbie Thompson was having engine issues for the better part of Sunday and only managed to turn a few quick laps in the last session of the day.
The field was to be set using ACT’s plus-minus system, with the 29 cars spread over three qualifying heats of 12 laps. Top six finishers would determine the top 18 positions based on their +/- performance. While the remainder would go on to race the consi.
The heat races were won by Robbie Thompson, Randy Potter and Linc Brown. The consi was won by Joey Polewarczyk.
Brent Dragon ended up on the pole for the feature race and led early. He was followed by local driver Larry Jackson. On lap 11, Jackson took over the lead from Dragon and stayed there until Brian Hoar took over on a lap 20 restart.
While Hoar clicked off laps out front, Patrick Laperle was coming through the field. On lap 40, he moved into second place and started looking for the lead on the outside.
Laperle and his crew in victory lane. (ACT Photo)
“Before starting the race Claude Leclerc told me when he won at Sanair sometime ago, he had started 13th and it was going to be a lucky starting position. Tonight I started 13th and won. I guess there is some magic to the number 13 starting position” said Patrick Laperle, celebrating after the race.
Laperle, Vanderwyst, Polewarzyk, the top three, went the 200 laps (74 miles) distance without visiting the pits for fuel or tires. The gamble paid off, to the tune of 6000$ dollars for Laperle, who is currently leading the ACT Castrol Championship run in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
Laperle’s speed was evident right away during the weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday during practice Laperle was one, if not the fastest car on the track, turning some very fast 17.5 second laps on new tires and 17.65 laps on older tires. His closest competitors, according to the stopwatch, were Randy Potter at 17.70, Brian Hoar at 17.80.
Four laps later, he dove under Hoar for the lead and soon after was turning impressive 18-second laps.
At the 95-lap mark, as Laperle comes up on Steve Munro (already a couple laps down), Munro was in the upper groove going into turn three, Laperle dove to the inside, but Munro came down. They touched, Laperle pulled back to save his car from disaster.
Hoar’s day went sour with less than 15 laps to go, when he pitted for a flat tire and lost four laps. Meanwhile, Laperle rode mostly unchallenged to the victory over Vanderwyst Polewarczyk, Scott Payea and Potter.
Laperle was in a class by himself. His car was on rail during practice, during the feature and still managed to pull away from the others at the end, even with 200 laps old tires. Second place car was ¾ of a track behind him.
“I put the car in third gear and cruised my way around,” said Laperle. “We planned to go the distance; we were going to win big or die trying. We started 13th our car was great; it was the fastest car here this weekend. By not pitting we saved two tires for us to use to practice next week.”
The Laperles found time to help out veteran driver Claude Leclerc and his skeleton crew of two during final practice; they wrenched on his car, Patrick took the car out for hot laps. At the end Leclerc was turning laps some 2/10ths faster than before.
Pete Vanderwyst, substitute driver for the Brown Trucking #99 usually driven by Roger Brown, is a CASCAR/NASCAR driver with little to no track time before the feature, he brought the car home to an impressive second place.
The line-up of cars before feature time at Kawartha. (Marc Patrick Roy Photo)
Laperle displays his winning flag after the race. (ACT Photo)
Joey Polewarczyk tried everything he could to get around Vanderwyst, he was faster in and thru the turns, but Vanderwyst was just faster off and on the straight. They raced each other clean.
“This is my second time here, I came here when I was 14 or so,” said Polewarczyk. “Tom Curley wanted to check us out in a 75 laps special event before letting us run the ACT Tour. It’s a beautiful track, a little difficult to pass, but if you’re a good driver you can set them up and pass. Gas was not going to be an issue, we were worried about tires, we were thinking of coming in for tires on one of them yellows, but track position is so important we elected to stay out. We could catch the 99 going in and thru the center but we didn’t have enough, we raced each other clean.
"Tonight’s finish is really special: Eric from Quebec who has been helping us since the Oxford 250 lost unexpectingly his brother while he was helping us at Seekonk, tonight his mom and sister are here watching the race, so it was important to thank him on the P.A. and salute him and his family”.
Local points leader Larry Jackson ran an impressive race, staying near the top 5 all day in a Kawartha legal car that is not as strong as the ACT Tour cars.
“I run Friday nights. [We had] six feature wins and three seconds, this is the first time we are out of the top three,” said Jackson. “It is my first ACT race so sixth place finish is very good to us. Our car was consistent, we didn’t have enough to race with them being that it is not built to race under ACT rules package, the geometry is off when you need to run it at that height, weight and percentages is also another factor.”
Payea was happy with his top five finish.
“It’s our first time here,” said Payea. “It’s a great facility, a little difficult to pass, but with a great car it can be done. We got shuffled back in our heat race and had to start 20th. We had a good car, and picked the cars one at a time, especially on the long green flag runs. We came in on the 75th lap for tires and fuel and it probably played a factor for us, as the first three did not come in for fuel or tires. We didn’t have a good experience at St-Eustache so our next race is the Milk Bowl.”
ACT Tour points leader Jean-Paul Cyr was not a factor at Kawartha, he actually did not finish in the top ten for the first time since last year’s milk bowl event. While he remains winless, he did score 2 second places, five third places; fourth, fifth and ninth once each. After the race, despite this bad finish he still leads the championship run by 68 points.
Jackson's #84 car. (Marc Patrick Roy Photo)