Dragon Comes Out on Top of Four-Way Fight For the Mountain by Mike Twist
Cyr Drives From Wreck to Podium, Joey Pole Has Career Best Finish and Much More
2 x 2 x 2. That is not the measure for a small piece of lumber to be cut, but instead the formula for the closing laps of the ACT Late Model race on Saturday night at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH).
The side-by-side racing did not work out well for Cyr, who just couldn’t get to the lead despite having a rocket of a wreck under him.
“If they could have lined up, it could have been a better day, but there was a little bit too much side-by-side racing at the end of the race for me. I just couldn’t roll by.”
Brown and his crew members didn’t stay around to kick back at the shop after a drive of over an hour though. They got to work in their Vermont shop and prepped their back-up car for White Mountain. Then they towed back to the track and finished 24th in the feature.
“This car was sitting in the shop with no springs, shocks radiator or rear end gears,” said Brown. “We stripped them out of that car and put them in this car. We came back to the race and made it just in time to get into our heat race and we were happy to get it. We knew that we weren’t going to have a good car. We had a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of fine-tuning in that other car to make it go here. It was good and we just didn’t have that car. But we made it in the race and finished.”
FADDEN/OLSEN CLAN IN THE HOUSE
The families of racing legend Stub Fadden and his two-time Busch East championship winning grandson Mike Olsen reside in North Haverhill, New Hampshire – not too far
Joey Pole also had a quick car at the end, but getting to second-place was as far as he would get on this evening.
“My car was just on a rail,” said Pole. “We didn’t get a good qualifying spot and maybe if we started closer to the front, we would have gotten the win, but you never know.”
Dragon won after driving like a man on a mission. That was because he was just that. Crew member and close friend, Mark “Marky” Arsenault, passed away early in the week at the age of 21. Dragon wanted to win one for him on Saturday night.
“My best friend [Ross Arsenault], who owns the Beverage Mart [one of Dragon’s primary sponsors] lost his son this week, so we want to dedicate this to him. That is why we raced extra hard. We lost Mark and we wanted to win for him and that was for him. I had nothing left in me at the end. I worked extra hard and the whole crew did, so that was a good way to end the day.”
Anytime a racer hits the track, they give a 100% effort, so was it possible for Dragon to try any hard this time out? He believes so.
“I think so, because I’m worn out right now. I don’t know if that is because of everything this week or the race. It’s been a long week and now there’s nothing left.”
CYR RACES A WRECK TO THE PODIUM
“The driveshaft was torn out, the shifter was torn out of it, the battery disconnect switch was gone, the rear end was bent around, the shock mounts in the rear were bent, the trailing arm was bent, the whole right front suspension was gone, the engine was on the ground, the sway bar was broken off and that’s not to mention the body – that was really torn up.”
Those are the words of Jean Paul Cyr, but amazingly, he is not describing a racecar that is destined for the junkyard. He is talking about all of the damage that needed to be repaired on the afternoon of the White Mountain race to the car that eventually finished third.
Cyr crashed hard in his heat race and his team planned to withdraw from the event, but then started to dig in and work to see what they could repair. Then other teams came over and helped. In all, at leas 10 ACT teams pitched in and got Cyr’s #32 back on track before the B-Main. Some of the drivers and team represented in the repair party were those of Brian Hoar, A.J. Begin, Jamie Fisher, Kip Stockwell, Ryan Vanasse, Marc Curtis, Jr., and Randy Potter.
“We have all of the parts put together on the trailer, so we just started bolting those on, and whole other crews came over to help,” said Cyr. “Brian Hoar’s crew took care of the body for us, so we could concentrate on the suspension.
"I got underneath the car and took care of the shifters. All that I managed to get in it was second and third [gears]. I figured that was all that I needed. We hot-wired the car and by-passed the battery disconnect and off we went with a few rolls of duct tape.
“The crew just kept on digging. Everybody in the pits helped us. Crew that we compete against every week came and busted their butts to go us going. Thanks to everyone in the pits. It wasn’t just our crew, it was like a big family.”
Amazing as it was though, this wasn’t the first time that Cyr had been in this position.
“Last year at Sanair, we had a similar type of deal happen, with similar results.”
BROWN HAS A LONG DAY TOO
Roger Brown also had a long and tough day thanks to trouble in practice.
Meanwhile, Dragon started on the outside of the front row. He shadowed early leader Vanasse and raced then Potter from lap 95 on, until Dragon took the lead himself within 50 laps to go. Up to that point, Dragon had just been saving his equipment for the final stage of the race.
“I wanted to just let them race because I knew that they all had some issues,” said Dragon. “The #11 [Vanasse] was really tight, the #02 [Potter] was loose and I knew if we could get a break, I could get by them. So I just rode and rode and rode and then all of a sudden, they came right back to us. I hadn’t picked the pace up before, but once I got to the lead, I picked the pace up and just took off.”
Keep in mind, taking off meant staying ahead of the car behind you by only a few inches. Dragon was able to do that for the rest of the race.
“We unloaded and we brought a car that we thought was good,” said Brown. “In the first practice, we had 150-lap tires and were running flat 13s [second laps]. We were flying and the car was absolutely perfect. I was excited. Then seven laps into practice, we blew the motor on the backstretch. We loaded it up and went home.”
There were some close green-flag battles for the lead at White Mountain. (Alan Ward Photo)
Early on, the event was dominated by Rhode Island rising star Ryan Vanasse, but over the last few dozen closing laps, it was Brent Dragon, Randy Potter, Jean Paul Cyr and 18-year-old Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk who raced side-by-side and nose-to tail. At the end, the cars fell back into single formation briefly with Dragon crossing the line first ahead of a charging Joey Pole. Cyr and Potter weren’t very far back either when the checkered flag waved.
The fans enjoyed it for sure, but even more so, the four drivers involved really had a great time.
“It was a good day for us all in all, and we had a really good car,” said Brent Dragon. “It’s really not that bad to race like that. You have so much respect with the guys that you race with out there. They are a lot of fun to race with.”
“That was a blast,” said Potter. “I had a good time with Brent and Joey. It just wasn’t meant to be for us.”
“That was a lot of fun,” said Pole. “The #02 car of Randy Potter – that was probably the hardest race that I’ve had in my life. I learned a lot from him. He’s one heck of a driver and he raced me clean. Then there was Jean Paul behind me. He was missing body parts and all kinds of stuff – and he was still fast. It’s just awesome racing like three veterans like that. You learn a lot at a young age.”
Cyr was missing body parts thanks to a devastating wreck in his heat race. His #32 car shouldn’t have even made it on the track, it was that heavily damaged as we’ll see later on, but rival crews helped his team fix it and Cyr started at the rear of the feature.
Potter in victory lane. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Ryan Vanasse (#11) and Brent Dragon (#55) race for the lead. (Alan Ward Photo)
Roger Brown by his #99. (51 Photo)
from White Mountain and that clan was well represented at the track on Saturday night.
Fadden’s grandson Travis Fadden ran the #17 Strictly Stock and finished sixth. The young Fadden is currently third in the standings, 22 points in arrears of Strictly point leader Ben Lynch.
Another family member, Todd Aldrich, finished 22nd in the ACT feature. Aldrich is a regular in the Late Model division at WMMP, where he sits fourth in the championship standings.
There was a connection to the Olsen Busch East Series team at the track as well. Belgian driver Max Dumarey, who finished 27th at NHIS on Friday evening driving the #16 Olsen/Fadden entry, sat in the pit stands as a spectator at White Mountain on Saturday night.
VANASSE LEADS MOST LAPS, GRABS TOP 10 FINISH
White Mountain proved to be a good race for Ryan Vanasse, the Rhode Islander led the most laps in the race and finished eighth.
“We ended up with a top 10 and led a bunch of laps early,” said Vanasse. “I think that we led 95 or 96 laps. Our car faded a little at the end. It got real nose-tight at the end. If I could keep it down, it worked, but I would get really loose off.”
And there was also the problem of dealing with several clusters of lapped cars.
“The lapped cars raced me hard. But I’ve been in their shoes before, so I know exactly what they are going through. I just wish that they would have given me more room, but you can’t cry about it because this gives us something to build on. We’ll have a good car going to Oxford next week.”
Vanasse and his team were especially pumped up with their strong run because to
that point in the season, 2007 had been a rough year for them, but the top 10 finish at WMMP moved them up to 11th in the ACT standings and gave them a boost of confidence heading into the summer months.
“My guys really put in a lot of overtime this week,” said Vanasse. “Since Ste-Croix really. We went there and struggled. We went to the Oxford open race and tried some different stuff, then we tested at Seekonk last week. We’ve been trying to get this car dialed in. We’ve had bad luck, but some of it was self-inflicted luck, and now we finally have it balanced out. I just want to run up front with these guys and I think tonight I showed that I’m capable of doing that. We’re a top five caliber team and now we just need to get the results.”
WINNERS COME TO WHITE MOUNTAIN
Two Late Modelers in the field on Saturday night already had victories to their credit over the weekend before the 150-lap ACT feature began.
Dean Weber won on Friday night in the Late Model division at Lee USA Speedway and Mike Lavoie won the Friday ACT Castrol Series race at Autodrome Circuit Chaudiere in Quebec.
Lavoie finished 15th at White Mountain and Weber finished 17th.
NOT A GOOD NIGHT TO BE A JAMIE
There were 45 cars, including ACT regulars, a few invaders from the ACT Castrol Series in Canada and White Mountain weekly competitors, who battled for 30 starting spots at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
It wasn’t good to be a Jamie went it came to qualifying either. The two most notable drivers who DNQed were longtime Late Model standout Jamie Fisher and three-time NASCAR Busch North Series champion Jamie Aube.
DRAGON ON THE UPSWING
Brent Dragon knows all too well what it feels like to miss an ACT race. He did not qualify for the season opener at Oxford, but has bounced back fine since then. Dragon won at White Mountain and has moved up to fourth in the standings, despite missing one event.
“The first race at Oxford, we didn’t qualify for and then we had a sixth, a second, a second and a first,” said Dragon. “We had a pretty good car at Oxford, but we drew bad and went directly to the B-feature and that ruined our day. There are so many good cars that we race with every week and that’s going to happen a lot. Some good cars went home from here today.”
PRACTICE ALMOST MAKES THINGS PERFECT FOR POTTER
ACT regular Randy Potter currently sits second in the Tour’s standings. He’s been doing a little bit of other racing as well, having run the weekly Late Model feature at WMMP for two weeks, leading up to the ACT event there.
“We came down here for the last two weeks and we actually ran better than we did tonight, but we didn’t run very long and we didn’t run hard on the outside a lot either,” said Potter, who finished fourth. “After we ran under the green flag for awhile, for some reason I would lose fuel pressure. When I dipped over the back, it would cut out and then back in. I wish that I could have stayed there and made a good show out of racing Joey at the end because he is fun to race with.”
POST-BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR POLE
Joey Pole’s best ACT Late Model finish to date, a second-place result, came not too
long after his recent 18th birthday.
“It was about a month ago, May 31st, so finishing second was a good late birthday
present,” said Pole.
That best finish might not last for long. The next two events on Pole’s calendar are at
Oxford Plains Speedway and since that track is one of his favorites, a victory just could
be in the cards.
“We’re going back to a track that I like a lot for the next couple weeks. There are a lot of
good races on the schedule coming up.”
NO FINISH FOR NOLIN
Ryan Nolin, who won on the ACT Late Model circuit earlier this season, was ejected from the White Mountain race after not paying enough attention to the flagstand. Nolin ended up finishing in the 30th, and final position.
Nolin was a lap down just past the 100-lap mark in the race when he was racing hard with the leaders. Tour director Tom Curley ordered his unique “Miss Piggy” flag [designed to let competitors know when they are hogging the track too much] to be waved at Nolin’s #78 car. That didn’t change things, so the black flag was flown. Nolin did not pay attention to that either, so he was not scored anymore. However, he did stay on the race track and brought out a caution when he spun by himself on the backstretch.
At that point, he was not allowed to continue in the race. Speed51.com attempted to catch up to him after the event, but only got to see the taillights of his hauler leaving the pit area.
Jean Paul Cyr wrecked hard in his heat, but with some help from other racers including Brian Hoar (red hat) and Kip Stockwell (blue shirt), he made it out for the feature. (Top and Middle - Alan Ward Photos, Bottom - 51 Photo)
Joey Pole's #97 (51 Photo)