51's Northern Exposure Compiled by Mike Twist
The Final Countdown for ACT '07, Speedway EXPO Getting Bigger and More
HOAR HOPES TO RETURN TO VICTORY LANE IN OXFORD ACT FINALE…..
Five-time American-Canadian Tour (ACT) stock car racing champion Brian Hoar of Williston, VT is hunting after the victory that has eluded him all season long, as he returns to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway for the New England Dodge Dealers 150 on Saturday. Hoar rejoined the ACT Late Model Tour in 2007 after spending several seasons racing the NASCAR Busch East Series, and looked like a potential winner at Oxford in April before a failed rear end on his Goss Dodge Charger ended his day.
week are tough to beat, and ACT has a lot of drivers that get around there well, too. Joey Pole (Polewarczyk) is awesome at Oxford, and so is Roger Brown. Jean-Paul Cyr, Scott Payea, Randy Potter… it’s going to be just as hard to beat them there as it has been anywhere this year.”
.....AND SO DOES CYR
Stock car driver Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT is on the verge of breaking two all-time American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Championship records on Saturday at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. Should Cyr finish 23rd or better in the season-ending New England Dodge Dealers 150 at the 3/8-mile oval track, he will clinch his fifth-straight ACT Late Model Tour title and seventh overall. Both marks would be new records across all ACT divisions dating back to 1979.
“Looking back, that was the most legitimate shot we’ve had to win a race all season,” Hoar recounted. “We could have won that race, but it’s been pretty up-and-down since. It would be fun to end the year strong at Oxford.”
Hoar moved into the top five in ACT Late Model Tour point standings following a fourth-place finish at the Chittenden Milk Bowl at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road last weekend. It was his fourth fourth-place finish of the year, matching results at Airborne Speedway in New York, and Québec’s Circuit Ste-Croix and Autodrome St-Eustache. Hoar was the ACT Late Model Tour Champion in 1993 and 1997-2000. His 23 ACT victories lead all drivers, but none have come since September 2000.
“Would I love to win at Oxford? Absolutely,” he said, “but the guys that race there every
HAMMOND IS TOP OUTLAW AT TWIN STATE
Walt Hammond held off Donnie Lashua, Bryon Baker, Jimmie Rosenfield and Zig Geno to win Sunday’s 100-lap PASS Outlaw Late Model feature at Twin State Speedway (NH).
HOSSFELD WINS US OPEN, BRITTAIN WINS A TITLE
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, local favorite Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, New York dominated a strong field of Modifieds to capture the 19th Annual US Open at Lancaster Raceway Park. Pete Brittain of Oakhurst, New Jersey finished second and earned the 2007 Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Tour Overall Championship.
“This was a great way to end the year,” smiled Hossfeld. “I’m very satisfied with how our race went today. Bob Mueller from Troyer’s usually helps us out and makes the calls from up high but he had to be at Stafford this weekend. So I made all the calls on how to set up the car and the changes we made on our pit stop and I’m pretty proud of how that worked out. I don’t really enjoy being my own crew chief because there’s just that much more to think about, but it worked out pretty well today and I’m kind of proud of that..
“I have to give a lot of credit to my team – they are awesome. Today they had a great pit stop and made all the right changes that I asked for and no mistakes. We got back out on the track first with a great racecar. I guess we lost the track championship by two points (to Buck Catalano) but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. I want to thank all my guys for the great effort they give me, especially my friend Dave who does my tires and hit it right on the button. I also want to thank Jerry Gradl Motors for all his support.
“I drew the 12th starting spot for the race so in the early laps I was just going to feel the car out and see how good it was. It wasn’t quite right at the start because it would have freed up too much later in the race. So we made some changes when we pitted and after that the car was unreal. We were able to get by the guys ahead of us quickly and if we had to fight with them it could have been someone else’s race. Once I was out front there really wasn’t anything to worry about. I had a comfortable lead and if anyone got close I was able to step it up when I needed to. I knew Pete (Brittain) was behind me and he was racing for a championship so I didn’t think he was going to race me too hard and jeopardize that. That’s how it worked out. It was great to come home, be around your friends, and race and be running good again. I’m really happy.”
Polesitter Kirk Rutherford led the 26-car starting field to the green flag and led early over Buck Catalano and Daren Scherer. Catalano was pressuring Rutherford and took over the lead down the backstretch on lap ten. He quickly opened a five car length margin as Brittain was running well back in the field. Lap 29 saw Mike Leaty move into third behind Catalano and Rutherford. At lap 40 the top-five was Catalano, Rutherford, Leaty, Scherer and John Markovic.
The first caution of the race waved on lap 42 as Sean O’Neill spun in turn four. Several of the top contenders headed to pit road, including Erick Rudolph, Hossfeld, Billy Putney, Wilbur Hebing, Sege Fidanza, Jan Leaty, TJ Potrzebowski and Brittain. Hossfeld won the race off pit road over Rudolph, Putney, Hebing, Jan Leaty, Brittain, and Fidanza.
The race went back to green on lap 47 with Catalano still in the lead over Rutherford and Mike Leaty. As the field powered down the backstretch there was a massive pileup. Hossfeld and Brittain managed to slip through but caught up in the melee were Rudolph, Putney, Hebing, Jan Leaty and Fidanza. All were unable to continue. Rutherford and Mike Leaty ducked onto pit road before it was opened and would have to restart at the rear of the field. When the pits were opened Catalano, Markovic, and Patsy Catalano pulled in for service.
The race went back to green on lap 51 with NACAR Modified Tour racer Jim Storace the leader over JR Kent, Tom McGrath, Rick Kluth and Hossfeld. Hossfeld was on the move and took the lead on the 59th circuit. On lap 63 Brett Scherrer slammed into the wall off turn four as several cars checked up and the red flag was displayed. Scherrer climbed from his car shaken but otherwise unhurt. When the race went back to caution McGrath, Kluth and Scherer headed to the pits for service.
The race finally went back to green on lap 64 with Hossfeld leading Storace, Brittain, Buck Catalano and Rutherford. Rutherford was off the pace and finally coasted to a halt in turn two to bring out another caution. Green was back out on lap 68 and Hossfeld pulled away from a fading Storace. Brittain soon moved up to second with Buck Catalano following to third ahead of Mike Leaty.
On the 75th circuit Buck Catalano slowed and headed to the pits. The running order was now Hossfeld, Brittain, Mike Leaty, Markovic and Patsy Catalano. Brittain chased the leader over the remaining laps but could never mount a serious challenge. At the checkered flag it was Hossfeld by three car lengths over Brittain, with a large margin back to Mike Leaty, Markovic and Patsy Catalano. Sixth through tenth were Tom McGrath, Daren Scherer, Kluth, Potrzebowski and Jimmy Zacharias.
After the race Brittain was basking in the glow and savoring his accomplishment. “I’m extremely happy, not only that we won the championship but that we ran so well in the race. This is my first overall championship; we won the Central Region before and of course we won the North Region this year but this was the first overall. It’s been my goal since we first came up here to run this series six or seven years ago. I’ve wanted to win the championship and win the Oswego 200 so I have one more to go yet before I can quit. I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight because the competition here is great – in my opinion second to none. You look at the NASCAR guys that come run with us and they certainly don’t blow us away by any means. I think it’s a really competitive tour and to finally win the championship is quite an accomplishment.
“It’s been a gradual process to get to this point. We came into this race three years ago and we were leading the overall points and we lost it to Tony Hanbury in a wreck. I think we have been third or fourth a couple of other times. But this is the first time we’ve won it and it really feels good. Now that I think about it and look back, this is definitely the best year of my career. I guess we’ll celebrate this by going to the North-South Shootout in a few weeks and after that the Turkey Derby at Wall.
“We knew coming into the race we had to finish 19th or better to win the title. I was conservative at the start. I wanted to stay out of all the mess in the first part of the race. I picked my cars one at a time and didn’t try to pass cars in a group and get in trouble. Once they told me we accomplished what we needed to I asked if we could go race now and they said yes, so we started to race and turned it loose. The car was excellent. I got to Chuck’s (Hossfeld) back end on the last lap but he didn’t have a bumper where I could do a ‘bump-and-run’ on him. He was pretty safe because of that.
As SpeedwayEXPO ’08 develops, the racing community is invited to follow its progress online at www.speedwayexpo.com. The site is the comprehensive source for all show information, and it provides a look back at the fun and excitement of the ’07 event as well.
LINDEMAN WINS IN ALL-STAR TRUCK VISIT TO TWIN STATE
The All-Star Race Trucks voyaged up to Twin States Speedway, in Claremont, NH to give their fans an excitement packed feature for their closing weekend. It was the #3 of Andy Lindeman, who was able to claim the checkers in a three way battle for the lead, and return, once again, to victory lane.
Point Leader Seth Duval battled on the outside of Lindeman, took the lead on lap 31, but surrendered it back to the #3 on lap 32, and battled on the outside against the #8 of Bill Leonard. Leonard took the lead on lap 34, but a 3 way battle was finished with Lindeman out front, with Bill Leonard in second. Coming off of turn four on the final lap, contact was made between third-place Bernie Singer and fourth-place Seth Duval. Slinger was sent around and Duval clinched third as a result. Tony Naglieri finished fourth and Singer held on for fifth.
The trucks have a week off, as they venture to Thompson International Speedway, on Saturday, October 14th, for the World Series, to decide the 2007 All-Star Race Truck Champion. The #16 of Seth Duval maintains a four point lead over Andy Lindeman, who moved ahead of the #8 of Bill Leonard by only six points. This points championship cannot be determined until the final lap at Thompson.
Lindeman in victory lane (AART Photo)
Payea could mathematically unseat Cyr should certain circumstances take place. The only plausible scenario includes Payea earning ten bonus points for leading the most laps in the New England Dodge Dealers 150 with Cyr leading none, Payea winning his qualifying heat and the main event, and Cyr finishing sixth or worse in his heat race and 24th or worse in the main event. The final championship margin in that case would be just a single point.
“Jean has been the man to beat for years, and I don’t think that’s going to stop at the final race,” said Payea. “Finishing second to Jean is like winning, there’s no shame in it. He’s a great racer, and I’m proud to even be this close to him in points. We’re going to Oxford to try and win the race, and that’s our only goal.”
Cyr and Payea will face tough competition at the New England Dodge Dealers 150 from Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Travis Adams, as well as ACT top dogs Brent Dragon, Randy Potter, Hoar, and 2007 TD Banknorth Oxford 250 winner “Rocket” Roger Brown. Oxford Plains Speedway is located on Route 26 in Oxford, ME. Racing begins at 2:00pm on Saturday, October 6.
SPEEDWAY EXPO EXPANDS FOR ‘08
A year ago, Speedway Illustrated announced a new racing exposition. Then, after months of preparation, the first-ever SpeedwayEXPO was presented to an expectant crowd in early March this year. By all measures, the event was a resounding triumph. SpeedwayEXPO had successfully rejuvenated a Northeastern tradition and brought together short-track and big-league enthusiasts, drivers, teams and suppliers.
As the ’07 racing season winds down, the magazine’s staff is hard at work on the 2nd annual SpeedwayEXPO, February 29 - March 2, 2008. According to Karl Fredrickson, the magazine’s editor, “We threw a party for 7,000 of our friends. This one’s going to be even bigger and better!”
In 2008 all the excitement of SpeedwayEXPO will be under one roof. The event has been moved to the Mallary Complex, adjacent to the two smaller buildings where XPO’07 was held, at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Dick Berggren, Speedway Illustrated’s founder, said, “The Mallary Complex is one of the Big E’s newest and best venues—and, with 130,000 square feet, it’s got room for everything, including the special events and seminars and the autograph sessions.” With a larger floor and updated amenities, the Mallary Complex will be a welcome change for exhibitors at SpeedwayEXPO ’08, and show-goers will no longer have to brave the weather to walk from one building to another.
A broad mix of tracks from around the Northeast will offer asphalt and dirt racing with drag racing and other forms of motorsports. Vendors of performance parts and accessories again will be one of the main attractions for enthusiasts and racers.
“Records are meant to be broken, and some day my records may be surpassed,” said the driver of the #32 Ehler’s RV/Sticks & Stuff Chevrolet, “but it means a lot to be here right now.”
Cyr’s current streak of four consecutive ACT Late Model Tour championships ties a record set by Williston, VT driver Brian Hoar in 1997-2000. The all-time record of six total ACT championship titles belongs to Tampa, FL native Robbie Crouch, who ruled the former ACT Pro Stock Tour in the 1980s and early 1990s. Cyr’s ACT crowns have come in 1994, 1996, and each year since 2003. He leads cross-town Milton, VT rival Scott Payea by 75 points entering Saturday’s finale.
“There is a certain responsibility the record-holders have; they’re the drivers everyone looks up to,” Cyr explained. “It’s an honor for me to be in the position I’m in. Five-straight championships will mean a lot to me if we can pull it off, but there’s one record I really want to build on, and that’s winning more races.”
Despite finishing in the top five in nine of his 12 starts in 2007, Cyr remains winless. His 18 career ACT Late Model Tour victories place him second behind Hoar’s 23. Cyr’s last season without a victory was 2001.
Cyr's #32 at Oxford. (51 Photo)
The Speedway EXPO was a hit in its first year - and promises to be even bigger next spring. (51 Photo)
Hoar's #45 at Oxford earlier this season. (51 Photo)