51's Northern Exposure Compiled by Mike Twist
Rolfe, Stockwell and Tucker Both Win, Leperle and Lux Team Up Again and More
LAPERLE AND LUX TEAM UP FOR SEEKONK
American-Canadian Tour (ACT) stock car driver Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC, winner of the ACTion Super Series 200 at Autodrome St-Eustache near Montreal last weekend, plans to compete at the Phil’s Propane 100 at the historic “Cement Palace” – Seekonk Speedway, on the Massachusetts seacoast – on Saturday night.
“The first time I went to Seekonk, I hated the place,” Laperle admitted. “I didn’t know how to drive the track. But the second time I went, I loved it. The car drove very well and I understood the track much better.
It’s a fun place to race at. I think with the experience Mike Lux and his team has, we should be very good this weekend.”
Laperle and the ACT Late Model Tour will travel to Seekonk Speedway for the Phil’s Propane 100 on Saturday, August 4 at 6:00 pm. Championship point leader Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT leads Groveton, NH’s Randy Potter by 50 points entering the event. Brent Dragon and Scott Payea, both also from Milton, VT, and Williston, VT’s Brian Hoar are tightly grouped behind Potter to round out the top-five drivers.
Laperle will pilot the Lux Enterprises/Jerry’s Truck Service Chevrolet out of the Maine shops of car owner Mike Lux. Laperle drove the car in place of veteran campaigner Mike Rowe at the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains(ME) Speedway on July 22, and was asked to race again for the team on a limited schedule in 2007.
“Mike (Lux) was happy with the job we did for him at Oxford, and he asked me if I wanted to race for him again,” explained Laperle. “We’re going to Seekonk this weekend, and we may do one or two more races with ACT.”
Former ACT Late Model Tour title contender Laperle earned a cool $6,000 by taking a convincing victory at Autodrome St-Eustache last Saturday night. Laperle has been concentrating on the Série ACT Castrol championship in his native Canada this season, where he currently ranks second in point standings. He was making just his first ACT Late Model Tour start of the season at St-Eustache, and wants to make it two-for-two at Seekonk Speedway, nicknamed the “Cement Palace” for its concrete grandstands, this weekend.
The leaders changed lanes on a lap 26 restart after Rolfe reclaimed the lead just prior to a spin by Mark Childs Sr. and Neil Martin. Martin thrived in the high line from laps 28 to 33 before Rolfe returned to the front by a fender on lap 34.
Martin led on the next pass, and he maintained that advantage by a fender until Rolfe made his fateful, final charge along the rail out of the last corner.
“It's just great to run with all these guys," Rolfe said. "Carey and I have raced thousands and thousands of times over the years coming up through the divisions, and it's always like that. He's just a great guy to race with.”
Since his debut in the mid-1980s, Martin has won 41 OPS features, a total that puts him among the top 15 all-time at the track. He achieved all but one of those victories in the Limited Sportsman class, where he won a fifth championship last summer before the division was retired.
Martin competed in the Late Model division at another track in the 1990s and ran his first OPS event in the elite ranks in 2005.
“We worked awfully hard last Saturday before the 250, and obviously it’s paying off. These cars are so equal. I have no idea how long Ricky and I were side-by-side, but it felt like pretty much the entire race,” Martin said. “And I don’t think we touched more than once. It’s good to know you’re racing with somebody who won’t take you out just to win.”
Rolfe is now a 26-time OPS conqueror in six different divisions - Figure Eight, Super Street, Charger, Late Model, Pro Stock and the American-Canadian Tour. He was the 2002 Late Model and 2003 Pro Stock track champion.
His second win of the season in the J. Jones Construction #51, coupled with Travis Adams' 20th-place run after a lap 12 crash, gives Rolfe a 13-point lead over the reigning champ and five-time feature winner with four points races remaining.
“We definitely saved the best race for last tonight,” Rolfe said. “There’s hardly a tire mark on either one of these cars.”
Dale Verrill backed up his runner-up effort in the TD Banknorth 250 with a strong third-place showing. Verrill won the pole with a heat triumph and set the pace in the main event early before yielding to Rolfe on a lap 11 restart.
“Our car has been pretty good all year,” Verrill said. “We’re finally getting some of the luck.”
Shawn Martin and Zach Emerson completed the top five. Martin made a five-hour drive south earlier in the day after attending his 10-year high school reunion Saturday night in the Aroostook County village of St. Agatha.
Adams’ three-race winning streak ended in a big way. He spun wildly off turn three with Scott Hodgdon on lap 1 before a more serious incident on the 11th circuit. Adams was running on the fringe of the top 10 when Dave MacDonald’s car broke loose in front of him. MacDonald’s ride fishtailed into Adams as the point leader tried to take evasive action, sending the #03E to the pit in a shower of sparks with heavy damage to the right front of the car.
ANOTHER HOT FRIDAY NIGHT AT LEE USA SPEEDWAY
The 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series continues Friday night as all weekly divisions will compete in 3rd quarter championship races. Point battles for season championships are really heating up.
Defending Ciotti Late Model champion JR Baril, Haverhill, MA; sits atop the point
standings with Northwood, NH’s Ricky Wolf, a former NASCAR champion and winner
last Friday night, within striking distance. Dean Weber, Weare, NH; another former
track champion, is right behind in the standings with Rochester,NH’s Jeff Labreque
and Milton,NH veteran Keith Larmie also in the point parade.
Boe Green, Berwick, ME; continues his quest for another track title as he leads all
point chasers in Late Model Sportsman competition. Former champion Wayne
Whitten Jr, Arundel, ME; is trying to keep up to Green in the rankings.
The standings are close at the top of the Planet Aid Hobby Stock division as Brian
Thompson, Sandown,NH; winner of last Friday nights big race for the division, is
hooked up in a close battle with Pete Evans, Berwick, ME. Wade Worster, Lebanon,
ME; will need some strong finishes to contest for the top spot.
Worster checkered second in last weeks event.
The roadrunner division has seen a strong fight for the top spot with Chris Jacobsen, Seabrook NH; holding down the top spot but Ben Brown, Epping, NH; and Dana Faulkner are not far behind.
Eddie Witkum.Jr, Merrimack, NH; jumped out of the gate early and has held the top spot in the supermodifieds with six wins paving the way for the second generation speedster. Witkum is almost 80 points ahead of his nearest competitor in the standings.
Fans are reminded to circle Aug 17 on their calendar as speedway officials are preparing for the annual visit by the ISMA Supermodifieds and the “Ollie Silva Memorial Summer Classic” for the winged warriors. The race draws a large crowd and it’s suggested that fans arrive early for best seating.
Friday nights racing card draws the green flag at 7 PM.
YOU TOO CAN TAKE TO THE TRACK AT NHIS
A different form of racing will take place at New Hampshire International Speedway on Wednesday, August 15 as the New Hampshire State Police host the Seventeenth Annual D.A.R.E. 5K Classic. This event consists of a one-mile Fun Run/Walk and a 5-kilometer road race. The run/walk course uses the road circuit, pit road, and portions of the Speedway oval.
Race day registration will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15 in the Speedway’s infield. Race activities will start at 6:00 p.m. Registration costs $15 on the day of the event, and $13 if you pre-register by Thursday, August 9. T-shirts will be provided to the first 300 runners pre-registered for the 5K race. Runners will also be entered in a random drawing that will be held following the awards ceremony.
There will be trophies presented to the top male and female finishers in eight different age categories. In addition, there are separate team and individual awards in the Law Enforcement category, where the runners are sworn police officers.
The New Hampshire State Police K-9 Unit will be on-hand giving demonstrations.
All of the race proceeds benefit the New Hampshire D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs in the State of New Hampshire.
For more information, please call Trooper Maureen Steer at (603) 271-2877.
The CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour makes the second stop of the season at Riverside Speedway for the Parts For Trucks 100 on Saturday, August 4th.
Shawn Turple of Enfield, NS, the current championship points leader headlines the drivers for the seventh stop on the 10-race summer tour. Turple holds a slim 29-point lead over Fredericton, NB’s Shawn Tucker, while Chris Hughes of Winsloe. PE sits in third. Turple is looking to extend his points lead, but is also looking for his first win of the season.
Lonnie Sommerville of Saint John, NB sits in fourth place ahead of the Oval Outlaw, aka Wayne Smith of Timberlea, NS. Smith has been on a tear, leading the most laps in the first six events. He sits 56 points back of Turple and wants to decrease that lead in a quest for another championship.
Smith leads the Parts For Trucks Challenge with 413 points. The Parts For Trucks Challenge is a race within a race. It tracks the top point winners in the four Parts For Trucks sponsored events. Saturday at Riverside Speedway will be the third Parts For Trucks event of the season. Turple sits in second place with 399 points with Hughes in third with 384 points. Dale Holmes of West Covehead, PE with 384 points and Frank Fraser of Shubenacadie, NS with 378 points, round out the top five.
Sommerville leads the EIT Race Radios Rookie of the Year race, with Darren MacKinnon of Winsloe, PE in second place.
Donald Chisholm of Antigonish and teammate George Koszkulics of New Glasgow, NS will take home track advantage into this Parts For Trucks 100. Add Pictou, NS’s Rollie MacDonald and John Flemming of Halifax, NS, and the tour regulars will have a tough battle for the win.
It is anticipated that a large number of cars will try to qualify for the main feature, making the Urquhart MacDonald Associates B feature the last chance race for a large number of teams.
Action kicks off at 5:10 pm with the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials followed by heat races, all to determine starting positions for the Parts For Trucks 100.
Bunker Hodgdon, the PowerShift Warrior point leader found a good share of his advantage whittled down following a 21st place finish out of the 21 starters in the division’s 15 lap feature.
Accompanying the Calkins/Pelletier Quick Lube festivities was the Great North American Port-A-Potty Grand Prix. Each of Thunder Road’s four division point leaders following the July 12 CARQUEST Governor’s Cup race were asked to construct a human powered rolling outhouse. Representing the ACT Late Models was Dave Pembroke, Nick Sweet was the NAPA Tiger Sportsmen participant, Allen Lumber Street Stock rookie, Bobby Therrien and Power Shift Warrior racer Bunker Hodgdon all unveiled their mounts during Thursday’s intermission.
As the fan favorite, Sweet’s entry, complete with picket fence, was presented with the Golden Plunger. Dave Pembroke’s outhouse, which utilized a bicycle chassis pushed by his crew, broke the toilet paper finish line for the win.
The Media Madness race, which drew 15 participants from as far away as Maine and Quebec to the Vermont speedplant, returned to the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” after several years. Maine’s Mike Twist, an editor at Speed51.com, a stock car racing web site, was victorious over local radio personality, TJ Michaels from FROGGY FM. Marc Patrick Roy from Quebec was third.
Shawna Lidsky, the morning sports anchor at WCAX TV was fourth and Jesse Schloff from the Stowe Reporter, a weekly newspaper rounded out the top five. All of the Media Madness drivers raced in PowerShift Warrior cars.
CARQUEST TOUR GOES FROM NBIS TO ANTIGONISH
Shawn Tucker of Fredericton, NB won the CARQUEST 100 for the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour at NBIS on Saturday night. Wayne Smith of Timberlea, NS and Tucker battled through several late race restarts with Tucker taking his first win of the season. Shawn Turple of Enfield, NS was third, ahead of Greg Proude of North Wiltshire, PE and Chris Hughes of Brackley, PE rounded out the top five.
Shawn Tucker has some company in victory lane. (NBIS Photo)
Over the past several weeks, rookie driver Mike Ziter from Williamstown has been moving closer and closer to Victory Lane. He’s had two podium finishes in the past couple of weeks. Thursday, the first year competitor broke into the Winner’s Circle with a hard fought win over veteran Gary Mullen from Tunbridge, VT. David Greenslit of Waitsfield, VT was third, last week’s winner Davie Allen from N. Troy and Williamstown’s Tommy Smith completed the top five finishers.
Following the 25-lap feature, Lloyd Blakely, the point leader entering Thursday’s Calkins/Pelletier Quick Lube event finds him in second place after spinning off the third turn into the Styrofoam barrier. He was not injured.
In the always exciting PowerShift Warrior class, Chad Brown from Jeffersonville posted the win over Michael Gay of S Burlington, VT and Williamstown’s Mike Ducey. James Dopp and Neal Foster completed the top five finishers.
STOCKWELL LEADS THE LIST OF T-ROAD WINNERS
Braintree, Vermont’s Kip Stockwell made good use of his Calkins/Pelletier Quick Lube 50 starting position Thursday night to run to a convincing win in the ACT Late Model main event. The veteran racer, who returned to the high banked, quarter-mile oval in 2007 after several years of competition with the former Busch North Series started fourth in the 24 car field. At the drop of the green flag Stockwell surged into second. He took the lead from Brooks Clark, who started on the outside of the front row, on the eighth circuit.
Once at the head of the field Stockwell was not seriously challenged even following a pair of mid-race restarts. Both times former Thunder Road champion, Dave Whitcomb tried the outside line around Stockwell. Not finding the high groove to his liking, the Essex Jct, VT driver settled into the runner-up spot, a position he would not relinquish.
Pole sitter, Rusty Berger from Williston, VT turned in a career best finish with a third. Winooski, VT driver Jerry Lesage was fourth and Barre’s Mike “Beetle” Bailey rounded out the top five. The division’s top three point men, Jamie Fisher, Dave Pembroke and
Cris Michaud were mired back in the field with none cracking the top 15. In spite of their sub-par performances all three remain at the top of the standings.
The long awaited return of multi-time ACT Tour Champion, Robbie Crouch from Tampa, FL was realized in Thursday night’s Calkins/Pelletier Quick Lube 50. Crouch, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to the start of the race season made his racing debut a few weeks ago at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway in the TD Banknorth 250. Thursday’s event was his first at Thunder Road in a decade. He and Trampas Demers from Shelburne, VT were involved in a lap 29 incident which ended both of their night’s early.
Completing the top ten finishers were Shawn Fleury in sixth, John Donahue, Clark, Dwayne Lanphear and Pete Fecteau.
The NAPA Tiger Sportsman division’s 35-lap Calkins/Pelletier Quick Lube event had an uncharacteristically rough start. A pair of multi-car incidents on the first circuit shook up the 26-car starting field and knocked at least one championship point contender out of the running for the night. Once the dust settled, Matt White from Northfield put his car out front and easily ran to his second victory of the season. Brendan Moodie from N Wolcott, VT finished second while Williamstown, Vermont’s Justin Hart was third.
Rounding out the top five finishers were Tom Therrien from Hinesburg, VT and Brookfield, Vermont’s Chris Chambers, a sophomore competitor.
White’s victory moves him into second in the standings while Joey Laquerre dropped to third after being involved in one of the early incidents and finishing 26th.
Kip Stockwell in victory lane at T-Road. (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Also at T-Road this week, was the Port-a-Potty Grand Prix. (Leif Tillotson Photo)
Patrick Laperle (C) will be driving for Mike Lux (R) this weekend. (51 Photo)
Tucker won the halfway leader award and the Most Laps Led Award. Over 2000 fans saw 12 cautions slow the event, including a 40 minute rain delay, which took 1 hour and 53 minutes to complete.
Brad Mann of Glen Levit, NB, and Myles Harris of Fredriction Junction won heat races. Tucker of won the Dash for the Pole, featuring the top eight finishers in the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials. Hughes had the fastest time on the 3/10 mile oval, at an average speed of over 66 miles per hour and opted to take the Rockico Truck and Trailer Pole Challenge. Hughes started twenty fifth in the twenty six car field.
Twenty eight of the Maritimes top drivers attempted to qualify for the Main Feature.
ALMOST TOO CLOSE TO CALL AT OXFORD
With the exception of an unforgettable ending that was ruled a dead heat between late Sportsman shoes Leland Kangas and Lee Day back in 1981, fans in Oxford Plains Speedway witnessed the closest top-division feature finish in the track's 58-year history Saturday night.
After two multi-time speedway champions swapped the lead seven times in a side-by-side battle that raged for more than 25 laps, Ricky Rolfe edged Carey Martin by one-thousandth of a second and unofficially reclaimed the Oxford Networks Late Model point lead in the process.
"If the fans don't think they got their money's worth after that," said Martin, "I don't know ... I guess they'd better go watch horse racing."
Rolfe and Martin both led in the early stages of last Saturday's TD Banknorth 250, and they carried that momentum into a classic 40-lap duel on Time Warner Cable Night.
Rolfe landed the lead from Dale Verrill on a lap 11 restart and used the outside lane to ward off an encroaching Martin, who finally inched in front on lap 23.
Baril is leading the way in the Late Models at Lee with his #77. (51 Photo)
Ricky Rolfe in victory lane at Oxford. (OPS / Trudy Marshall Photo)