Laperle Wins ACT's International Showdown by Marc Patrick Roy
No Points on the Line as American and Canadian Late Modelers Face Off
Patrick Laperle takes his victory lap after the Showdown.
On lap 3, a multi-car accident retired the cars of JF Déry, Dany Ouellet and Stéphane Durand.
“I saw the #70 of Scott Dragon get loose after some contact with Laperle, so I slowed down not to make contact. Other behind me didn't see it and never braked. One of them, Ouellette, got launched and even crushed the roof of the car. There is alot of work to be done to get the car ready again. I wished I could say I loved the experience racing against the US drivers, but this accident makes it hard.” said JF Déry.
Also involved in the incident, were Yvon Bédard, Scott Payea, Spencer MacPherson and Claude Leclerc.
On lap 7, the second caution was drawn when Alexandre Gingras and Jean-Paul Cyr made contact sending Cyr into a spin across the track.
In front of a standing room crowd, Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC won the inaugural ACT Showdown 200 special non-point event held at Autodrome Chaudière, Vallé-Jonction (QC). The race showcasing the top 11 drivers competing on the Quebec/Ontario based ACT CASTROL SERIES tour and the top 11 on the ACT Tour having events held in Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Quebec and Ontario.
The inaugural ACT Showdown competition is a race with an impressive $5,000 to win pay check and $1,000 to participate is also an International Team confrontation where drivers representing the USA and Canada go head to head for a Good Year tires bonus representing and additional $570 to each member of the winning team.
Laperle, a regular on the ACT Tour, was driving for the USA Team. Alexandre Gingras of nearby Quebec city, Quebec finished second and was the top Canadian Team driver. Milton, VT's drivers Brent Dragon and Scott Payea finished third and fourth for the USA Team. Representing Canada, Karl Allard of St-Felicien, QC finished fifth.
In qualifying, the only newsworthy event was the battle and ontrack confrontration between Yvon Bédard and Joey Polewarczyk. On two separate occasions the two got together and brought out the caution flag. With Pole ending up with the short end of the stick. Both returned for the feature race.
The first 58 laps of the race was a duel between Karl Allard and Randy Potter who started on the front row of the 22 car field. They exchanged the lead on five different occasions and running side by side all this time. Potter led laps 1 to 3; 8 to 12; 15 and 16. While Allard lead 4 to 7; 13 and 14; 17 to 58.
ago. Laperle was leading, since lap 59, on the inside and Donald Theetge on the outside, even before the green Theetge would come down on Laperle and knock on him. It was a sign of things to come. After the green flew, coming around for the first time it was Laperle in the lead. Second time around, Theetge was in the lead by a few inches. But as they were about to come around for a third time, to take what would of been lap 142, Theetge got better traction as Laperle got a little sideways.
By the time they got to the flagstand, it put Theetge in the lead by a few feet this time, but at the very same time they rubbed. Tire smoke and all. Theetge continue to squeeze Laperle lower on the track and Laperle had no intentions of lifting. As they got closer to the entry to turn one, Laperle and the rest of the field went under the spinning Theetge who chopped down on Laperle. This brought out the seventh caution of the event.
While under caution, after the field had circled around and as they were about to come around turn two, where Theetge had sat idle, Laperle had to slam on the brakes stopping short of a charging Theetge. Unsatisfied with the fact that he did not make contact with Laperle, Theetge put the car in reverse and rammed Laperle' s car. Laperle choosing not to engage, drove around Theetge and positioned himself behind the waiting pace car. Theetge in tow trying to once again make contact. After coming to his senses and persuasion from Alain Maltais, the pace car driver, Theetge obeyed the flagman' s black flag and visited the pits.
As the field came around for the green, with the running order being: Laperle, Gingras, Dragon, Payea, Allard, Potter, Donahue and Hamel... to all in attendance's surprise Theetge returned to the track. Most expected his on track behaviour to have been enough to warrant the fury of competition-director Tom Curley.
Gingras would go on to finish second and declared after the race: “I didn't have the car to compete with Patrick, he was much stronger than us. But I had the strongest Canadian Team finish. The field was very strong so finishing on the podium is a great boost on the morale.”
On lap 13, the field was slowed for a third time for contact between Claude Leclerc and Joey Polewarcyzk. The cars touched and Polewarczyk spun out and brushed the wall.
“This is another weekend to forget. After last week at Barre where we suffered extensive body damage we turned to our backup car for this race. We started the repairs which include fitting a new body. With our travel to Loudon this coming Wednesday and the Oxford race just around the corner, the team will be very busy as there is still a lot of work to do.” said the young Joey Polewarczyk.
On lap lap 110, the fourth caution was brought out for Jonathan Desbiens who was sent into a spin after being punted by John Donahue. No damages to their cars and both resumed.
The fifth caution was displayed on lap 118, for Martin Lacombe who, after stopping on the track, required a push-truck to get back to the pits. After a short visit and before going back to green, Lacombe returned.
The sixth caution was displayed on lap 140 for Nick Sweet who spun to the inside of turn two. Sweet who ran as high as second in the early stages of the race suffered significant front end bodywork damage.
On the restart following the caution, it was groundhog day all over gaain, just like two years
Speed51.com's Marc Patrick Roy interviews Patrick Laperle after the race - but not in victory lane! (ACT Photo)
Gingras would lead lap 143 by a few inches over Laperle. But Laperle would come right back and lead the rest of the distance.
“My car was solid. Taking home the first ACT Showdown and the $5,000 is a great feeling. Too bad I couldn't celebrate in victory lane and celebrate with my team. Obviously some people think differently than I do about the incident with Theetge; I held my line and he came down on me. Heck he was beating on me under caution. Then he rams my car, chases me down with his car and then runs after me like WWF wrestler” declared Laperle in post-race inspection in what became the closest thing to a victory lane.
“I love this track. It reminds me a lot of Seekonk. It is very racy and the fans were great. We worked hard on the car after the Barre fiasco. Mike Kenyon even drove down from Ottawa to the shop worked until midnight to help out before returning home. A podium finish is going to make the haul back to Vermont that much more enjoyable. If the schedule is right, no races before or after on the US ACT Tour I
would definitely come back here to race an ACT CASTROL Series event” told us third place finisher Brent Dragon.
Finishing fourth, Karl Allard declared: “We usually run good here, but today we didn' t have enough for Patrick. He was in a league by himself. We just couldn't get on the gas. We are extremely pleased to finish in the top five with this level of competition.”
After the event, Donald Theetge jumped outside his still moving vehicle and started running towards Patrick Laperle's vehicle. His body language gave away the fact that he did not have intentions on being the first one to congratulate him, but rather wanted to pull another Kyle Busch-Carl Edwards like episode. Series officials had to reason Theetge and escort him off the racing surface.
Unfortunately, some fans got carried away and started throwing beer cans at the Laperle team as victory lane celebrations were about to kick off. Race director, Tom Curley, cancelled the trackside festivities and instead the trophy presentation was done in the pits.
Joey Pole had a really bad day. (Stéphane Lazare Photo)