Lacombe Wins St-Euchstache Finale Again by Marc Patrick Roy
Saturday Night Race Closes Out ACT Quebec Season
Sylvain Lacombe (#3) and Patrick Laperle (#91) do battle.  (Stéphane Lazare Photos)

like at Thunder Road earlier this year and more recently at Kawartha when we were leading with 50 laps to go the trailing arm bracket shifted on the housing.  With the rear end skewed out of alignment, I just couldn't drive the car it was so bad.” said a young Urlin.

Lacombe would lead lap 134.  On lap 135 Laperle took over the lead and he seemed to be en route to another performance Laperle Racing has gotten us accustom to, stretching his lead by as much as a half track over Lacombe under green flag conditions.  On restarts, Laperle and Lacombe would dice it up for several laps side-by-side, every time Lacombe choosing to fall back in line.

While under caution, on lap 179, Patrick Laperle in the lead started to swerve his vehicle vehemently as he was going down the front stretch.  His brother and spotter Daniel Laperle stood at the foot of the flag stand looking on, trying to determine if the 91 had a tire going down.  After a couple passes down the front stretch they decided to take no chances and dive in the pits to replace the right front tire. 

“I didn't have a choice.  About five laps before the yellow came out I started getting a bad push, I was pretty sure I had a flat.  We probably cut the tire during the previous caution or on the restart when Sylvain and I rubbed.  With only 21 laps to go, I knew it was pretty much over.  We still put on two right sides and some fuel and gave it all she had.  We came short two positions.  I just wish the race would have gone the whole distance, I would have loved to race Sylvain Lacombe he is always great to race with.  Very disappointed with the outcome” told us an upset Patrick Laperle during post race celebrations.

“I knew something was wrong with Patrick.  I had to get on the brakes a lot more not
to hit him.  He had been pulling away and all of a sudden I was on him.  My car was
good, but his was great.  This feels great after everything that has happened this year.
This car will be an excellent backup with our new car on the way” said race winner
Sylvain Lacombe.

Lacombe was only briefly challenged by Normand Lavigueur for the top spot.  Meanwhile
Jacques Laperle, Patrick's cousin, was attacking Lavigueur for second place.  The
group put on an exciting show as the laps counted down.

With five laps to go, Patrick Laperle took advantage of his cousin Jacques Laperle's
so little mistake has he drifted up in turn three.  Patrick dove to the inside and took
third place away from Jacques who would go on to finish fourth.

“I am really happy with the fourth place finish.  Of course a podium would have been
better, but considering the limited racing I did this year, we are going home with our
head held high” said a smiling Jacques Laperle.

Jean-François Déry commented: “Finishing fifth puts a close to the CASTROL Series
schedule on a good note.  We had so much bad luck this year.  Next week we will attempt to qualify for the Milk Bowl in Vermont.  Hopefully luck will stay on our side and we will qualify for the prestigious and very competitive race.”

With 33 starters on the relatively flat 4/10th of a mile oval a high caution count was expected, but not this bad.  The race scheduled for 300 laps was shortened to 200 laps to observe the city imposed curfew.  The numerous cautions, 15 of them, most for spins and minor incidents and a brief shower made the 200 laps race run for 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

“Ridiculous.  They probably ran 300 laps if you count the yellow flag laps” said one spectator.  While another responded with “I just got cheated.  I paid for 300 laps and they only gave me 200”.  One thing is for sure, many in attendance both spectators and competitors or team members all were disappointed the race did not go the distance and most criticized the decision to have so many supporting races and to start the main event this late in the evening.

Before the race many also criticized the newcomers to the race.  Going so far as saying that it is dangerous to have them on-track with their limited oval racing experience.  Three of them made their debut in ACT Late Model racing: Max Decoste and Jacques Guénette finished an impressive 14th and 15th surviving the distance.  While Steve Côté, the third newcomer, retired early with overheating problems. They were not the ones causing the cautions.

For the fourth year in a row, Sylvain Lacombe won the season-ending event on the ACT CASTROL Series schedule, the St-Eustache 300, held at Autodrome St-Eustache, just north of Montreal.  This is Lacombe`s sixth St-Eustache 300 victory.  Completing the podium were Normand Lavigueur and Patrick Laperle.
Thirty three competitors showed up for the annual classic which normally disputed on a Sunday afternoon, was ran for the first time under the lights on Saturday night.   Taking the top spots in qualifying heat races were: Sylvain Lacombe, Jean-François Déry, Steven Boissoneault and Dany Ouellet.  The consi was won by Sylvain Métivier.
Lacombe who started the race from the pole position would go on to lead the first 94 circuits around the 4/10th of a mile oval, despite six gruelling restarts.  Patrick Laperle, who then running in second took over the lead, when Lacombe visited the pits.  Laperle would go on to lead until lap 125. 

It was then, coming out of turn four, that a charging Jonathan Urlin, using lap traffic, made a daring move making it three wide and in the process took over the lead of the race.  With Lacombe in tow and  Laperle with nowhere to go was relegated to third.  Urlin's strong performance would last only until lap 133.  

“The car was great, we really thought we could be a contender for the win.  But just
Jonathan Urlin's 9ON
Despite finishing a lack luster 17th position, Alexandre Gingras was crowned ACT CASTROL Series 2008 Champion with 643 points.  Karl Allard settled in second with 640 points, a 3 points deficit, and JF Déry is third with 613 points.  Claude Leclerc fourth with 600 points and Martin Lacombe with 568 points.

“With the poor finish we just got I didn't expect to win my first Championship.  On lap 159 the wheel hub broke, there was only one stud left.  It had been 10 laps or so that we had a very bad vibration and it finally broke.  My crew quickly repaired the car and allowed us to get back in the race going down 11 laps to the leaders.  Even at the end of the race I still had a vibration, we will have to check it out, something was wrong.”

The sole United States driver participating in the race was Dave Pembroke.  With a nice cash bonus for making the trip, one could have expected more drivers making their way North of the border.  Pembroke, like Gingras suffered a wheel hub failure and finished in 24th spot. 

This race being in the books puts an end to the 2008 ACT CASTROL Series Championship.  Congratulations to the teams for their success and to the promoters and officials for another great summer of racing.  And a special thank you to the fans and readers of my race reports North of the border.
St-Eustache 300

113Sylvain Lacombe200
2685Normand Lavigueur200
3591Patrick Laperle200
4435Jacques Laperle200
5821JF Déry200
61838Martin Goulet200
7711Claude Leclerc200
81148Karl Allard199
93010Stéphane Decoste199
102219Brandon Watson198
11397,3Jacques Poulin197
122331ONSpencer MacPherson197
13992Jonathan Desbiens197
142620Max Decostes195
15331Jacques Guénette195
16137Daniel Bergeron193
171727Alexandre Gingras188
181203Martin Lacombe179
192028Dany Ouellet173
201651Patrick Hamel172
21149ONJonathan Urlin143
221912Mario Gosselin141
231531QCSteven Boissoneault140
241044David Pembroke139
25279QCYvon Bédard135
2622Daniel Decostes120
272130Stéphane Durand55
282915Kevin Roberge54
293167Bob Hudon48
30288Steve Côté31
31256Pierre Gratton26
323234Claude Lepage12
332470Sylvain Métivier6

Dave Pembroke had a rough race North of the Border.