Laperle Leads The Way as ACT Champions Are Honored  By Marc Patrick Roy
Banquet is a Crowded Place With Many Celebrations
On Saturday, January 10th over 500 Officials, teams and fans gathered and feasted together as they paid tribute to the 2008 ACT Late Model Tour and Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) Champions.  Held at the Burlington (VT) Convention Center the banquet's emcee was ACT Tour and Thunder Road announcer Troy Germain, who once again did an outstanding job to entertain everyone during the numerous awards presentation.

Keeping with its tradition of honouring not only the champion, each class's top 10 drivers were also honoured. There were plenty of classes, plenty of more drivers and a few additional awards to be presented, Germain kept a good fast pace but did not rush anyone and gave everyone plenty of photo opportunities during the evening.

In the Thunder Road weekly classes : Power Shift Warrior driver Travis Hull won the title.  While Allen Lumber Street Stock driver Jason Corliss waited for the last race in the season to move in the points lead by a single point and to what would become the title spot.  In the NAPA Sportsman division Craig Bushey won the title and announced he would be joining the ACT Late Models rank next year. 

In the ACT Late Models ranks colourful Eric Williams was crowned “King of the Road” after a tight title fight. 

Tom Curley, commenting on William's small margin of victory over Senator Phil Scott, said “Phil had a so-so season until after mid-season.  From that point, it was vintage  Phil Scott driving.  He came from nowhere to second place in points.  You had to know, he must of been nearing election time and he needed the extra visibility.   But Williams put it all out.  As he says himself - race it like you stole it.  And that he did.  Eric had an outstanding run and deserves to be King of the Road.”

The ACT Tour Championship went to Quebec's Patrick Laperle his first ACT Tour Championship and his second career Championship.  Laperle won the Quebec/Ontario based ACT Castrol Championship in 2007.

“For the first time since Junior Hanley did it last in 1995 the crown is going North of the Border.  It is also the first time someone wins back-to-back ACT Castrol and ACT Tour Championships.  Patrick and Eric Laperle are fierce competitors and always manage to find their way to be in position to win... they are the team to beat on both sides of the border” said Tom Curley.

Laperle commented that as they drove from Montreal to the Vermont Convention facility, Patrick was so nervous he offered his twin brother Eric and crew chief $500 to deliver the speech on his behalf.  But in the end Patrick delivered  the speech himself and had some interesting facts to share: 

“In 2007 and 2008, I won at St-Eustache.  I also won in both the 2007 and 2008 races at Kawartha.  In 2007 I won my second Milk Bowl and in 2008 I won my third Milk Bowl.  In 2008 I won the inaugural Show Down at Chaudiere where the top 11 from Quebec and the US went head to head.  And now I stand before you with the ACT TOUR Title.” 

Laperle confirmed he is heading down south to New Smyrna for the 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.  He will be racing in the Crate ASA Late Model ranks.  Other ACT Tour competitors heading South for this brutal nine nights of racing are Eric Chase of Milton, VT and Joey Polewarczyk of Hudson, NH.

In related news, the young Joey Polewarczyk will be heading to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, California.  Driving a Dave Davis prepared NASCAR Camping World East automobile, the same car he race to an impressive top 10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway back in September.

The first annual Crew Chief of the Year award recognizing dedication, professionalism and support of ACT Late Models in the region was presented to Pete Knights, crew chief on Randy Potter's car.

The Ken Squier Award was presented to ACT Official John Walker for his decade of contribution to both ACT and Thunder Road.
The 2008 ACT Late Model champion Patrick Laperle.  (Marc Patrick Roy Photos)
The Gordon R. “Doc” Nielsen Rookie Achievement award went to Late Model Rookie of the year driver Nick Sweet.  Others who were qualified for this award were: Matt White (Late Models); Bobby Therrien (Sportsman); Mike MacAskill (Street Stocks).

Voted for the ACT Late Model Sportsmanship award was Eric Chase while the Thunder Road Sportsmanship title was awarded to Mike “Beetle” Bailey.

Voted most improved ACT Late model driver was Pete Potvin III.  And the Thunder Road most improved driver was Brooks Clark.

The prestigious 40th winner of the Don MacTavish award for his long-lasting and profound impact on stock car racing in the region was awarded to second generation driver Brent Dragon.  He his the third Dragon to receive the award: his father Harmon “Beaver” Dragon first received it in 1979 and his uncle Bobby Dragon received it in 1983.

In his closing remarks ACT President Tom Curley shared his philosophy on dealing with the economy and the sad and difficult times we are going thru now:

“There are people that look at this situation thinking they have a glass half empty; I prefer to see it half full.  The last time this nation went thru such hard times many chose to go to short track stock car racing with their entertainment dollar.  It flourished in one of the best era for racing.  I prefer to see my glass half full.”

Tom Curley also announced in his closing remarks: "I want to thank Justin St-Louis for his two years at ACT and I would like to welcome Marvin Galarneau to the position of Media Director."

Laperle's championship winning team.
Banquet emcee Troy Germain. 
Tom Curley