Sean Kennedy of Dunrobin, Ontario captured the TOROMONT 100, the fourth race on the ACT Castrol Series schedule. By capturing this win, Kennedy, a regular competitor at Capital City Speedway, near Ottawa, Canada's capital, becomes the first Ontario driver to be invited to the ACT Invitational 50 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He joins Brad Leighton, Eric Williams, Joey Polewarczk, Scott Payea, Patrick Laperle, Jean-François Déry and Donald Theetge in the drivers having earned their way to the special event held on NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend in September. Finishing behind Kennedy were Patrick Laperle and Jonathan Urlin.
St-Joseph-du-lac, QC's Daniel Decoste, St-Nicola, QC's Yvon Bédard and South Burlington, Vermont's Trampas Demers were event winners in qualifying. Fast paced heats, which were pretty uneventful, except for heat number 1 when rookie driver Valérie Chiasson got into what looked like a minor incident.
Unfortunately, right front suspension components were damaged. She would miss the consolation race and eventually drop out of the main event just a few laps into the race when the rack and pinion let go. She finished thirty second out of the thirty three cars that were onsite for competition. All thirty three started the main event, making it the largest Late Model field in history to compete at Capital City Speedway.
The feature race's front row was all about Ontario. Series Castrol driver and local hero, from Carleton Place, Spencer MacPherson was the pole sitter. On the outside of row 1, fellow driver from North Gower, Ontario, Matt Moffet.
When the green flag dropped, Moffet jumped into the lead. He would go on to lead the first 24 circuits. He had to defend the top spot from third place starter Ken Baird over the distance and five restarts. Meanwhile Sean Kennedy, who started ninth in the field, had worked his way to second third place. After the fifth restart he squeezed in behind Moffet to overtake Baird and took only four laps to get around Moffet.
Kennedy would go on to lead the remaining 75 circuits and was never really challenged for the lead.
“We had a great race car,” said Kennedy. “For the last three years we have been learning this car and this race track. We are at a point were we are starting to know what each requires to be fast. We are tied with Steve Munro in leading the points. Obviously finishing first makes it very sweet. But to have the opportunity to go race at Loudon is a life time one. I look forward to racing the ACT competitors there in September.”
Kennedy, a weekly competitor at Capital City, appreciates the fact that it is close to home and he races a scaled back schedule, racing every other weekend. The schedule is perfect for my team. In addition to racing the ACT competitors at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sprint Cup weekend, Kennedy as penciled in the Kawartha race in July. “The competition at Kawartha will be alot stronger, but I look forward to going there as well, it will be a good road trip.”
Patrick Laperle, who started 17th, worked his way to the front, capitalized on the heavy traffic and numerous early cautions. By Lap 20, he had cracked the top 10.
“My crew gave me a great car. I was going thru the field like a hot knife thru butter. Seeing how strong I was I started thinking that a win was within reach. On the last restart I started outside Sean [Kennedy], that's when reality hit me. He drove in so deep and so fast, while I was sliding thru the corner. He had quite a hot rod. He kicked everyone's butt here” said Laperle.
Jonathan Urlin of Condon, Ontario finished third after starting sixth.
“I had so much fun. Racing with ACT is always fun, but tonight was special. The car count and my car was great to finish third in this ultra competitive field makes it sweet” declared Urlin. A regular at Delaware Speedway, he drove seven hours Friday night after a double feature (finished 7th and 5th) to get to Capital City.
When asked about the pass he did on Laperle with less than five laps left for the second spot and only to give it back to Laperle with less than three to go he added “At that point I thought we were racing for the lead. I had no clue there was only two and a half laps to go, we were caught behind slow cars. I didn't want to risk it... thinking there was more laps in the race. But has we got to the line the flagman pulled out the two flags signalling two to go. I knew I was in trouble. Patrick worked the traffic smart and I let him get it easy.”
Pole sitter Matt Moffet finished fourth. And St-Nicolas, QC's own Yvon Bédard finished a solid fifth.
“For once I didn't have any issues. I been fast at each of the races, but there was always something forcing us to go in the pits. This time everything fell in place and we ran just as fast early on as we were at the end. We did have a scare. When we battled for position with Laperle the car started hitting the cutoff when I was getting on the gas. I said to myself we just broke a transmission. I realized we had dropped out of gear. We put it back in gear and continued the race without and issues. We look forward to Ste-Croix were we always do good.”
ACT Castrol Series points leader and last week's event winner Donald Theetge finished sixth after having started 13th in the field. This weekend's result puts an end to Theetge's streak of consecutive podium finishes at 3, including one win.
St-Joseph-du-lac's Daniel Decoste survived an early incident to finish sevent. “I was being easy on the car. This race track is very thigh and difficult to pass on. For no reason the 14 [car driven by the event winner Sean Kennedy] spun me out. I was very upset, but I stayed calm. Its not like I was in his way there was room on the outside, instead he dove inside and knocked me out of the way. Finishing sixth is ok. But I want to be there at the end without having issues. It feels like unfinished business.”
The point chase picture changes again. Theetge is still on top with 343 points, but his margin over second place is now 26 points, with Laperle moving back in the second spot with 317 points. Karl Allard (who finished 15) drops to third with 293 points. JF Déry is fourth with 282 points and South Burlington, Vermont's Trampas Demers is fifth with 270 points.
Next weekend the ACT Castrol Series takes on Riverside Speedway in Ste-Croix-de-Lotbinière near Quebec City, on Saturday June 20th. The series returns after a two year absence from the 5/8 mile oval. Much needed improvements were performed to the facility, such as permanent facilities, a new tower, new restaurants (no longer required to visit two windows for a burger and a drink) and repaving.