Chipman is the Big Winner at Lee
Miles Chipman is now a winner on the American-Canadian Tour.
With his victory on Friday night at Lee USA Speedway, Chipman joins a group of race winners that includes Jean-Paul Cyr, Brian Hoar, Patrick Laperle, Eddie MacDonald, Ben Rowe, Dale Shaw, Brad Leighton, Ryan Moore, D.J. Kennington, Brent Dragon, Joey Pole and Dave Whitcomb. Minutes after taking the checkered flag at Lee, Chipman was still stunned by his accomplished.
“I don't really know what to think.,” said Chipman. “I'm pretty overwhelmed. I knew that we had a good car, but I didn't think we had a winning car. The more that the race went on though, the more that I thought it was possible.”
Chipman is used to running 40-lap features as a regular in the Whelen All-American Series Late Models at Lee. Since the track uses the same rules package as the ACT Tour, Chipman decided to enter their race at Lee. Running a 150-lap race was a big of an adjustment for Chipman though. Not being used to the tempo of a longer race, left him wondering if he was running the pace that he needed during the running of the event.
“I couldn't figure out in the beginning if that was all that everyone had or if they were riding and biding their time,” said Chipman. “I didn't know if I was going to be the fool who burned his stuff up. But it never fell over and actually started getting better and better. So I was pretty stoked about that. This is our Friday night set-up and it never fell off.”
While Chipman might be new to winning ACT races, the team that he rode with to victory lane is not. New Hampshire's David Storey owns Chipman's #52 car and has owned or sponsored top running cars on the tour for guys like Buzzie Bezanson, Dale Shaw, Robbie Crouch and Dave Pembroke in the past.
“I started helping out Dave [Storey] right when I got started in racing,” said Chipman. “Back in '98, I helped on a car that Dave owned. In 2002 or so, when Buzzie Bezanson got back into it, I helped. We started to become good friends and last year on the night of the Lee banquet, Dave called me and asked if I wanted to run his car here and in some ACT races.”
“We couldn't really get a crew together, so we called Buzzie and his son Jamie. They've been helping out and we've been having a lot of fun at the races. That's what it is all about.”
And with that fun, and success on the racetrack, the team has been able to find more and more help for their efforts.
“We've been running good to start the season here, so it's been becoming easier. I'm excited because everyone is starting to have fun racing again, so it's a good time,” said Chipman.
Now that he knows that he can beat the ACT competitors on his own turf, Chipman is considering taking his show on the road when he schedule allows. That could include an entry into July's Oxford 250.
“That's starting to cross our minds,” said Chipman. “I don't know. The Tour race at Oxford next week could be a possibility to start getting ready for the 250.”
Labrecque Also Makes a Good Name for the Lee Regulars
Chipman's victory wasn't just a fluke for the Lee regulars in the ACT race there. Jeffrey Labrecque is also a Friday night runner at the track and he finished second to Chipman in the recent ACT show.
“I'm proud as a Lee regular and I'm more proud of my own race team,” said Labrecque. “To run with these guys really make it worth it all. I've never raced with such a good group of people. They give you so much room. It is a pleasure to run with them and it was good to have a good finish.”
Labrecque closed in on race winner Chipman near the end of the Lee race, but couldn't get close enough to really battle for the top spot.
“I just came up a couple laps shy I guess,” said Labrecque. “It would have been nice to try to get up there and see what we had for him. Because you can catch them, but that doesn't make it easy to pass him.”
“We were catching him. I don't know how quickly, though. The car was just really consistent on a long run. I think that was why Miles and I, as Lee regulars, benefitted tonight. We're used to running in the nighttime and the ACT guys don't run here at night. We know how this track, unlike most, loosens up. So we made adjustments. They were all real loose and had to run the second groove. It helped to be able to run on the white line.”
Like Chipman, Labrecque would like to run more ACT races when his Lee schedule allows.
“We're planning on trying to run a couple more ACT races at White Mountain and Airborne later on in the year,” said Labrecque. “Those are our plans for now.”
Another Race, Another Podium Finish for Hoar
While an ACT regular has not won a race yet in 2010, defending tour champion Brian Hoar hasn't finished off the podium yet. Hoar placed third at Lee and extended his point lead.
“I'll second and third place 'em to death,” said Hoar. “We've got a good thing going, we're running very good and we had a great racecar today. I just flat out used up the car early on.”
Hoar has experience at Lee in both an ACT Late Model and on the tour now known as NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. But what Hoar hasn't done much of at Lee is to race at night and that might have hurt his cause when it came to setting up his Rick and Michelle Paya-owned #37.
“It's a tough deal. It's been so long since I raced here in the dark and I don't remember really going from the light into the dark. With the Busch cars, we always ran in the afternoon here. So we really didn't know what the car was going to do and what to adjust.”
Still, things were better than when Hoar raced at Lee to start the 2009 season.
“Last year, we just screwed up so bad here. We started on the pole, tightened the car up and then had a tire issue where we went from firth to tenth - and we were just hanging on for tenth. “
Hoar started deep in the field this time at Lee and had to pass plenty of racecars before even seeing the leaders.
“We had a great racecar,” said Hoar. “Starting 13th, I had to use up more of the car than I wanted to especially when we had to race really hard early on to get by a few cars. I didn't know them very well and didn't know if I trusted them. That hurt us. Then I rode for awhile and around lap 100, we decided it was time to go.”
“I got up to the #52 [Chipman] car in traffic. I thought at that time that we were fairly equal and that maybe I had a little bit more for him. I figured than he burned up his stuff more than the #27 [early leader Wayne Helliwell, Jr.. I rode around in third for awhile behind those two and saved my stuff. I thought I was being the smart one. But obviously, he saved more than I knew about. Then it was like a light switch. My car got loose and it never came back. Even if I took it easy for a few laps, it just wouldn't get back. We were done. But that's the way it goes sometimes. At Oxford, we saved for too long. Here we probably pushed the trigger a little too early in the race.”
Williams Learns His New Car, Finishes Fourth
Eric Williams is sorting out a new car this season in ACT Late Models and at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT). He figured something out at Lee because his night ended with a solid fourth place finish.
“I'll take it,” said Williams. “I guess we are [figuring this car out]. For some reason, it was loose in the heat. It hadn't been all day, so we tightened it up and someone told us that the track tightened up more at night, so I fixed that and made more adjustments that I probably shouldn't have done, but you've got to try it. It was loose and I started to fall back, but then it started to get colder. I was smooth with the car and on the long runs, I was in good shape. In a short 10 laps or so, I was hurting until we started running again.
“I've raced here twice before. The last time though was about six or seven years ago. So I didn't know what to bring. I ended up bringing my Thunder Road set-up in the end. I don't know if it was right, but it worked out.”
Pole Rebounds From Bad Day to Finish Eighth
Joey Pole's bad luck season has included getting wrecked, suffering through mechanical problems and even not making an ACT race at a place where he is used to winning (Oxford Plains Speedway). Early in the day at Lee, it looked like Pole's woes would continue as his car shut off during its heat race. The #97 team kept plugged though, made repairs and ended up finishing a solid eighth in the feature race.
“What happened in the heat race couldn't be helped,” said Pole. “The distributor gear broke. Everyone worked hard and got it fixed just in time because we still had to qualify. We got in it and the car was awesome. It was all day except for that one problem. That set us back. I started so far back that by the time I got into the top ten, my tires were gone.”
“Considering the day that we had, this is a great run. It feels good to have a good finish. It's been a pretty rough year both K&N [Pro Series East] wise and with the Late Model. But we shined tonight.”
Pole hopes to improve his season even more this coming night as he heads back to Oxford.
“The last race we had there, we didn't even qualify,” said Pole. “We were fast in practice, but we had some issues that we couldn't control. It still sours us what happened there last time though because I think of the last six times we were there, we had five top five finishes with two wins. We're going there now to redeem ourselves.”
Dragon's Shot at Victory Goes Flat, But Seventh-Place is Salvaged
Brent Dragon looked like he might have been able to chase down the leaders and work his way towards a possible victory, but a flat right rear tire deflated those plans. Still, Dragon was able to rebound to finish a solid seventh.
“Once we got to third, I just rode there,” said Dragon. “I thought that we had something for the end to race with over the last 50 laps, but then the tire started going flat and there was nothing I got do. We got it changed and I got it back to seventh, so it was a good day in the end.