Plattsburgh, NY - Two weeks ago at Devil's Bowl Speedway, Eight-time American Canadian Tour Stock Car Champion Brian Hoar lost the race by .028 of a second - the closest margin of victory in ACT history. The ACT 100 at Airborne Speedway on Saturday, May 18 was decided by the exact same margin, but this time it was all Hoar, earning the victory with an epic last lap pass of ACT Point Leader Jimmy Hebert, leaving rival Wayne Helliwell, Jr. to round out the podium in third.
In the early going, Hebert muscled by polesitter Eric Chase in the outside lane to gain the lead, bringing Helliwell in tow along with Tiverton, RI's Ray Parent. The trio split from the field, setting a blistering pace that sent the leaders into lap traffic before lap 30 of the 100-lap event. Meanwhile, Hoar quietly worked his way from his 13th starting position into the top five.
By lap 33, Helliwell was ready to launch his assault on Hebert's back bumper for the lead, but Hebert held his ground, fighting tooth and nail to keep his position at the point. The first caution of the race came on lap 54, bringing the leaders back into the waiting arms of the field.
On the restart, Helliwell easily muscled ahead in the outside lane, taking the lead only for a lap when a caution came out for the spinning car of Rowley, MA native Eddie MacDonald. Hebert quickly learned from the ACT Champion.
When the race resumed, Hebert blasted to the point while Hoar closed in on the pair. Hoar quickly engaged in the battle for the lead, momentarily diving three wide in a battle for the ages as the laps waned on. As the former Champions swarmed him, Hebert only fought harder, holding the two off as they battled for the second position. By lap 64, Hoar had disposed of Helliwell and set his target on Hebert. Three laps later, he stripped the point leader of the top spot on the outside and looked to be on his way to victory.
A lap 78 caution setup Hebert on the outside of the 8-time Champion, and with 22 laps to go, the sophomore driver dropped the gloves and powered his way back to the lead by a nose. While Hebert and Hoar clawed for the win, Parent began a second battle with Helliwell just behind the two for third.
Helliwell momentarily moved into third until a daring cross over move by Parent reignited the struggle, but with 10 laps to go Hebert and Hoar continued to trade the lead back and forth. The battle raged on until an expert move by Hebert pinned Hoar behind lap traffic with two laps remaining, handing Hebert the lead as they took the white flag.
In the final lap, Hoar drove deep into turns 1 &2, shocking Hebert and a packed Airborne crowd as he nosed up to the door of the point leader on the back stretch. The pair entered turns 3 and 4 side-by-side and powered to a drag race down the front stretch. When the dust settled, Hoar had won by the exact same margin he had lost by two weeks before: .028 of a second.
When asked about how he felt about the victory, Hoar could no longer contain his emotion.
"It feels (expletive) awesome!" Hoar shouted in victory lane. "I'm pumped. The whole time I was thinking 'Those damn rookies, they are learning too quick!' I'm out of breath, and I was every lap out there," he finished.
Hebert was out of breath, too.
"I have never driven so hard in my life," said Hebert after the race. "We rubbed all the way to that line. That was the most fun I've ever had," he finished.
Helliwell claimed third over Parent by 2 hundredths of a second himself, with Brent Dragon following behind to round out the top five. Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Ben Lynch, Glen Luce, Rowland Robinson, Jr., and Todd Davis rounded out the top ten. The race was completed in just 40 minutes and 19 seconds and was slowed by only three cautions.
Hoar has already qualified for the Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, along with Hebert and Helliwell.
The American Canadian Tour now heads to Groveton, NH's Riverside Speedway for the fifth point counting race of the season on Saturday, June 2.
Airborne ACT 100 Unofficial Results
American Canadian Tour
Airborne Speedway - Plattsburgh, NY
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Pos. (Start) Driver, Hometown, Laps Completed
1. (13) Brian Hoar, Williston, VT, 100 Laps
2. (2) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, 100 Laps
3. (4) Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Dover, NH, 100 Laps
4. (6) Ray Parent, Tiverton, RI, 100 Laps
5. (9) Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
6. (10) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, NH, 100 Laps
7. (17) Ben Lynch, Huntersville, NC, 100 Laps
8. (7) Glen Luce, Turner, ME, 100 Laps
9. (3) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, ME, 100 Laps
10. (18) Todd Davis, Claremont, NH, 100 Laps
11. (12) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
12. (14) Dan McHattie, Cavan, ON, 100 Laps
13. (8) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, VT, 100 Laps
14. (16) #Travis Stearns, Auburn, ME, 100 Laps
15. (1) Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 100 Laps
16. (5) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, MA, 100 Laps
17. (25) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 100 Laps
18. (22) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, NH, 100 Laps
19. (15) Jeff White, Winthrop, ME, 100 Laps
20. (11) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT, 100 Laps
21. (23) #Brandon Atkins, Ausable Forks, NY, 99 Laps
22. (19) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY, 99 Laps
23. (20) Bryan Mercer, Port Hope, ON, 99 Laps
24. (28) #Joey M. Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, 99 Laps
25. (26) David Whitcomb, Essex Jct., VT, 99 Laps
26. (21) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, MA, 98 Laps
27. (24) Kevin Boutin, Jr., Fairfax, VT, 97 Laps
28. (27) Leo Poirier, Quebec, QC, 53 Laps
Lap Leaders: Jimmy Hebert, 1-54; Wayne Helliwell, Jr., 55; Hebert, 56-67; Brian Hoar, 68-78; Hebert, 79-83; Hoar, 84; Hebert, 85-86; Hoar, 87; Hebert, 88-99; Hoar, 100.
Time of Race: 40:19
Margin of Victory: .028 seconds
Cautions: 3 (laps 54, 55, 78)
Heat Winners: Jimmy Hebert, Brian Hoar, Bobby Therrien
Consi Winners: Glen Luce