Lee, NH -- American Canadian Tour Rookie of the Year Jimmy Hebert disproved any ideas of a sophomore slump by earning his first-career ACT victory in style at the New Hampshire Governor's Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 14th. North Haverhill, NH's Travis Fadden and Rowley, MA's Eddie Macdonald finished out the podium for the season opening event.
The race began with Tiverton, RI's Ray Parent going door-to-door with pole sitter Fadden for the first six laps, until overtaking him for the early lead. Fadden stayed hooked to Parent's back bumper as the field stretched out, bringing defending ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. into third behind the two leaders. As the pair worked through lap traffic, Hebert worked his way from the 15th starting position to tenth, highlighting a string of daring moves with a 3-wide blast on lap 32. By lap 57, Hebert had maneuvered his way through the field to 6th place. Parent and Fadden continued to battle for the lead through lap traffic until a quick move by Fadden left Parent pinned behind a lapped car. Fadden stole the lead back, and showed the way until the first of six cautions on lap 89.
When the race returned to action, Fadden ran with the lead while Milton, VT's Scott Payea worked on Parent for second with Hebert in tow. After a handful of laps door-to-door, Payea earned the spot, but half-a-lap later found Hebert diving underneath him to take over the runner-up position. By lap 116 Hebert had caught Fadden for the lead, but an attempt to take it came up short when Fadden used the lapped cars to his advantage once again. While the two young guns battled at the front, two-time Bond Auto ACT Invitational winner Eddie Macdonald silently worked his way up to third from the 18th starting position.
On lap 125, the battle paused as Quebecer Alex Labbe and Somerville, MA's Jimmy Linardy spun in front of the field in turns one and two. When the race resumed, leader Travis Fadden had a mirror full of hometown hero Macdonald as he tried to pull away from Hebert who started outside. The race was slowed once again by a third caution, this time for Helliwell, who took an uncharacteristic spin in turns three and four after tight contact in the pack. Hebert learned from the first restart, and this time around, stole the lead using the outside lane while Macdonald dove underneath Fadden for second. A pair of spins slowed the race again on laps 130, and 131, leaving sophomore Hebert to fend for himself against the veteran Macdonald with Fadden on his bumper. On lap 136, Turner, ME's Glen Luce - who had been solidly inside the top ten all day - took a heartbreaking spin in front of the field to set up the final caution of the event.
When the green flag flew, Hebert powered ahead and brought Fadden with him, pushing experience aside and forcing Macdonald to third. Steuben, ME's Rowland Robinson and Parent shared career days finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Ben Lynch, Dave Farrington, Jr., Rookie Travis Stearns, Brian Hoar, and Scott Payea rounded out the top ten.
"This is just incredible I can't believe we did it," said an ecstatic Hebert in Victory Lane. "That's the first time this car has been on the track, and I'd say it's bad fast!"
Runner-up Travis Fadden was just as excited.
"Yesterday was the first time I've ever been around this place," said Fadden. "Earning the pole for today and getting second place is just awesome."
The race was completed in 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 27 seconds, and was slowed by just six cautions.
Hebert becomes the first Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational Qualifier with his New Hampshire Governor's Cup 150 victory. The American Canadian Tour will head to Barre, VT's Thunder Road for the 15th Annual Merchants Bank 150 on Sunday, April 28.
New Hampshire Governor's Cup 150
Lee USA Speedway - April 14th, 2013
American Canadian Tour
Pos. (Start) Driver, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 15 ) Jimmy Hebert , Williamstown, VT , 150 Laps
2. ( 1 ) Travis Fadden , N. Haverhill, NH , 150 Laps
3. ( 18 ) Eddie MacDonald , Rowley, MA , 150 Laps
4. ( 8 ) Rowland Robinson Jr. , Steuben, ME , 150 Laps
5. ( 2 ) Ray Parent , Tiverton, RI , 150 Laps
6. ( 12 ) Ben Lynch , Huntersville, NC , 150 Laps
7. ( 17 ) Dave Farrington, Jr. , Jay, ME , 150 Laps
8. ( 24 ) Travis Stearns , Auburn, ME , 150 Laps
9. ( 20 ) Brian Hoar , Williston, VT , 150 Laps
10. ( 7 ) Scott Payea , Milton, VT , 150 Laps
11. ( 11 ) Jeff White , Winthrop, ME , 150 Laps
12. ( 14 ) Donald Theetge , Boischatel, QC , 150 Laps
13. ( 23 ) Brent Dragon , Milton, VT , 150 Laps
14. ( 5 ) Wayne Helliwell, Jr. , Dover, NH , 150 Laps
15. ( 13 ) Shawn Martin , Turner, ME , 150 Laps
16. ( 16 ) Pat Floyd , Chester, NH , 150 Laps
17. ( 9 ) Glen Luce , Turner, ME , 150 Laps
18. ( 19 ) Shawn Knight , South Paris, ME , 150 Laps
19. ( 10 ) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. , Hudson, NH , 150 Laps
20. ( 3 ) Jamie Fisher , Shelburne, VT , 149 Laps
21. ( 4 ) Todd Davis , Claremont, NH , 148 Laps
22. ( 22 ) Eric Chase , Milton, VT , 148 Laps
23. ( 25 ) Bobby Therrien , Hinesburg, VT , 148 Laps
24. ( 27 ) Derek Lynch , Warkworth, ON , 147 Laps
25. ( 29 ) Jimmy Linardy , Somerville, MA , 146 Laps
26. ( 26 ) Kyle Welch , Newport, NH , 145 Laps
27. ( 6 ) Chip Grenier , Graniteville, VT , 138 Laps
28. ( 28 ) Jean-Paul Cyr , Milton, VT , 127 Laps
29. ( 30 ) Alex Labbe , St-Albert, QC , 122 Laps
30. ( 21 ) Luke Hinkley , Claremont, NH , 111 Laps
Lap Leaders: Travis Fadden, 1-2; Ray Parent, 3-73; Fadden, 74; Parent, 75-81; Fadden, 82-125; Jimmy Hebert, 126-150.
Time of Race: 1:03:27
Margin of Victory: 1.083 seconds
Cautions: 6 (laps 89, 124, 125, 129, 131, 136)
Heat Winners: Donald Theetge, Jimmy Hebert, Chip Grenier, Pat Floyd
Consi Winners: Shawn Martin, Brian Hoar
B-Feature Winner: Bobby Therrien