The American Canadian Tour (ACT) crowned Brian Hoar of Williston, VT and Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, Quebec as the ACT Tour and Série ACT Castrol stock car racing champions respectively, at the ACT Banquet of Champions on Saturday, January 21 at the Double Tree Inn in Burlington, VT. It was the first ever combined banquet for the sister championship stock car racing series. Both champions cashed a point fund check of $10,000.
Hoar earned his eighth career championship on the U.S.-based ACT Tour during another strong season in which he earned five wins in 12 events. With those five wins he solidified himself on top of the ACT Late Model career wins list with 33 and added wins at four new tracks including New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He also won the Showdown at Chaudiere in Vallee-Jct., Quebec and the 49th Annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl at Barre, VT’s Thunder Road. Hoar and car owner Rick Paya earned their third straight ACT Tour title.
Laperle earned his second career title on the Quebec-based Série ACT Castrol. He finished the season with four wins in his 12 events, including his first ever win in the Quebec season finale St-Eustache 300 at Autodrome St-Eustache. Laperle and his crew chief brother, Eric, now have 13 career wins on the Série ACT Castrol. Patrick is also the 2008 ACT Tour (U.S.) Champion and three-time People’s United Bank Milk Bowl Champion.
The 43rd Annual Don MacTavish Award went to ACT veteran Jimmy “Scruffy” Linardy of Somerville, MA. The prestigious MacTavish Award is named for legendary New England racer Don MacTavish who was killed in 1969 while racing at Daytona International Speedway. Linardy received the award for his continued support of ACT and Northeast stock car racing and his always positive attitude. Those qualities also helped Linardy grace the cover of this month’s edition of Late Model Racer magazine.
Wayne Helliwell, Jr. of Dover, NH and car owner Bruce Bernhardt were honored for their second straight Ford Blue Oval Cup Championship. The special program was designed for competitors who ran the Ford crate engine on the ACT Late Model Tour, Série ACT Castrol Edge or any of the twelve ACT affiliated tracks. Helliwell is a multi-time Lee USA Speedway Champion and joined the ACT Tour full-time in 2011. While visiting most of the tracks on the ACT schedule for the first time, they put together an impressive season with 10 top tens in 12 starts and earned second in the ACT Tour standings. They also earned feature wins at Twin State Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl on their way to the Ford title.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Ben Ashline of Pittston, ME and Yannick Tremblay of Chicoutimi, Quebec for the ACT Tour and Série ACT Castrol, respectively. The 21-year-old Ashline and his family team claimed 9th in the final standings of the ACT Tour. They also earned a career best 5th place finish in the Spring Green at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT. Tremblay finished 9th in the Série ACT Castrol standings on his way to the Rookie title. He also gained the respect of the veterans with his clean driving on his way to just one did not finish for the year.
The Crew Chief of the Year Awards were awarded for the fourth consecutive season on the U.S. tour and for the first time on the Série ACT Castrol. Eric Laperle earned the first ever Castrol Crew Chief Award as part of the two-time Série ACT Castrol Championship team with his brother Patrick behind the wheel. Bruce Bernhardt received the fourth ACT Tour Crew Chief of the Year Award as part of the second place ACT Tour and Ford Blue Oval Cup Championship team with driver Wayne Helliwell, Jr.
Teams will continue to prepare their cars for the 2012 seasons during the winter months. The U.S.-based ACT Tour will start their season at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH with a 150-lap event on Sunday, April 15. The Quebec-based Série ACT Castrol kicks off their season with a 100-lap event at Autodrome Montmagny in Montmagny, Quebec on Saturday, May 26. The 2012 Série ACT Castrol schedule will consist of 12 events, while the ACT Tour will hold 10 events. Special events include the 50th People’s United Bank Milk Bowl at Thunder Road, the fourth annual ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Showdown at Chaudiere at Autodrome Chaudiere, and the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.