Thunder Road SpeedBowl
Cyr, Laquerre, and ACT Title Winners Feted at Banquet of Champions
South Burlington, VT – Jean-Paul Cyr of Milton, VT was awarded his 2004 ACT Dodge Tour Championship trophy at the ACT Banquet of Champions, held Saturday night at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center. The ACT Banquet of Champions honored Cyr and Top 10 drivers from the ACT Dodge Tour, as well as Track Champions and Top 10 racers from Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in Barre, VT and Airborne Int’l Raceway in Plattsburgh, NY.

Cyr raised his career win total to 12 in 2004, and for driving the Ehler’s RV/Sticks ‘N Stuff Chevrolet to his second straight crown he took home a check for $10,000. The 2004 Championship was his fourth overall since 1994. ACT Dodge Tour Runner-up Brent Dragon, also of Milton, VT collected $5,000, while third-place driver Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC earned $2,500.

Veteran driver Joey Laquerre of East Montpelier, VT was presented the 36th annual Don MacTavish Award for his lifelong contributions to the sport of short track stock car racing. Laquerre, 61, is the only driver to have won a Thunder Road feature event in each of the last five decades, and collected fifth-place awards for both the ACT Dodge Tour and Thunder Road weekly Late Model standings in 2004.

Thunder Road Late Model Champion Cris Michaud of Williamstown, VT was crowned “King of the Road” for the second time in his career. Michaud’s four-win effort netted him $5,000. Island Pond, VT’s Reno Gervais defended his 2003 NAPA Tiger Sportsman Championship, earning $1,000. Joe Small of Milton, VT was crowned the Allen Lumber Street Stock Champion, with Ron Gabaree of Barre, VT collecting the same honors in the PowerShift Junkyard Warrior division.

Milton, VT’s Bill Sawyer, at age 60, was named the Airborne Raceway Track Champion with his solid NAPA Tiger Sportsman title effort, and picked up a check for $2,500. BFA-Fairfax high school senior Richie Turner of Fairfax, VT accepted his Renegade division Championship, while Ed Doner of Clintonville, NY capped a four-win season with his Junkyard Warrior Championship.

Twenty year-old B.J. Piekarski of Nashua, NH was honored as the ACT Dodge Tour’s 2004 Rookie of the Year. Piekarski, one of only six drivers to qualify for all 14 events in 2004, finished 15th overall. Rusty Berger of South Burlington, VT picked up Thunder Road Late Model Rookie of the Year honors, and was flanked by Tom Therrien of Hinesburg, VT in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division and Joel Hodgdon of Craftsbury, VT in the Allen Lumber Street Stocks. Aaron Maynard of Milton, VT was named the Airborne Raceway Rookie of the Year in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division. The sixteen year-old Hodgdon, sixth in Thunder Road Street Stock points, was also awarded the Dr. Gordon R. “Doc” Nielsen Award for the most outstanding season-long performance by a rookie across all ACT divisions.

“Most Improved Driver” and “Sportsmanship” awards, voted on by drivers and ACT officials, highlighted the evening. Steve Fisher of Shelburne, VT was honored as the Late Model Most Improved Driver after improving his personal best ACT Dodge Tour standing by ten positions to finish seventh and earning his first career win in the New England Dodge Dealers 100 at Seekonk (MA) Speedway in August. Chris Gendreau of Waterbury Ctr., VT was named the Most Improved Driver in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division after earning his first career Thunder Road win in 2004.

First-year ACT Dodge Tour competitor Ron Henry of New Gloucester, ME earned Sportsmanship honors in the Late Model division, while Kerry Henry or Barre, VT was given Sportsmanship laurels in the NAPA Tiger Sportsman division. The Allen Lumber Street Stock division’s “Ed Carroll Memorial Sportsmanship Award”, in its third year, was given to Tunbridge, VT driver Gary Mullen.

The Ken Squier Award, which recognizes a person or group that greatly contributes to local stock car racing through service at and away from the track, was given to ACT Marketing/Advertising Director Marjorie Fay. Fay, of Richmond, VT, began selling t-shirts for ACT in 1985, and has also served as Media Coordinator and chief scorer.

The fourth annual Francis “Bubby” Wilder Dedication Award was presented to Dean Gallison and Tina Boutin of Middlesex, VT. Gallison, a former Thunder Road Late Model competitor, has been a fixture on the ACT technical inspection staff since 1997. Boutin, who first became involved in local racing during the early 1980s, has served as an ACT staff administrator since 1995.

ACT will kick off its 20th season on Sunday, April 24 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH, with ACT Late Model Tour’s opening event. For more information, contact ACT at (802) 244-6963, or visit www.acttour.com.