Thunder Road SpeedBowl
ACTion News 2/07/05
We recently congratulated ACT alumnus Rollie MacDonald on his being named to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame. Turns out, he’s not the only one that deserves accolades. After fifty-plus years of driving, owning and building race cars, legendary underdog Gardiner Leavitt of Kezar Falls, ME (photo left with Bruce Elder (L); Steve LeClair photo) has been inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Leavitt, who celebrated his 74th birthday on Sunday, was the sentimental favorite on the former ACT Pro Stock Tour (shown right in 1982), and used a sort of “tortoise and the hare” approach on the race track. While he was by no means the proverbial tortoise, Leavitt earned just three Top 5 finishes in 231 starts on the Tour. Despite never carrying the checkered flag, however, Leavitt finished fourth overall in 1979, eighth in 1980, and later found great success with Kelly Moore, Brad Leighton, and Steve Knowlton steering his famous #1x machines. Today, Gardiner and wife June Leavitt are still a vibrant part of the Thunder Road and ACT scene, and make the eight-hour round trip to Barre, VT each Thursday with their much-visited and much-appreciated Action Racing parts trailer. It is our hope that the Leavitts remain a part of our lives for many years to come, and we humbly congratulate you, Gardiner, on your award.

Last week’s www.acttour.com poll asked fans who had the most dominant championship season in ACT Late Model history. 24% of the voters agreed that Brian Hoar’s five-win Tour campaign in 1999 was the best effort, while Jean-Paul Cyr’s 2003 title, highlighted by four trips to the winner’s circle was good enough for second. Although he missed out on the championship, Keith Lamell’s three Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman victories in 1988 could have been considered dominant that year. Three wins may not sound like a lot, but here’s the twist – 26 different drivers won that season! A year later, Lamell won three more times, one of 25 drivers to grab a win. “Why so many winners?” you ask. Well, not only were the NAPA Sportsman cars very competitive, there were a lot of them. So many, in fact, that the field was split into Low- and High-handicap features every week. Lamell’s older brother, Ron, and Greg “Burger” Blake were the champions in the respective seasons, and each took just a single victory during their title years.

Did you know…?
• With eleven Top 10 finishes in 2004, Eric Williams of Hyde Park, VT raised his Thunder Road Late Model career total to 92. Should he reach the 100 plateau by his 160th start (he’s at 145 now), he’ll be the fastest driver in history to hit the mark. Phil Scott took his 100th Top 10 in his 161st start in 2003. Not to be outdone, Dave Whitcomb scored #100 just two races later, in his 164th start. Joey Laquerre earned his 100th Top 10 at the Subway Labor Day Classic Sweepstakes in 2004, his 176th start.

• The top 20 Late Model drivers at Thunder Road in 2004 have accounted for no less than 40 track, series, and overall championships in Late Model, NAPA Tiger Sportsman, Allen Lumber Street Stock, and other racing divisions. Coincidentally, Laquerre (11), Whitcomb (7), and Scott (5) lead the way. With three Sportsman titles, Williams isn’t far behind.

• In ACT country, Scott’s name is synonymous with the number 14. The “Sailing Senator” has traditionally driven Fords carrying the number since his debut in the Sportsman division in 1991. But he hasn’t been #14 in every race. In July 1994, Scott borrowed a ride in Steve Minton’s #08 Pontiac at Thunder Road, finishing 23rd. In 1998, Scott double-dipped with a pair of cars in ACT Late Model Tour competition – the familiar green #14, and a blue Taurus that started as the #52 and later transformed into the #1. In fact, Scott used the #1 in five of the nine Tour races that year, and won the Fall Foliage with it at Airborne Speedway.

Attention, ACT teams in all divisions: Make sure to fill out and return all paperwork ASAP! This includes licenses, team registration, rookie, spec engine, and Late Model clutch forms. If you need any or all of these forms, give us a call at (802) 244-6963, or e-mail justin@acttour.com.