Thunder Road SpeedBowl
ACTion News 2/14/05
Happy Valentines Day, everybody! Love is in the air, and, lately, so are congratulations in this column space. For the second week in a row, a hearty “atta-boy” is in order. This time, it’s for our very own Tom Curley, President of the American-Canadian Tour and Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl. Last Thursday, Mr. Curley was honored in Lake Mary, FL by the more than 1,000 members of Racing Promotion Monthly (RPM) as the 2004 Auto Racing Promoter of the Year, the highest honor among short track promoters. Curley was earlier named New England Regional Promoter of the Year, and entered onto the final ballot for the ARPY. The nomination was his third, and he beat out some tough customers, including former ARPY winner Bob Lawton of Boone (Iowa) Speedway fame.

Curley, the innovative promoter with a reputation for being a fiery personality, was humbled and gracious in his acceptance. “I am so thrilled to have won this award,” he said. “After being known as the maverick, the temperamental renegade for over 25 years, it’s a great feeling to know that my colleagues think that I’ve made a difference. I’m very, very appreciative to RPM and to everyone else for honoring me with this award. It’s an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment.”

From all of us at ACT and Thunder Road, we are very proud of you, and thanks for everything – from pit meetings to spec motors!

The other big news this week is the ACT Late Model Tour’s already-packed entry list. The more the merrier, we say! As of this writing, quite a few drivers have filed a full-season entry blank for 2005. The list includes Vermonters Jean-Paul Cyr, Phil Scott, and Dave Whitcomb, who share six titles between them. They will be joined by fellow Woodchuck hotshots, Brent Dragon, Joey Laquerre, Dave Pembroke, Cooper MacRitchie, Jamie Fisher, Joe Becker, Trampas and Dennis Demers, Jacob McGrath, and rookies Bill Sawyer and Scott Payea.

But the Green Mountain boys aren’t the only ones making noise right now. In fact, the rest of the Northeast is doing a mic check, and they’re just about ready to blow the speakers out. New Hampshire will be represented by “Rocket” Roger Brown, David Avery, defending Rookie of the Year B.J. Piekarski, Kenny Dufour, Dan Colby, and newbies Ken Haley, Bill Duggan, Jamien Deschenes, and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. Maine boasts 2004 ACT Sportsmanship Award winner Ron Henry (shown left), Oxford Plains Speedway veteran Doug Coombs, “Lightning” Lew Fortin of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, and Wiscasset Speedway’s Mark Norris. To the west, New York has former Airborne Speedway Champion Mark Lamberton, who recently announced a new deal with ACT stalwart Jeffords Steel, and young Bryant Trim, fourth in Adirondack Speedway points in 2004. A southern invasion is led by Massachusetts drivers Denny Stampfl, Marc Curtis, Jr., and Mark Durgin, while former Thompson Speedway king Dennis Botticello of Suffield, CT will pilot the #03 Scott Fearn-owned machine. From the frigid north, ACT veteran Patrick Laperle of St-Denis, QC will make another run at champion Cyr’s crown.

If you do a quick count, that’s 34 drivers. 34! That’s double the count from 2004, and we’re only in the middle of February. If you thought the New England Dodge Dealers National 150 at Lee USA was something last year, wait until this September!

The NAPA Tiger Sportsmen now officially have another former champion to deal with. The 1985 Thunder Road and Vermont State title winner has purchased his license, and the rumors have seemingly been put to bed. Although he was unavailable for comment at this writing, a little birdie told us he plans to run the full Tiger Tour schedule. Did we mention he was also the winner of the first three Thunder Road Late Model championships? Ladies and gentlemen, from Graniteville, VT, Chuck Beede. Reportedly, Chuck will attempt to run the eight-race series in the #54 car, while eldest daughter Rachel will continue racing it in the weekly Thursday night events at Thunder Road. Little sister Renee, newly engaged and in her senior year as an education major at Lyndon State College, will most likely take most of the season off. So officially, that’s two former champs in the fray. Stay tuned.

Did you know…?
• In the 1980s, Brothers Chuck and Dan Beede were the guys to beat. From 1984 to 1987 alone, the duo won 13 races (Chuck – 6, Dan – 7) and six championships. In addition to Chuck’s 1985 titles, Dan was the Catamount Stadium Champion in 1985 and 1986, King of the Road in 1987, and VT State Champion in 1986 (after finishing second to Chuck in ’85). Dan later won the 1991 Milk Bowl, and Chuck added the former Twin 50 Series title to his scrapbook in 1998.

• Jean-Paul Cyr has been on the ACT scene no less than three times. Cyr finished 34th in VT State Flying Tiger standings in his rookie year, 1985, and turned his attention to dirt racing soon after. After winning the Pro Stock title at Devil’s Bowl in Fair Haven, VT in 1990, Cyr returned to ACT and picked up the 1994 ACT Late Model Tour title. He earned a second title in 1996, and then tried his hand in the NASCAR Modified and Busch North series. He re-returned to ACT in 2001 and, in case you hadn’t heard, has won the last two ACT Late Model Tour titles.

• Believe it or not, Patrick Laperle’s first-ever race in a stock car of any kind was in a Late Model at Airborne Speedway in 1998. The Quebec driver proved to be a quick learner, as he grabbed Rookie of the Year honors and 4th overall that season. Since then, he has won seven ACT Late Model Tour events (fourth best all-time), and has finished in the Tour’s Top 10 four times. Before driving, Patrick was a successful radio-controlled car racer and worked in the pits with his legendary uncle, Roger, on the ACT Pro Stock Tour.

Another reminder to ACT teams in all divisions that while paperwork isn’t fun, it is a necessary evil. Fill out and send in what you’ve got, and we’ll process it and make sure you and your sponsors get the proper credit all year long! Thanks! Send your forms to ACT, P.O. Box 296, Waterbury, VT 05676. Comments, questions, rumors, conjecture, etc. can be forwarded to justin@acttour.com.