Vermont Motorsports Magazine

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''La Grand Laperle'' Favored in ACT International 500 Media Poll

Posted By Tj Ingerson On July 19, 2013

Categories: American-Canadian Tour

Waddell CommunicationsPatrick Laperle is no stranger to Airborne Park Speedway and has been selected as the clear-cut favorite by the media members to claim the inaugural ACT International 500. (Eric LaFleche/ photo)PHOTO: Patrick Laperle is no stranger to Airborne Park Speedway and has been selected as the clear-cut favorite by the media members to claim the inaugural ACT International 500. (Eric LaFleche/ photo)

A poll of short track stock car media members conducted by Vermont Motorsports Magazine revealed how important Patrick Laperle’s entry is to the ACT International 500.

They have clearly named him the favorite to claim the $25,000 prize.

Of the 13 journalists polled, six, or nearly half, of them picked “Le Grand Laperle” to win, and nearly everyone mentioned him as a contender. Laperle has been excellent at Airborne, with five of his 18 career ACT Late Model Tour wins coming at the half-mile oval, including his first career triumph in 1999. Laperle is also a three-time Milk Bowl champion, which utilizes the same format as what will be used in the ACT International 500.

Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., nabbed four votes, while Wayne Helliwell Jr., of Dover, N.H., picked up a pair of voates. Brent Dragon, Eddie MacDonald, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., and Bobby Therrien each collected one vote by the assembled media members.

T.J. Ingerson
Vermont Motorsports Magazine

Pick: Joey Polewarczyk Jr.
Confidence and momentum are two of the largest blind factors in racing -- and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. has them. The hottest driver on the ACT Late Model Tour is carrying a ton of momentum off of three straight wins, and has not finished outside the top-ten since May. Polewarczyk, better known as “Joey Pole” to many fans, took his lumps in his first few Milk Bowl appearances, but has been one of the top contenders since, including one win. Laperle, Hoar, Helliwell, and all the top contenders will be there, but at the end of the day, the No. 97 and it’s driver will be hoisting the big trophy.

Matt Kentfield

Pick: Eddie MacDonald
I wanted badly to find a darkhorse pick for the win in the ACT International 500. My heart always likes to see underdogs pick up victories in big races like this, but my brain is taking over and going with someone who has proven to be successful in big-money, high-prestige events. There's just something about the mid-Summer weeks of the racing season that brings out the best in Eddie MacDonald, so he's my pick for the win. He's won the big race in Maine two times before and he's fresh off a solid sixth-place finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Columbus last week. Eddie's not the kind of guy who will go out and set the world on fire in the three segments, but he'll be consistent enough to be there when the big money is on the line late in the race.

Eric LaFleche, Victory Lane Radio

Pick: Bobby Therrien
I believe this young kid is on the brink of being one of the elite's on the American Canadian Tour. Coming off his first victory, Therrien's confidence cannot be any higher. Look for the kid to follow some of the veterans to the front of the pack in each segment and watch him pass the best of the best on his way to collecting the biggest paycheck in ACT Late Model sanctioned racing history.

Mark McKeon
Area Auto Racing News; Victory Lane Radio

Pick: Wayne Helliwell Jr.
Joey Pole has the big-mo-from-three-in-a-row on the tour, though that streak ended recently. He’s a sentimental favorite because my ancestors left a few letters from our name at Ellis Island and the last half of his name disappears as frequently as a 16-year-old with a set of car keys and a credit card. Patrick Laperle’s record at the Milk Bowl shows he knows how to win segment races and he has deep, bilingual roots at Airborne. He’s also a sentimental favorite because when I was single the-one-that-got-away was a hirsute Quebec girl. Brian Hoar has to be a favorite because he’s Brian Hoar and that’s about as unsentimental as you can get. So I’ll pick Wayne Helliwell, Jr. because I like his haircut.

Brandon Paul, Vermont Motorsports Magazine

Pick: Brian Hoar /i>
Brian Hoar, Rick Paya and the RPM team have had over two months to prepare for this race. Since his last event, which happened to be a win at Airborne in the 100-lap ACT event on May 18, Hoar and the #37 RPM team have been waiting for this event. Given the fact that Hoar is not running for points in 2013, his focus is strictly on winning races. More importantly, winning big races. What's more important than the biggest race in ACT Late Model history? The biggest race in ACT Late Model history that pays over $25,000 to winner. Expect Hoar and the RPM team to be in victory lane in Plattsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

Marc Patrick Roy

Pick: Patrick Laperle
Helliwell, Hoar and Laperle are my favorite to win. But this game of prediction is about picking ONE driver. Hoar won the spring green. Helliwell finished third in the spring event, but was the winner last fall. Laperle, who is racing part time this year, won in a Super Late Model and he is seeking a first Late Model win. I will have to go with Laperle who is great at Monza styles, amazing at Airborne and wants to win bad on the ACT circuit.

Dylan Scott
WCAX-TV (CBS, Burlington, Vt.)

Pick: Brian Hoar
I’m picking Brian Hoar as the ACT International 500 winner this year. Of all of the drivers I’ve watched this season, it’s been Hoar who has seemed to consistently put himself at the top of the field when it counts the most. With this race being one of both stamina and strategy, I think the Williston-native has the experience and understanding to do what he needs to in the first two races to take the checkered flag when the smoke has settled in race No.3.

Ricky St. Clair
Vermont Motorsports Magazine, Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Press-Republican

Pick: Patrick Laperle
Laperle is always a threat to win at Airborne Park Speedway. The Saint-Denis, Que., driver has accumulated four victories -- 1999, 2005, 2009 and 2010 -- in the prestigious Fall Foliage event at Airborne. He has a significant amount of experience and familiarity with segment racing, winning three Milk Bowl titles at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in the 2000s. If Laperle can save equipment and specialize in tire management, the four-time ACT champion is my choice to pull off the $25,000 payday.

Justin St. Louis
WDEV Radio, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times Argus, Rutland (Vt.) Herald, Vermont Motorsports Magazine

Pick: Brent Dragon
Brent Dragon is just about due for a win, right? How about one that pays 25 large? Brent Dragon hasn't been flashy by any means whatsoever this year, but he has displayed the consistency that I think the three 100-lap segments are going to demand of the winner. Something tells me that the top six or seven "usual suspects" will encounter their share of problems in one of the segments, and Dragon will end up on top.

Leif Tillotson

Pick: Wayne Helliwell Jr.
He has been near the front of every race all year. You can't just push your way to the front of the segments in this race and Wayne is fast enough to race to the front of each segment and smart enough to keep his car together doing it. Plus he and his team are hungry. Real hungry.

Elgin Traylor

Pick: Patrick Laperle
Looking at the numbers there are so many options to pick from. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and my pick is Patrick Laperle. We are unsure of what type of race we will see and how it shakes out. Something just tells me that the friendly Canadian will either be super-fast or have the right combination to be the last man standing with the Canadian flag and the checkered flag in victory lane.

Alan Ward, Victory Lane Radio

Pick: Brian Hoar
Who else but Brian Hoar. I don't think the "layoff", if you want to call it that will hurt him at all. The 3x100 format plays into his hands as you have to be cool, calculated and focused, which Brian always is, along with a crew that can make big time adjustments and repairs in a short time frame between segments and there is no one better at that than the Rick Paya group. Couple those factors with the success that Brian has at Airborne over the years and it tips the scale in Brian's favor. It was however not an easy pick. Both Patrick Laperle and Brain started their careers at Airborne and both have had tremendous success there. So with that I will pick Laperle for 2nd and Wayne Helliwell for 3rd

Stephen Watson
WPTZ-TV (NBC, Burlington, Vt./Plattsburgh, N.Y.)

Pick: Brian Hoar
I've had a chance to talk to a number of drivers leading up to the International 500. Even though he took two months off, I think Brian Hoar is poised to win at Airborne. He knows the track well, having raced there much of his career, and not to mention winning there in May in his last event. The wear and tear of his car is minimal, and talking to him this week, he said simply, "I know the car will run fast." I expect Wayne Helliwell Jr. and Joey Pole to give him a run for his money. Maybe even a photo finish because they seem to be common on the ACT Tour this year.