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Cyr Optimistic For White Mountain

- Justin St. Louis on 25 Jun 2010

Photo by Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.comNORTH WOODSTOCK, N.H. -- Jean-Paul Cyr is a seven-time American-Canadian Tour champion, owns 19 career victories, and is widely considered to be one of the all-time greats in northern New England short track history.

Through four races in 2010, Cyr sits a distant 14th in standings, 156 points out of the lead, with a best finish of 13th place.

The last time Cyr was that far out of the ACT championship hunt was, well, last year, but he raced only a handful of ACT events. As one of the top-two leaders in virtually every statistical category in the history of the series -- not to mention the defending track champion at Thunder Road in Barre -- Cyr is having arguably the worst season of his career.

But he’s not worried. In fact, he says he’s happy with the way things are going.

“I’m not frustrated, I’m actually very optimistic,” the Milton driver said. “We’re figuring it out.”

Cyr has done some ride shuffling in the last few years. In 2008, he completed a long association with crew chief and car owner Rick Paya, a combination that earned Cyr the bulk of his seven ACT titles; in 2009, he drove for Joey and Jeff Laquerre, winning the Thunder Road crown. This season Cyr drives for Gary Caron and his 21 year-old son Kyle, both racers themselves, with a combination of crew members from the Caron, Paya and Laquerre teams now working on the Caron’s Body Shops #22 Chevrolet.

The season’s races have been challenging; in order, Cyr spun twice and finished 13th at Thunder Road to open the season, failed to qualify at Oxford, Me., on May 16, finished 20th off the lead lap at Lee, N.H., two weeks ago, and finished 25th a lap down at Oxford last Saturday.

“It’s a different dynamic this year,” Cyr explained. “There are some big age differences on the team, and we’ve all had to get used to how we work together. The communication is a lot better now over the last few weeks, and we’ve gotten the car a lot better even though the results don’t show it. We misjudged the setup last week at Oxford, but I was still very happy with the progress we made. It’s not very often I’m happy with a 25th-place finish.”

Seemingly just at the right time, the ACT Late Model Tour travels to North Woodstock, N.H., and White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday, a track Cyr has simply dominated. In thirteen career starts at the track, Cyr has a series-best four wins, eleven top-fives, and has never finished outside the top-ten. White Mountain could be the place everything turns around.

“That’s my plan,” Cyr says. “I like White Mountain and I’ve had success there. Like I said, our communication is much better and the car is handling better. I was a little frustrated at first for a while, but now I’m back to being optimistic. I’m very optimistic.”

PHOTOS:
1. Jean-Paul Cyr (#22) spins down the frontstretch at Thunder Road during the first race of what might be the worst season of his illustrious career. (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)
2. Cyr, consulting with his crew at Lee USA Speedway, says communication within his Gary Caron-led team is improving. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

SEASON OPENERS

ACT LATE MODEL TOUR
Feb. 13/14, 2011
New Smyrna Speedway
New Smyrna Beach, FL

MODIFIED RACING SERIES
March 27, 2011
Waterford Speedbowl
Waterford, CT

PASS NORTH SUPER LATE MODELS
April 30, 2011
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway
Scarborough, ME

SPRINT CARS OF NEW ENGLAND
2011 Schedule TBA

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