PHOTO: Guy Caron’s crew works to repair his late model after being involved in a minor heat race crash (T.J. Ingerson/VMM Photo)

by T.J. Ingerson

LOUDON, N.H. — Fifty-Five American Canadian Tour Championship Late Models are registered to attempt to qualify for tomorrow’s ACT All-Star Late Model Challenge. Drivers representing five New England states and two Canadian provinces are here with a lot of excitement and possibly a few nerves.


I asked Jimmy Hebert how it felt to be here, competing for the first time at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Pretty awesome,” Hebert said.

I think that sums it up well.


As always, ACT President and race director Tom Curley’s driver’s meeting was entertaining and, yet, informative. Curley instructed the drivers and spotters of how to race at the Magic Mile, stating the importance of how quickly someone can get injured.

“Don’t be foolish at this track,” Curley told the drivers. “This is lane racing. The crossovers don’t work here. Chopping doesn’t work. Fans don’t pay money to see you guys drive down the straightaways. Corners are what make late model racing here. It’s what make it great and exciting to watch.”


The silver wheels on Wayne Helliwell’s car just look so cool.


Joey Laquerre had an impressive run in the first heat race, starting in the 17th position, charging through the field and finishing sixth, the last qualified spot, earning him a “+11” handicap. His handicap gives him a good chance at the pole position for tomorrow’s feature races.

Laquerre, of East Montpelier, Vt., had one of the quicker cars during the test and tune day last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but was involved in an incident during one of the simulation races. And while Laquerre had a great run in his heat race, he felt he needs to get a little better and fix a few issues.

“It felt good,” Laquerre said. “The car wasn’t running as good today as it was at the test and tune. It’s not quite there. The rear end is leaking oil and we have an exhaust issue. But it’s awesome.”

Laquerre was happy with his progress through the field, and enjoyed the racing in the first heat race.

“That’s the way I like to drive,” said Laquerre. “The car is running good enough to where if you pay attention to the cars infront and see what their weaknesses are, you can overcome their weakness to get by them. You have to do it a little at a time and can’t do it all at once. I made a dicey move out of turn two making it four wide, but I knew I was better than them, and once I got some air I was able to drive it in deep and make it stick. It worked well”


Defending Twin State Speedway track champion Guy Caron was involved in a minor incident in the first heat race of the day. Caron, of Lempster, N.H., was racing with Canaan Fair Speedway points leader Donnie Lashua when the two went for the same piece of race track entering turn one. Caron spun out and was headed rear first toward the turn one wall, but was able to get it stopped, just kissing the wall with the rear end of the car causing minimal damage.

“We should be good to go for the last chance race,” said Caron. “The damage is minimal. We’ll get it back together and hope to qualify.”


Indycars just look so freaking cool.