Story By: AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – WATERBURY, VT – For the third straight week, East Providence, RI’s Gerry DeGasparre Jr. sits atop the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) New England Late Model Challenge Cup standings.
With the season now into the month of June, DeGasparre is one of several racers who has emerged as a serious contender for the $5,000 top prize.
Behind DeGasparre, things continue to shuffle and shake, with most of the top-10 positions changing hands over the past two weeks. And with Vermont’s Thunder Road opening its weekly Late Model season this Friday, June 4, some of the region’s best are about to start making their mark on the Challenge Cup. The “Pick 10” format means the Challenge Cup chances for Thunder Road’s regulars are very much alive. They’re also in the hunt for awards from Port City Racecars/Crazy Horse Racing, ARBodies, and Five Star Race Car Bodies.
Still, they’ll have to pass DeGasparre to reach the number-one spot. The seven-time Seekonk Speedway champion now has 139 points after 4 events. His most recent effort was a victory in the track’s Triple Crown series on May 22, which netted him 47 points thanks to a full field and 7 passing points.
However, the Late Models of White Mountain Motorsports Park are making their mark. Candia, NH’s Jimmy Renfrew Jr. is up to second in Challenge Cup points just three markers back of DeGasparre. The White Mountain Late Model overall leader picked up 32 points this past Saturday, May 29. Renfrew started 12th and finished 6th in a 100-lap event, moving him past fellow Candia racer Alby Ovitt for the runner-up position.
A total of seven White Mountain Motorsports Park racers are now in the top-10 of the Challenge Cup standings. The Memorial Day weekend played a big role in this, as White Mountain was the only participating Challenge Cup track to get a Late Model feature in. Seekonk did not have a Late Model event scheduled while six other tracks were rained out. Thompson Speedway’s next event is June 16.
The White Mountain brigade took full advantage. Gilman, VT’s Jeff Marshall has moved up to third in the Challenge Cup standings while Ovitt slid to fourth after a mid-race steering issue on Saturday. Eight-time White Mountain track champion Quinny Welch of Groveton, NH, who won the May 22 feature, completes the top-five.
Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon sits sixth in Challenge Cup points and second in White Mountain points. Seekonk racer Mark Hudson of Norton, MA stands in seventh. White Mountain rookie Kasey Beattie of St. Johnsbury, VT is eighth followed by “renegade” Ryan Morgan of Franklin, CT, who has not made a Challenge Cup start since May 8. Graniteville, VT’s John Donahue climbed to 10th by winning White Mountain’s SpringBoard 100.
This coming weekend has a full slate of Challenge Cup-eligible events for fans and drivers to feast on. Thunder Road opens things up on Friday, June 4 with the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic, which was reschedule after rain this past Sunday. More than a dozen registered Challenge Cup racers are expected for the 125-lap showdown, including Jason Corliss, Bobby Therrien, Marcel J. Gravel, Brendan Moodie, and Cooper Bouchard.
New Hampshire’s Claremont Motorsports Park and Lee USA Speedway also have Late Model Sportsmen events on Friday that registered drivers can earn Challenge Cup points at. In the case of Lee USA, double features are on the card after last week’s rainout.
On Saturday, June 5, four more tracks have Challenge Cup events on the docket. Racers can collect points White Mountain Motorsports Park, Seekonk Speedway, New London-Waterford Speedbowl, or Monadnock Speedway. It’s the next step towards a share of more than $17,000 in point fund money plus season-ending awards from Port City Racecars/Crazy Horse Racing, Five Star Race Car Bodies, and ARBodies.