BROCKVILLE, Ontario – Friday’s DIRTcar Pro Stock Series 50-lap finale at Brockville Ontario Speedway took Stephane LeBrun to victory lane and brought Joey Ladouceur his third series championship, his last before moving on to the Sportsman division.
LeBrun, of Gatineau, Quebec, started second in the grid and charged ahead at the green flag, maintaining his lead through four cautions and fending off challenges from Ladouceur and Ghislain Valade.
“I feel very happy,” the French-speaking LeBrun said through a translator. “The car was running good, I thank my pit crew and my family for everything, and Brockville for having this.”
But as far as the series was concerned, LeBrun’s win was no match for Ladouceur’s ample point lead and, finishing second, Ladouceur was able to stay ahead of the pack. Rob Yetman, who trailed Ladouceur by 35 points, finished seventh, and Jocelyn Roy, 97 points behind the leader, finished ninth.
Ladouceur took last year’s championship as well, coming off NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week in Syracuse with a lead in points lead and keeping it when the Brockville’s Pro Stock finale rained out.
“This year we went out and we ran it, and we won it, and it feels good to win it that way,” said Ladouceur, who has earned a total of six too-five finishes and two series wins, at Cornwall Motor Speedway and Mohawk International Raceway, throughout the season.
Going into Friday’s race, Ladouceur faced Brockville’s “Beast of the East” with a degree of caution, knowing that he could finish as far back as eighth and still keep the point lead, even should point runner-up Yetman win. His ninth starting spot was not ideal if he hoped to win the race, but with Yetman starting in 17th, endurance became priority over speed.
“I wasn’t willing to take too many chances. I was going at it conservatively – cautiously aggressive,” Ladouceur said.
A lap 24 pile-up in was especially threatening, happening as it did between the third- and fourth-place cars, driven by Pascal Romansky and Ryan Stabler respectively, with Ladouceur just behind in sixth. The accident did some damage to the 92’s fender and a tire, but Ladouceur stayed in the game and made it to third on the restart.
“Once I got through all that, things cleared up and we were able to race a little bit more,” Ladouceur said.
He threw caution to the wind in the second 25 laps, challenging for George Renaud for second and winning out in lap 30. Ladouceur proceeded to challenge LeBrun for the lead, but LeBrun held steady for the remaining 20 laps.
Overall, Ladouceur is pleased with a second-place finish to cap off his season, his last as a Pro Stock regular, as he makes plans to compete in the Sportsman division next season. Ladouceur makes his Sportsman debut Sunday at Brockville Ontario Speedway for the last day of the Thousand Islands RV Fall Nationals.
Rounding out the top five in Friday’s DIRTcar Pro Stock Series finale were George Renaud in third, Dave Seguin in fourth, and Richard Bertrand in fifth.