LEE, N.H. — American Canadian Tour Rookie of the Year Jimmy Hebert disproved any ideas of a sophomore slump by earning his first ACT victory in style at the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday.
Travis Fadden and Eddie Macdonald finished out the podium for the season-opening event.
The race began with Ray Parent going door-to-door with pole sitter Fadden for the first six laps, until overtaking him for the early lead. Fadden stayed hooked to Parent’s back bumper as the field stretched out, bringing defending ACT Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. into third behind the two leaders.
As the pair worked through lap traffic, Hebert worked his way from the 15th starting position to tenth, highlighting a string of daring moves with a 3-wide blast on lap 32. By lap 57, Hebert had maneuvered his way through the field to 6th place. Parent and Fadden continued to battle for the lead through lapprf traffic until a quick move by Fadden left Parent pinned behind a lapped car. Fadden stole the lead back, and showed the way until the first of six cautions on lap 89.
When the race returned to action, Fadden ran with the lead while Scott Payea worked on Parent for second with Hebert in tow. After a handful of laps door-to-door, Payea earned the spot, but half-a-lap later found Hebert diving underneath him to take over the runner-up position.
By lap 116 Hebert had caught Fadden for the lead, but an attempt to take it came up short when Fadden used the lapped cars to his advantage once again. While the two young guns battled at the front, Eddie Macdonald silently worked his way up to third from the 18th starting position.
On lap 125, the battle paused as Alex Labbe and Jimmy Linardy spun in front of the field in turns one and two. When the race resumed, leader Travis Fadden had a mirror full of hometown hero Macdonald as he tried to pull away from Hebert who started outside. The race was slowed once again by a third caution, this time for Helliwell, who took an uncharacteristic spin in turns three and four after tight contact in the pack. Hebert learned from the first restart, and this time around, stole the lead using the outside lane while Macdonald dove underneath Fadden for second.
A pair of spins slowed the race again on laps 130, and 131, leaving sophomore Hebert to fend for himself against the veteran Macdonald with Fadden on his bumper. On lap 136, Glen Luce — who had been solidly inside the top ten all day — took a heartbreaking spin in front of the field to set up the final caution of the event.
When the green flag waved, Hebert powered ahead and brought Fadden with him, pushing experience aside and forcing Macdonald to third. Rowland Robinson and Parent shared career days finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“This is just incredible I can’t believe we did it,” said an ecstatic Hebert. “That’s the first time this car has been on the track, and I’d say it’s bad fast!”
The race was completed in 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 27 seconds, and was slowed by just six cautions.
Jimmy Hebert, Travis Fadden, Eddie MacDonald, Rowland Robinson Jr., Ray Parent, Ben Lynch, Dave Farrington Jr., Travis Stearns, Brian Hoar, Scott Payea, Jeff White, Donald Theetge, Brent Dragon, Wayne Helliwell Jr., Shawn Martin, Pat Floyd, Glen Luce, Shawn Knight, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Jamie Fisher, Todd Davis, Eric Chase, Bobby Therrien, Derek Lynch, Jimmy Linardy, Kyle Welch, Chip Grenier, Jean-Paul Cyr, Alex Labbe, Luke Hinkley.