LOUDON, N.H. — Ray Parent took his “feel good” story to another level with a payday worth over $6,000 on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, picking up his first ACT victory in the fourth annual Bond ACT Invitational.
Parent upset Serie ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle, and former Invitational winner Joey Polewarczyk Jr. for the emotional win.
Two-time Invitational winner Eddie Macdonald demoralized the field in the early going, charging from the 26th starting position while ACT Rookie of the Year Jimmy Hebert flew to the front. Hebert had made it from sixth to third in the first lap, and by lap 12 had powered by Former Oxford Plains Speedway Champion Ricky Rolfe for the point.
Hebert began to pull away until teen sensation Emily Packard heartbreakingly backed into the wall on lap 15, ending her day.
Ray Parent took advantage of the timely caution, after starting 20th on the field he thrilled the cheering crowd with a four-wide move on the following restart to break into the top five.
Wasting no time, he ducked underneath again for another three-wide move moments later, and by lap 19 he had stolen the lead from the hopeful Hebert.
As Parent began to pull away, Macdonald, ACT point leader Wayne Helliwell Jr., Polewarczyk, Kawartha Speedway Champion Dan Mchattie, and Laperle arrived on the scene. Macdonald quickly got to second place, and loomed large in Parent’s mirror.
A lap-26 caution brought the pair together, but at the drop of the green Macdonald’s car suddenly plummeted backwards through the field. Parent broke away with the lead, while Macdonald was eventually forced to retire, but by lap 28 Polewarczyk was hot on Parent’s trail after starting 33rd until a brutal caution on lap 33 when Joey Laquerre spinning car on the backstretch collected Brent Dragon and Randy Potter.
When the green dropped again, Parent edged back into the lead on the inside, until a electrifying cross over move on the backstretch that put Polewarczyk under Parent for the top spot. Polewarczyk took the lead back, but only momentarily as on lap 35 Parent put the crowd on it’s feet with another cross over and snatched the lead back on the inside. The gloves came off and the laps waned down as the pair battled for the win, and with ten laps to go Laperle broke free of the pack to join the fight.
With the race coming to a close, Parent began to escape the grasp of Polewarczyk, while Laperle continued to gain. As the white flag flew Laperle made his move, diving underneath Polewarczyk in the final corner and sliding up just in front of him as they came to the checkers.
“Words can’t explain what this means to me,” said Parent in the post race press conference. “All year we’ve set ourselves up for today. This year was about exactly what we came and did here. Every race on the Tour is wheel-to-wheel, and that’s what makes it so good. We worked on getting top tens, we worked on getting top fives, but it all leads to this,” he finished.
ACT point leader Helliwell raced his way to fourth, with Rolfe on his tail in fifth.
Ray Parent, Patrick Laperle, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Wayne Helliwell Jr., Ricky Rolfe, Tom Carey Jr., Brian Hoar, Ben Lynch, Dan McHattie, Bryan Mercer, Jean-Francois Dery, Dany Trepanier, Shawn Martin, Travis Stearns, Austin Theriault, Jimmy Hebert, Quinny Welch, Andre Beaudoin, Jeff Taylor, Donald Theetge, Glen Luce, Aaron Fellows, Brooks Clark, Dave Farrington Jr., Nick Sweet, Rowland Robinson Jr., Jamie Fisher, Joey Laquerre, Ryan Kimball, Jimmy Linardy, Ricky Roberts, TJ Brackett, Ben Ashline, Jamie Aube, Pete Yetman, Guy Caron, Brent Dragon, Randy Potter, Eddie MacDonald, Bruce Jaycox, Emily Packard, Jean-Paul Cyr.