A growing field of Quebec drivers will join the American-Canadian Tour season for 2019.
Five drivers who reside north of the Vermont-Canada border have filed full-season ACT entries, with several others stating they will attend some events this year. There was a large Quebec presence last month when eight Canadian racers competed at Virginia’s Richmond Raceway for the Commonwealth Classic 65. Early indications are that this presence will continue throughout the season.
Jonathan Bouvrette is one of the clear favorites to lead the Canadian charge at Thunder Road and other ACT tracks. Bouvrette won the final Série ACT championship in 2017 before the series was discontinued and has regularly appeared at U.S. events. With five ACT-sanctioned wins, including the Bacon Bowl 200 victory at Autodrome Chaudiere, he is ready to try his hand at the full ACT slate.
“I’ve wanted to run the full ACT U.S. schedule for a couple of years,” Bouvrette said. “I think this year is the right timing for it. We have more experience now. And in Quebec, there is currently no touring championship. I sincerely think that Quebec needs a touring championship presented by ACT and I think this is the best way to make our name.”
Bouvrette isn’t the only former Série ACT Champion planning a run on the ACT Late Model Tour this season. Québec City’s Jean-François Déry, the 2013 champion in Canada, has also registered for the full season. Déry earned nine wins in Série ACT competition and has posted several podium finishes in U.S. events. He finished third in the 2018 finale at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway.
Central Vermont racing fans will once again enjoy the presence of Claude Leclerc in 2019. “The Ironman” has been with ACT since its founding and ran the full U.S. schedule last year, placing seventh in points at age 77.
Two up-and-coming drivers have also submitted ACT entries and will be teammates to more established racers. Mathiew Kingsbury will join Bouvrette for the 2019 campaign. Kingsbury finished 10th in Série ACT points in 2017 and fifth in Canadian Stock Car Championship points for 2018.
Jean-Philippe Bergeron is also joining the ACT Late Model Tour. Bergeron was the top CSCC rookie this past season and finished sixth in the final standings. Leclerc served as Bergeron’s team leader at Richmond Raceway and will provide guidance to the team throughout the season.
The five Quebec drivers may be visiting new tracks, but they’ll likely be favorites in the $5,000-to-win Claude Leclerc 150 at Autodrome Chaudiere in June. But they’ll have lots of competition from U.S. racers at tracks such as Thompson Speedway, Star Speedway and Thunder Road.
“I personally think we will get better by competing against the best,” Bouvrette said. “ACT is really competitive, and the tracks this year are ones we don’t visit often. It’s a huge challenge coming for us because we want to fight for the championship. In particular, I’m really interested in Thompson because it is a pretty fast track and I’ve never tried it.”
The top ACT racers will head to Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway on April 28. Post time is 1:30 p.m. for the Late Model Tour season opener. The Oxford 150 is part of a doubleheader with the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models that also features the PASS Modifieds, Honey Badger Street Stock Series and North East Mini Stock Tour.