If you’re not an ACT Late Model Tour follower, I’m guessing your question after hearing or seeing reports from the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee, N.H. was, “who’s Jimmy Hebert?” Fact is, you may follow the Tour, and still ask the same question.
Hebert is 21-years-old, he’ll turn 22 in May, and started his racing career at Thunder Road in Go-Karts on Saturday afternoons. He then bypassed the Street Stocks and jumped right into a Tiger – not always a good idea in my mind. He won the 2009 Thunder Road Tiger Sportsmen championship and has one career Tiger win.
Hebert started his Late Model career in 2011, running full time at Thunder Road. He started all 13 point counting events and ended the season with two top 5s and seven top 10s. His best finish was a third in the Governor’s Cup. He also ran a couple of Tour events at The Road in 2011 with finishes of 23rd and 29th.
In 2012, with only one season in a Late Model, the team decided to run the Tour full time and forego another season at Thunder Road. Again, too soon in my expert opinion (for what that’s worth, I thought Nick Sweet jumped into Tour racing too soon and look how successful he turned out).
Last year at Lee, Hebert failed to qualify in the B and was in the trailer come main event time. Race two at Thunder Road he was involved in a crash in his heat and ended up whacking the jersey barrier exiting turn two and was done for the day. He then had back-to-back 22nd place finishes at Devils Bowl and Oxford.
At White Mountain he posted his first top 10, finishing eighth after starting 11th and finished on the lead lap. His next four finishes were 20, 13, 18 and 11 before finishing seventh at the season-ending event at Oxford. He finished seventh in the non-point counting Milk Bowl.
Last Sunday at Lee I was sitting with 11 other race fans and at the last minute someone decided to start a pool. I quickly looked at the roster and, not knowing where anyone was starting, I picked 12 names. After picking Wayne Helliwell Jr., Brian Hoar, Eddie MacDonald and Joey Polewarczyk Jr., I figured I had picked the winner.
After the names were picked at random, everyone had a chance to keep the driver they drew or pick a driver from the 18 guys who were not picked. I will tell you I thought he was nuts when my buddy Robbie Gorton threw his pick back and took Hebert. He later told me, “He looked good in Saturday’s practice.”
Hebert runs a Dale Shaw chassis and Dale and his son DJ were in the pits both days. And, oh yeah, Hebert started 15th in the 30-car field. He took over the lead on lap 126 after a restart.
• Had it not been for Hebert, this column would be all about a kid from North Haverhill, N.H. 25-year-old Travis Fadden started on the pole and led nearly a third of the event before holding off MacDonald for second, and he had to fight right up to the finish.
After leading the first two laps, he gave up the lead to Ray Parent who then led the next 71 laps. With the first 88 laps run under green, Fadden wrestled the lead away from Parent to lead lap 74 before Parent took it back to lead 75 to 81. Fadden then led laps 82 to 125, including three restarts.
The yellow came out three more times in the last 25 laps and Fadden held off MacDonald after each of them to pick up an ACT career best second. Fadden, the grandson of the legendary Stub Fadden, had a previous best finish of 12th in just his fifth ACT start.
• MacDonald, who started 18th, finished third. Had it not been for those late cautions I believe MacDonald would have won. He was clearly gaining on Hebert and Fadden before the caution flew on lap 124, but once the tires cooled he had nothing for the two youngsters.
• A press release from ACT stated five drivers in the top 10 claimed career-high finishes at Lee. Of course that includes Hebert and Fadden. Rowland Robinson Jr., driving his family owned No. 298 ME, finished fourth, six positions higher than his previous career best. Ben Lynch had his best ACT finish, finishing sixth, and ACT Rookie of the Year contender Travis Stearns earned his best with eighth. Between these five drivers, they have a combined 53 American Canadian Tour starts.
• As you all know, one race doesn’t mean much and I’m guessing you won’t see too many, if any, more races where the top dogs don’t finish in the top 5 but other than MacDonald it sure had a different look at the front.
• But what about Parent you ask? Parent won the non-point counting event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but has yet to win on a short track. The team is surly on the way up and could contend for many wins in 2013.
• Hebert becomes the 66th different winner in 234 point counting events.
• RESULTS: New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 – Lee (NH) USA Speedway, April 14, 2013 – 1. Jimmy Hebert, 2. Travis Fadden, 3. Eddie MacDonald, 4. Rowland Robinson Jr., 5. Ray Parent, 6. Ben Lynch, 7. Dave Farrington Jr., 8. Travis Stearns, 9. Brian Hoar, 10. Scott Payea, 11. Jeff White, 12. Donald Theetge, 13. Brent Dragon, 14. Wayne Helliwell Jr., 15. Shawn Martin, 16. Pat Floyd, 17. Glen Luce, 18. Shawn Knight, 19. Joey Polewarczyk Jr., 20. Jamie Fisher, 21. Todd Davis, 22. Eric Chase, 23. Bobby Therrien, 24. Derek Lynch, 25. Jimmy Linardy, 26. Kyle Welch, 27. Chip Grenier, 28. Jean-Paul Cyr, 29. Alex Labbe, 30. Luke Hinkley.
• Time of Race: 1:03:27, Margin of Victory: 1.083 seconds, Cautions: 6 (laps 89, 124, 125, 129, 131, 136)
• The American Canadian Tour will make its return to Barre’s Thunder Road for the Merchants Bank 150, April 28.
• Social media updates can be found at www.facebook.com/ACTTour or if you have a tweet machine check out www.twitter.com/ACTTour.
Keselowski and Logano Both Lose 25 Points
Brad Keselowski’s and Joey Logano’s cars were nearly left in the garage area last Saturday night after both cars had to replace their rear-end housing and some other pieces that surround the rear suspension area, just before post time, after being held up in tech. They just barely made it to pit road before the field rolled onto the speedway.
Wednesday of this week it was announced crew chiefs Paul Wolfe (2) and Todd Gordon (22) have been fined $100,000 each and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six Cup events (including the non-points Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Both teams’ car chiefs, team engineers and team managers have been suspended for the six races and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Keselowski and Logano both were fined 25 points and owner Roger Penske lost 25 owner points.
Both teams will appeal and Keselowski was very vocal after the race when asked about the delay that almost kept him from racing last Saturday night at Texas.
He used some profanity and had at lot of unkind things to say about NASCAR. I was very surprised to learn he wasn’t fined for that lengthy interview.
• The 56 of Martin Truex Jr. was too low after the event and crew chief Chad Johnston was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until June 5. Truex Jr. was docked six driver points and team owner Michael Waltrip was fined six championship owner points.
Pro All Star Series
The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North begins their 2013 season April 21 at Oxford Plains (ME) Speedway. The Ripley and Fletcher 150 is set to start at 2 p.m.
The entry list earlier this week showed: Matt Matheson (2), Ben Rowe (4), Curtis Gerry (7), Bradley Babb (14), Travis Benjamin (17), Jean Francois Dery (21Q), David Oliver (21), David Farrington Jr. (23), Mike Rowe (24), Alexandre Gingras (27Q), Trevor Sanborn (29), Derek Ramstrom (35), Corey Bubar (42), Johnny Clark (54), Tony Ricci (55), Austin Theriault (57), Reid Lanpher (59), Tim Brackett (60), DJ Shaw (60), Joey Doiron (73), Cassius Clark (77), Scott Mulkern (84), Kyle Desouza (88), Bryan Kruczek (00), and Dan Colby (06).
Bear Ridge Speedway
The dirt track in Bradford is getting ready to usher in its 46th consecutive season on May 4. If early registrations are any indication, the opening night field will eclipse last year’s record-setting numbers. They jump right in with double points on opening night.
The day starts the annual Car Show at the Bradford Jiffy Mart in downtown Bradford beginning at 9 a.m. Practice begins at 2 p.m. and the season’s first green flag will wave at “6:00-ish.”
Until Next Week
Get out and enjoy some short-track racing this weekend. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”