Story By: CALE KING / AMERICAN-CANADIAN TOUR – VALLEE-JONCTION, QUE – Racing North of the Border in the Canadian Province of Quebec is what sets the American-Canadian Tour apart from any other asphalt stock-car racing series in North America, and for good reason.
The comradery between the drivers from both sides plays a big role but so do the tracks themselves, the fans and fierce competition involved. All these traits were prevalent in the Claude Leclerc 150 at Autodrome Chaudiere on Sunday as star-power from both sides of the international border ran every lap like it was their last, often three wide around the highbanked Quebec bullring.
Thirty teams from Quebec and New England met in the Autodrome Chaudiere pit area on Sunday morning, ready for the first of two American-Canadian Tour events in the Canadian Province in 2023. A single round of heat race qualifying using the ACT Plus/Minus handicap set the field with local hot-shoe William Larue earning the pole alongside defending Claude Leclerc 150 champion Jonathan Bouvrette to complete the front row. The characteristic side-by-side racing that Chaudiere is famous for began instantly between the two under the initial green flag.
While slowed by the first caution on lap 7 for Christopher Bedard’s wild ride into the Turn One sandbank, Larue and Bouvrette would take off with the field once again. Quickly, a new invader made his way up into the top three as Jimmy Renfrew Jr. got the hang of Chaudiere’s ‘Little Bristol’ layout rapidly in his first visit. As the top three ran nose-to-tail in these early laps, positions 4 through 13 were double-file behind the leaders, scratching for every last inch and advantage they could.
Two quick spin cautions would restack the field, allowing Renfrew to perfect his launch on Larue and Bouvrette while hard-charging Patrick Laperle ended his day with a ruined rear-end. Renfrew and Bouvrette put up a tooth-and-nail battle at the front of the pack under the return to green until the New Hampshire-native was firmly in control by lap 70. As Renfrew began to grow his lead on the field, St-Edouard’s Dany Trepanier moved into contention as he battled with Bouvrette.
Trepanier, the 2013 Serie ACT champion, quickly set his sights on Renfrew and two ensuing restarts would find these two pilots spectacularly side-by-side at the front of the pack. Behind the leaders, Larue, D.J. Shaw, Mathieu Kingsbury and others would barnstorm into the picture late by utilizing the extreme outside groove to gain valuable position in the closing laps. In the final five circuits, this unruly group of ACT superstars drew ever closer in the extreme high, extreme low and middle grooves of the Chaudiere asphalt but laps ran short on the three and even four-wide pack chasing down the leaders.
Jimmy Renfrew Jr. would take down his second career American-Canadian Tour victory in his first ever start at Vallee-Jonction, Quebec’s Autodrome Chaudiere by besting some of Quebec’s finest drivers. After fighting hard door handle-to-door handle, Dany Trepanier would come home second as the top Quebecer in the field in his third consecutive Claude Leclerc 150 podium. In the closing laps, defending ACT champion D.J. Shaw fought hard to round out the podium in third. Jonathan Bouvrette kept it consistent to come home fourth followed by Mathieu Kingsbury in fifth.
William Larue would also use consistency to take sixth followed by Maxime Gauvreau in seventh, Steve Cote in eighth, and Raphael Lessard in ninth. Former Serie ACT champion Jean-Francois Dery would round out the top-10 in his first start of the 2023 season.
After a week off the American-Canadian Tour returns to action at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway for the Pine Tree State 125 on Sunday, July 9th. Alongside the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models and the Kennebec Equipment PASS Modifieds, the ACT Pine Tree State 125 will be the first of two races for the historic touring series on the tricky third-mile oval.
Autodrome Chaudiere – Vallee-Jonction, QC
Claude Leclerc 150 presented by J.A. Larue
Saturday, June 24, 2023
1. 00NH Jimmy Renfrew Jr. Candia, NH
2. 19QC Dany Trepanier St-Edouard, QC
3. 04VT D.J. Shaw Center Conway, NH
4. 41QC Jonathan Bouvrette Blainville, QC
5. 9QC Mathieu Kingsbury Blainville, QC
6. 55QC William Larue Quebec City, QC
7. 17QC Maxime Gauvreau St-Marie de Richelieu, QC
8. 14QC Steve Cote Montreal, QC
9. 48QC Raphael Lessard St-Joseph-de-Beauce, QC
10. 21TN Jean-Francois Dery Quebec, Quebec
11. 03MA Derek Gluchacki North Dartmouth, MA
12. 60ME Gabe Brown Center Conway, NH
13. 44QC Patrick Cliché Levis, QC
14. 68NH #Tanner Woodard Waterbury Ctr., VT
15. 03QC Sebastien Couture Quebec, Canada
16. 78QC Michael Lavoie Chicoutimi, QC
17. 66VT Jason Corliss Barre, VT
18. 33QC Remi Perreault Joliette, QC
19. 11QC Claude Leclerc Lanoraie, QC
20. 31CT #Andrew Molleur Shelton, CT
21. 21QC Alexendre Tardif Notre Dame des Pins, QC
22. 51QC Jeff Cote Beauceville, QC
23. 77NH #Bryan Wall Jr. E. Kingston, NH
24. 57QC Carl Poulin E. Broughton, QC
25. 36NH Erick Sands Derry, NH
26. 90QC Zackary Fauteaux Mascouche, QC
27. 91QC Patrick Laperle St-Denis, QC
28. 37QC Marc Begin St. Philibert, QC
29. 31QC Steven Boissoneault Lyster, QC
30. 15QC Christopher Bedard Levis, QC