Alex Labbe’s 2014 racing season came full circle Saturday night in the season-ending Serie ACT event at Autodrome St-Eustache in St-Eustache, Quebec. A season that began with a destroyed racecar in the season-opening event at the .4-mile Quebec oval ended on a much higher note as he claimed the checkered flag in the 200-lap race and clinched his first career Serie ACT championship.
“It is real fun,” Labbe told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’ve created a pretty good fan base up here and there are a lot of people that follow me. A lot of my friends and family were at St-Eustache so it was fun to celebrate the win with these guys. It’s not our favorite track, but we finally got the win and clinched the championship in the same race. It was pretty awesome.”
Looking back on his season, Labbe attributed the championship to hard work and the never-give-up attitude displayed by his Larue Motorsports team. With only eight races on the 2014 Serie ACT schedule, he said it would have been easy to give up after seeing their car destroyed in race number one. Instead, they fought back harder and continued to get better and better throughout the season.
“It’s always a bit of a question when you have to replace the front clip and rear clip at the beginning of the year,” said Labbe, of St-Albert, Quebec. “The next weekend we won the race and were as good, or even better, than we were before.
“We worked really hard after that first race and got back in the championship hunt. We only had eight races this year, so after that race we had to be good all year. We worked hard and we were good all year long for sure.”
Going into the 2014 season, Labbe had extra motivation to go after the season championship. In 2013, he had finished just eight points behind Jean-Francois Dery in a tight battle for the top spot. He didn’t want to come up short again this time around.
“We were sad that we finished second last year,” said Labbe. “We worked hard and we put all of our energy into every race. Last year we were short about seven or eight points and we were really good all year long, too. This year we just worked harder and didn’t have a lot of issues.”
Over the course of the last two seasons driving for the Larue Motorsports team, owned by Denis and Louie Larue, Labbe has recorded four ACT/Serie ACT wins including the 2013 running of the Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Park Speedway (NY).
In addition to his frequent success running ACT Late Models, Labbe has also stepped up his Super Late Model program this season. He has two Pro All Star Series (PASS) North wins at Autodrome Chaudiere (QC) and also finished second to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch in the Budweiser 150 at Chaudiere.
In four NASCAR Canadian Tire Series starts in 2014, he has two top-five finishes including a runner-up finish at Riverside International Speedway in Nova Scotia.
With all of the success he has experienced this season, Labbe didn’t hesitate when asked if 2014 was the best season of his racing career.
“For sure,” said Labbe. “This is my best year. I’m really happy I won the championship with ACT and I won two races on the PASS tour. I finished second to Kyle Busch at the Budweiser 150. I didn’t expect to do that good. It’s definitely my best year so far.”
Looking forward, Labbe hopes to see more success south of the border competing with the American-Canadian Tour. He has a few big weekends coming up with the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and The Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl (VT). He hopes to extend his current win streak to four when all is said and done.
“For this year, I want to perform better with the ACT US series,” Labbe said. “I’m on a good win streak, so I want to extend that for sure. There’s going to be a lot of good competition with guys like Eddie MacDonald, Joey Pole and Brian Hoar there (at Loudon). They’re always fast. It will be a lot of fun for sure.”
Labbe will be searching for wins as the 2014 ACT Late Model season comes to a close, but even if he isn’t able to extend his win streak he is proud to have his season north of the border come to an end being labeled as a champion.
“I do have some wins, but now that I have a championship it means a lot. I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished this season.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com