Patrick Laperle left Airborne Park Speedway (NY) in Plattsburgh, New York last October and proclaimed that he was done with racing. After losing the Fall Foliage 200 win in post-race technical inspection, the St. Denis, Quebec driver said that racing was no longer fun and that he was “done.” Fast forward seven months to May 2016 and Laperle is still behind the wheel of his orange No. 91 Late Model, but now he’s having fun again.
The reason Laperle is having fun is because he’s once again winning races. After being held winless in Serie ACT competition in 2015, the three-time series champion has bounced back in a big way during the early stages of the 2016 season.
With two of the eight scheduled races completed, Laperle has visited victory lane on both occasions. He won the season opener at Autodrome St-Eustache on May 22 before following that up with a win at Autodrome Chaudiere last Saturday.
With his most recent win, Laperle tied Donald Theetge as the most winningest driver in Serie ACT history with 21 wins.
“It’s always fun when you win,” said Laperle with a laugh. “You forget all the bad things. It’s pretty good. Plattsburgh we finished third and we have two wins. We’re not the fastest car in practice but during the race we’re always steady. I’m pretty lucky, too. For the draw this year, we drew on the pole all the time so it’s good.”
Despite a few rule revisions and clarifications made by ACT officials during the offseason, Laperle said that his car is basically the same as it was one year ago. Well, except for those shocks that ended up costing him the win at Airborne in October.
“We’re just good right now and maybe sometime it’s going to change during the season but for now it’s good,” stated Laperle. “We didn’t change noting on the car except the f—— shock, but it’s the same setup as last year. I don’t know if there was some guys doing some stuff with their chassis and the rule change with this year and they’re not running as good, I don’t know. I don’t want to talk for everybody but for me it’s the same setup and everything.”
Although he’s using the same basic setup, Laperle explained that he and his team had to throw the kitchen sink at the car during the most recent race at Autodrome Chaudiere. Prior to last Saturday he hadn’t raced his ACT car at the Vallee-Jonction, Quebec race track since July 2013.
The team made good use of their practice time by changing “like eight things” on the car to make it good. Those changes proved to be the right ones as he pulled the orange No. 91 into victory lane later that night and popped champagne on the frontstretch.
And although Laperle and his crew have always been known for winning both the race and the party, he said they weren’t able to celebrate as much as they would have liked to.
“We party the next day,” he joked. “We raced at Valle-Jonction and we get home at two in the morning, so we don’t party too much after the race.”
After the hot start to the 2016 season, Laperle plans to run the full Serie ACT schedule and chase his fourth series championship. He’s also hoping to race a handful of events in the United States including the Oxford 250 and the Milk Bowl if things work out right.
In order for things to work out right in racing, Laperle believes you need four things. Right now he believes he has that perfect combination, and he hopes it remains that way.
“In racing you need to be lucky, good driver, good car and you need money. Right now we’re making money because we win and I don’t think I’m a bad driver, we’ve got a good car and we’re lucky. Everything is going well.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Norm Marx/Pro All Stars Series