Patrick Laperle loaded up his orange No. 91 Super Late Model on Saturday morning and made his way to Autodrome Chaudiere (QC) to make his first Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North start of the 2015 season. Later in the evening, the always entertaining driver won the race and the party on a night that featured NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Denny Hamlin in the field.
Laperle started on the pole for the Habitations Dany Legace 150, but winning the race would prove to be a difficult task. The St. Denis, Quebec driver had to hold off two-time defending Oxford 250 champion Travis Benjamin throughout the 150-lap affair to score the victory, which served as his first PASS North triumph since May 18, 2013 at Chaudiere.
“It was a great weekend,” Laperle told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It feels good when you win against guys like Travis, Cassius (Clark), (DJ) Shaw and (Denny) Hamlin. It was a lot of fun. The way we did it, I mean we started up front and stayed there all race long. The car was just perfect.”
Over the years, Laperle has visited victory lane with both PASS North and the American-Canadian Tour throughout both the United States and Canada. Still to this day, nothing quite beats defending his hometown turf and winning in front of his fans north of the border.
“It feels really good to win at that place,” Laperle stated. “I love that place, it’s fun. After the race, it was awesome to see all the people coming to the trailer to take pictures and all kind of stuff like that. It was really nice.”
Entering the night, much of the attention was given to NASCAR star Denny Hamlin as he made his first career PASS North start. Hamlin would not be a factor in the finish, however. The driver of the No. 11 for Joe Gibbs Racing finished the race in the seventh position.
“I think he went up to fifth-place but I didn’t have the chance to race against him,” Laperle said when asked about beating Hamlin. “He’s just a guy like me; he’s just got a bigger wallet. It’s fun. It would be nice if he had finished on the podium. That would make a nice picture with me in first-place.”
After spending much of the race on Laperle’s back bumper, Benjamin lost a spot late in the race to Cassius Clark and ended up finishing third. Defending series champion DJ Shaw and current points leader Mike Rowe rounded out the top-five.
But on this night, it was all about Patrick Laperle. When victory lane celebrations were complete, the real party was just getting started.
The Laperle clan, known for their ability to win both the race and the party, didn’t disappoint on this night.
“Come on, you know me,” Laperle said as he broke out with laughter. “I wake up with a headache yesterday morning and this morning, too.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Norm Marz/Pro All Stars Series