Justin's Racing Idols
Everyone has heroes, right? I do, too, but I have A LOT of them, and almost all of them are from racing.
Ever since I was wee, the guys I have looked up to wear Nomex on the job. Here they are...
Tampa, FL/Georgia, VT
6-time ACT Champion, won 77 ACT races, 8 Busch North races, and about 100 others before he retired suddenly in 1997.
Robbie was the first guy I ever spent time watching closely - watching his lines around the track, watching his patience
in the outside groove, watching him MAKE the race go his way, he was amazing. "The Tampa Tornado" was the
first race car driver I ever cheered for, and remains my #1 racing idol to this day.
The first driver in my time to come from absolutely nothing in New England and be successful in the national
NASCAR divisions. I cheered loud and hard for Ricky when he was racing the EJP #09 with ACT, and I still cheer
for him just as loud and just as hard in the truck series.
Not only a hero, but also a friend, Patrick is Canada's only real presence in New England short track racing right now,
and that presence is huge. In 2005 alone, he won the Fall Foliage, the Milk Bowl, and the Unity 250, three of the biggest
races in the region. He's talented enough to go south and make it, no doubt in my mind.
If there ever could be such a thing, Jean is ACT's modern-day Robbie Crouch. He's the only guy that everyone knows
they have to beat in EVERY race at EVERY track. He's so smooth and so calculated, you forget he's there until he's carrying
the checkers after the race. He's lived the short tracker's dream: success at every short track he's been to, championships
on dirt and asphalt, and all kinds of records.
Cabana is like Ralph Nason, but he's not always a bad guy. He loves to play the crowd, but he's not as big a hard-ass
on the track. He is, however, an unbelievably good race car driver, and could probably still win if he gave racing a
shot. How do I know? He literally won 498 features in his career, that's how.
I like Cris because I know where he came from. He's just a regular guy, but he wins races and championships because
he's a damn good driver with a damn good team. But more than that, his career started exactly the same way mine did
- with a piece of crap car in the Street Stock division at Thunder Road. In fact, he raced against my father.
Now, he's a three-time "King of the Road". What more can you ask for as a kid like me?
A fantastic racer with a no bullshit attitude, Brian is a perfectionist on and off the track. To him, the race
car must be at its absolute best 100% of the time, or it may as well sit on the trailer. And because his cars are that
way, he can show how a great racer makes a great car unbeatable. Tell me that four straight ACT titles isn't greatness,
and I'll slap you back into reality. Brian is awesome.
He's rude, he's mouthy, he's a jerk on and off the track, but my god Teddy is talented. He's won races in Modifieds,
SK Mods, Busch North, PASS, ISMA Supermodifieds, and NEMA Midgets, on short tracks, superspeedways, and road courses.
TC is a golden god, and he's got the 2001 NASCAR National Championship to prove it.
I'm not a huge Kevin Lepage fan, but I respect everything he has accomplished in New England and in NASCAR. Let's
see any other driver from around here MAKE people think he or she is a star. He did win three Milk Bowls,
and you have to admire that. When he went south in 1994, he was instantly recognized by his Vermont Teddy Bear sponsorship,
and he eventually earned a pair of Busch wins and ride with Jack Roush. Kevin gives every young Vermont racer hope.
Since I was three years old, I have flipped through page after page of Stock Car Racing Magazine and later Speedway
Illustrated, just wishing I could some day have my name on a by-line in a Berggren-headed magazine. I met Dr. Dick
at Thunder Road a few years ago, and he really gave me the inspiration to get a writing career started in earnest... and my
dream still exists to one day work for him.
Who doesn't want to be Dave Moody? Man, he is the coolest guy ever. He gets to sit in the tower and call
the action at the greatest race track on Earth. And to think that his work at Thunder Road has brought him all the way
to Daytona is pretty awesome, too. Dave creates national heroes every Sunday afternoon, just as he creates even bigger
local heroes every Thursday night. And after all, he created Jamie "The Hurricane" Fisher, "Birdman" John Adams, and "Joo-stan
"Dynamite Dave" has won everything there is to win, and he's the nicest guy around to boot. I have autographed
pictures of Dion and Crouch hanging over my bed, and Dave's autobiography
has instantly become my favorite book of all time. Dave is definitely my #2 guy.
Tracy's just a bad-ass driver from Maine, and he's a little guy, too, but he doesn't take crap from anyone, anywhere.
He first came to ACT in 1993, and I liked his paint scheme so I started to follow him. Little did I know he was really
a very talented racer, and he was good at Thunder Road. He's still kicking butt on the Busch North Series and in PASS.
The most balls-out racer you'll ever see behind the wheel, short of Ralph Nason, Junior has been winning races all
over North America since the 1960s, and he's still doing it. In three short years, he won 34 ACT races and swept the
championship titles. A decade later at age 60, he won six straight CRA Super Series races in the Midwest. He's
also won at Phoenix a couple times. He builds winning chassis with the bare minimum, and can probably still kick
your ass on the track or outside the pit gate.
He's just such a bastard on the track it makes me sick sometimes, but man, he can put on a show. You show me any
other driver, I don't care if he's Ralphie's age (65) or mine, I guarantee that driver won't get the crowd going half as much
as Ralph can on a quiet day. I hate him, but I love to watch him race.
A likeable, talented guy from our tiny little state of Vermont, Beaver Dragon was a national star long before I was born,
having run everywhere, including Daytona, and was just as famous up until the day he retired (which I guess never really
happened) in the late '90s. Beaver is still around at the tracks today, and is just as nice and a approachable as always.
East Montpelier, VT
Joey will race anything, anywhere, any time, and it doesn't matter if the race pays anything or not. That's how
it should be. Joey is into his 60s, but he still wins regularly, and still pisses people off for driving in the grey
area of the gentlemen's rule book. It's awesome.
Andy is almost a carbon-copy of Brian Hoar (or Jean Cyr, for that matter), and he's just as successful. In fact,
Andy just clinched his fourth-straight Busch North championship. His work ethic is almost too much to keep up with,
and it's paid off for him - in just his third race after shattering his leg at Daytona in 1998, Andy won a Busch South event
at Pikes Peak, Colorado in a 20th-place car. The man can do anything.
Scott Fraser wasn't just my hero, he was a Canadian icon. At the time of his death in 2004, Scott was one of the
most talented race car drivers in North America, and made the best out of everything he had. Scott made the jump to
ASA in 2000, driving for Maritime legend Rollie MacDonald. Hauling all the way from Nova Scotia, they took ASA by storm,
grabbing a bunch of solid runs before running out of money. "Scott Fraser" could have been a household name if
he had the chance, and it's a shame he's no longer with us.
Mike Stefanik is as versatile and super-talented as Teddy Chirstopher, but he's way nicer. Stefanik is an six-time
Whelen Modified Tour Champion, a two-time Busch North Champ, and won the 1999 Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year title.
He's won more than 60 WMT races (including 13 in 1998 alone), and a load of BNS races. He's the man.
Mark "Bones" Bourcier
As long as I've been reading Berggren's magazines, I've been in awe of Bones Bourcier's imagination, style, and creativity
in his writing. Everything he pens is gold, in my opinion. On top of that, like Berggren, Bones is from
New England and writes about things that I truly care about. Shaking from nerves, I introduced myself to him at
Racearama in 2005. Shockingly, he knew who I was. I thought to myself "How?" and told him how much his writing
meant to me. It was one of the greatest thrills I have ever experienced in my racing life.
DISCLAIMER: Many of the photos on this website have been used without
prior permission, and for that, we're sorry. For the ones we did ask to use, thanks a ton! Proper credit is due
every photographer, but since tagging every single shot would take a really long time, and we've forgotten a lot of who took
what, let's just thank everyone who has "helped" out now: Alan Ward, Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com, Gene Gagne/OutsideGroove.com,
Leif Tillotson, Brian McCullough (RACEGOD), the late David Heath, Dave Brown, Cindy Weed, John Sullivan, Norm Marx, Bethany
Bell, vintagemodifieds.com, the late Bob Doyle, Ron Pittsley, David Paris, Jim DuPont, Tom Herzig, and myriad others.
A huge thanks goes out to contributors Andy Boright, the late Cho Lee, and Christian "Ti Gaz" Genest, all treasurers
of racing history. You're all awesome and very much appreciated!!!
--- Website updated and maintained in memory of Cho Lee ---