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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...

Robbie Crouch
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.

Ricky Craven
Newburgh, ME
 
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.

Patrick Laperle
St-Denis, QC
 
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.

Jean-Paul Cyr
Milton, VT
 
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.

Jean-Paul Cabana
Beloil, QC
 
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.

Cris Michaud
Williamstown, VT
 
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?

Brian Hoar
Colchester, VT
 
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.

Ted Christopher
Plainville, CT
 
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.

Kevin Lepage
Shelburne, VT
 
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.

Dick Berggren
 
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.

Dave Moody
 
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 San-Louie".

 
 
 
Dave Whitlock
Ken Squier
Tom Curley
Ryan Nolin
Eddy Companion
Dad
Dad
John Adams
Chuck Beede
Scott Carpenter
Robin Wood
Mark Lamberton
Bucko Branham
Jerry Winch
Dave Gibbs
Joe Fecteau
Dave Whitcomb
Stub Fadden
Scott Payea
Richard Petty
Dan Nolin
Ben Rowe
Mike Rowe
Jeff Taylor
Ken Schrader

Dave Dion
Hudson, NH
 
"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 Gordon
Strong, ME
 
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.

Junior Hanley
Campbellville, ON
 
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.

Ralph Nason
Unity, ME
 
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.

Beaver Dragon
Milton, VT
 
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.

Joey Laquerre
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 Santerre
Cherryfield, ME
 
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
Shubenecadie, NS
 
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
Coventry, RI
 
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 ---