medDeGasparre Takes Over Challenge Cup Point Lead
Renfrew, Cahoon, and Ovitt Make Early Moves
Waterbury, VT — A man who has already won numerous Late Model track championships is now the early leader in the race for a regional title. East Providence, RI’s Gerry DeGasparre Jr. has moved to the top of the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) New England Late Model Challenge Cup standings following the most recent weekend of weekly racing action.
DeGasparre’s third-place finish at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, May 15 netted him 32 points, giving him 92 total on the young season. It was the third straight top-5 finish for DeGasperre, which vaulted him ahead of North Franklin, CT’s Ryan Morgan for the overall lead. Morgan now sits second with 89 points in the battle for the $5,000 top prize.
For more than 20 years, DeGasparre has called Seekonk Speedway his home. The veteran has seven championships at Seekonk, one only two drivers with that distinction. He also makes sporadic appearances at other tracks around the region. Like many others, DeGasparre has returned to Seekonk action this year after the track’s Saturday night program was shuttered in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The paths taken by DeGasparre and Morgan have taken to their current positions demonstrates the possibilities the Challenge Cup offers to racers. All three of DeGasparre’s starts have come at Seekonk Speedway. The same is true for Norton, MA’s Mark Hudson, who sits fourth in Challenge Cup points.
Morgan, on the other hand, has run a “renegade” schedule with starts at three different tracks: Seekonk, New London-Waterford Speedbowl, and Thompson Speedway. Drivers can earn points at nine different tracks throughout New England with their 10 best results counting towards the title.
All but one of the tracks participating in the Challenge Cup have now started their weekly point-counting seasons. Over the past two weeks, drivers have been making moves at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park. The top-3 in points at the track — Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon and Candia, NH’s Alby Ovitt and Jimmy Renfrew Jr. — now all sit in the top-6 of the overall Challenge Cup standings.
Cahoon listed Vermont’s Thunder Road as his home track for the Challenge Cup, but has made the trek to White Mountain for its first two events. Although Cahoon is leading the track’s Late Model standings, Renfrew is higher in the Challenge Cup rankings. At last Saturday’s event, Renfrew made a three-wide pass to score a thrilling win. That also netted him 13 NELMCC bonus point — 4 for the win and 9 for positions gained. Despite one fewer start than DeGasperre, Renfrew is only 13 points behind.
So far, 20 of the 33 registered Challenge Cup drivers have made at least one eligible start. However, the biggest wild card is yet to be played. Thunder Road finally opens its point-counting season on Sunday, May 30 with the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. Thirteen registered drivers are Thunder Road regulars, including track champions Jason Corliss and Bobby Therrien plus multi-time winners Matt White, Marcel J. Gravel, and Kyle Pembroke.
It will be exciting to watch them — along with talented racers like Derek Gluchacki, Quinny Welch, Jeff Marshall, and Brian Tagg — try to climb the Challenge Cup standings all summer long. We’ll also get to see which drivers go on the road chase points for the prestigious new title and more than $17,000 in point fund money.
Fans and drivers can follow along with the inaugural New England Late Model Challenge Cup all season at www.acttour.com/nelmcc. There they can find the latest point standings, the full point fund payout, the Challenge Cup point system, and much more.