DeGasparre & Ovitt Continue to Pace Challenge Cup Standings
Corliss Already into Top-10 After Sizzling Start at Thunder Road
Waterbury, VT — Even after a busy week in the New England Late Model Challenge Cup (NELMCC), two drivers continue to stand above the rest. Seekonk Speedway’s Gerry DeGasparre Jr. and White Mountain Motorsports Park’s Alby Ovitt sit one-two as the top weekly American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Model racers of 2021 thus far.
East Providence, RI’s DeGasparre, a seven-time Seekonk Speedway champion, has led the NELMCC standings for five of the last six weeks. Raymond, NH’s Ovitt, an 8-cylinder Street Stock legend in his first full season running Late Models at White Mountain, was the only driver to interrupt that streak. Both remain players in the battle for a $5,000 top prize plus contingency awards from Port City Racecars/Crazy Horse Racing, Five Star Race Car Bodies, and ARBodies.
Both have gotten where they are by sticking to one track and putting up consistently excellent results. Ovitt has scored 40 or more points four times, more than any other driver so far. This includes last Saturday’s event where he came from eighth to second in a 19-car White Mountain Late Model field. DeGasparre, meanwhile, has three 40-plus point outings of his own. The latest was also this past Saturday where he charged from ninth on an 18-car Seekonk grid to finish runner-up.
The only thing separating them right now is total starts. Seekonk has run seven point-counting events so far while White Mountain has held six, giving DeGasparre an edge. However, only a driver’s 10 best results count in the final Challenge Cup point total. That means DeGasparre’s advantage will expire by mid-July, and the standings will come down to a true head-to-head.
This “Pick 10” format could well play into the hands of third-place point driver Mark Hudson, who sits third in points. The Norton, MA veteran has already run nine Challenge Cup-eligible features in the month of June alone. Each weekend, he has traveled to New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway for double features, then returned to his home track of Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night.
As such, Hudson now has 13 total starts. Although only 10 will count for the Challenge Cup, he now has the entire summer to earn higher scores that would replace his lower finishes. This “sheer volume” approach gives Hudson plenty of mulligans in his search for the championship-winning combination.
It may not be long, though, before all these drivers must contend with Barre, VT’s Jason Corliss. Even though he has only made three Challenge Cup starts, the two-time defending Thunder Road track champion is already up to eighth in points.
Corliss earned 50 points for his win in the Memorial Day Classic on June 4, then netted a whopping 56 last week for his charge to victory from the 17th starting position. This was just one point short of the maximum 57 under the Challenge Cup point system. His wins were sandwiched around a fifth-place finish that also was from deep in the field. If Corliss can continue his sizzling start, he’ll be a contender for the Cup before much longer.
The rest of the top-10 is dominated by White Mountain Motorsports Park racers. Candia, NH’s Jimmy Renfrew Jr. sits fourth after a busy week. He made the trip to Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, June 16, then won the Triple Crown at White Mountain three days later. While they did not count for Challenge Cup points, Renfrew also won an 8-cylinder Street Stock feature at Lee USA on Friday night and his first ACT Late Model Tour event at Hudson International Speedway on Sunday, making it a fruitful five-day stretch.
Eight-time White Mountain champion Quinny Welch of Groveton, NH is fifth in Challenge Cup points after back-to-back podium finishes. Danville, VT’s Tyler Cahoon is sixth, having just transitioned to the weekly Thunder Road Late Model schedule after starting his season at White Mountain. Gilman, VT’s Jeff Marshall slid back to seventh in the Challenge Cup after an early rear end failure on Saturday. After Corliss, we have White Mountain rookie Kasey Beattie of St. Johnsbury, VT in ninth and jack-of-all-tracks Ryan Morgan of Franklin, CT in 10th.
The next week of NELMCC action begins Thursday, June 24 at Vermont’s Thunder Road with a weekly 50-lap feature that could feature as many as 14 Challenge Cup racers. On Friday, June 25, there are point-counting events at New Hampshire’s Claremont Motorsports Park and Lee USA Speedway.
Saturday, June 26 is the busiest day of the week. Challenge Cup racers and fans can head to New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park and Monadnock Speedway, Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, or Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Thompson Speedway is off until July 8 while Hudson Speedway holds their next Late Model event on July 25.
Fans and drivers can follow along with the New England Late Model Challenge Cup all season at www.acttour.com/nelmcc. There, they will find the latest point standings, the full point fund payout, the Challenge Cup point system, and much more.