Helliwell Shines In Photo Finish at Devil’s Bowl
Reigning American Canadian Tour Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. sent the message loud and clear to his competitors on a beautiful Sunday (May 5) afternoon at West Haven’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway, taking his second victory in-a-row in the Spring Green 113 by just .02 of a second over Williston’s Brian Hoar. ACT Point Leader Jimmy Hebert continued the hot start to his season and completed the podium in third place.
Helliwell used his second-place starting position to his advantage to jump to the early race lead, bringing eight-time ACT Champion Hoar in tow. The pair ran away in the front while Hebert and Tiverton, RI’s Ray Parent began the battle with Devils Bowl Speedway Champion Craig Bushey for the top five positions. A few early cautions for single spins kept the field together early, while Helliwell showed the 31-car field the way.
By lap 50, Hebert faced off against Claremont, NH’s Luke Hinkley who ran in the top ten all day long, and Hudson, NH’s Joey Polewarczyk arrived in the top five after starting 17th. Hebert saved his car along with the two leaders, and a late-race caution on lap 93 of the event set up the show.
When the green dropped the veterans unwound, sending Hoar and Helliwell into a tooth-and-nail battle at the front of the field. Hoar stripped Helliwell of the lead in the outside lane, leaving Helliwell to fend off Parent and Hebert who had now come hungry to his back bumper. A lap 108 caution brought the field back together for what seemed like the final five lap showdown.
Helliwell blasted to the lead in the outside lane, shocking Hoar and the packed Devil’s Bowl crowd as he went a door up on the backstretch, but his brilliant restart was all-for-naught when North Haverhill, NH’s Travis Fadden took a heartbreaking dive off the backstretch into the tire wall, falling out of the top ten. Helliwell and Hoar lined up nose-to-nose once again with Hebert, Parent, and Dragon waiting for a mistake.
The pair picked up where they left off in their heavyweight battle for the championship in 2012. The gloves came off with just a handful of laps left in the event, and the two champions leaned door-to-door for the victory. The crowd rose to their feet as the pair crossed the line under the white flag nearly dead even. When the dust settled, Helliwell had won the race by a paint job: just two hundredths of a second.
“That was some good old fashioned racing,” said Helliwell in victory lane. “Brian is a great racer, and that was some of the best hard racing I’ve done. I was just praying when we crossed the line. This is incredible,” he finished.
Hoar felt nothing but respect for his rival that led all but 16 laps of the event.
“I really didn’t want that last caution, but Wayne raced me clean as ever. He’s a real class act,” said Hoar. “I knew it would be close with two laps to go, but I hoped I had it there at the end. That was the closest race I’ve come across,” he finished.
Young Jimmy Hebert continued his great start to the year, and had a front row seat for the battle of the two most recent ACT Champions.
“I wasn’t sure how much we had on that last restart, but I’ve got a great group of guys to race with, and they raced their hearts out today,” said Hebert.
Polewarczyk and Parent capped off good runs in the fourth and fifth positions. They were followed by Dragon, Hinkley, Chip Grenier, and rookies Bobby Therrien and Emily Packard.
The race was slowed by 11 cautions, and was completed in 1 hour 16 minutes and 32 seconds.
Helliwell became the third invitee to the Bond Auto ACT Invitational on Saturday, September 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He joins Jimmy Hebert and Brian Hoar.
The American Canadian Tour will return to action for the fourth race of the 2013 season at Airborne Speedway on Saturday, May 18.
Spring Green 113 Unofficial Results
American Canadian Tour
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, VT
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Pos. (Start) Driver, Hometown, Laps Completed
1. (2) Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Dover, NH, 113 Laps
2. (4) Brian Hoar, Williston, VT, 113 Laps
3. (3) Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, 113 Laps
4. (17) Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., Hudson, NH, 113 Laps
5. (1) Ray Parent, Tiverton, RI, 113 Laps
6. (12) Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, 113 Laps
7. (10) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, NH, 113 Laps
8. (7) Chip Grenier, Graniteville, VT, 113 Laps
9. (6) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, VT, 113 Laps
10. (15) #Emily Packard, E. Montpelier, VT, 113 Laps
11. (5) Todd Davis, Claremont, NH, 113 Laps
12. (21) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 113 Laps
13. (23) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, VT, 113 Laps
14. (18) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, ME, 113 Laps
15. (16) Daniel Petronis, Mechanicville, NY, 113 Laps
16. (11) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY, 113 Laps
17. (30) Ben Lynch, Huntersville, NC, 112 Laps
18. (25) Jimmy Linardy, Somerville, MA, 110 Laps
19. (24) Hunter Bates, Pittsford, VT, 109 Laps
20. (20) Josh Masterson, Bristol, VT, 108 Laps
21. (13) Travis Fadden, N. Haverhill, NH, 108 Laps
22. (9) Glen Luce, Turner, ME, 102 Laps
23. (29) #Kyle Welch, Newport, NH, 80 Laps
24. (19) #Travis Stearns, Auburn, ME, 70 Laps
25. (28) Laine Chase, Beverly, MA, 70 Laps
26. (27) Matthew White, Northfield, VT, 61 Laps
27. (8) Craig Bushey, Fletcher, VT, 53 Laps
28. (14) Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 39 Laps
29. (22) #Joey M. Laquerre, E. Montpelier, VT, 38 Laps
30. (26) Jerry Dawson, Lynnfield, MA, 36 Laps
Lap Leaders: Wayne Helliwell, Jr., 1-92; Brian Hoar, 93-108; Helliwell, 109; Hoar, 110; Helliwell, 111-113.
Time of Race: 1:16:32
Margin of Victory: .027 seconds
Cautions: 11 (laps 16, 20, 25, 39, 53, 56, 68, 70, 92, 108, 108)
Heat Winners: Craig Bushey, Jimmy Hebert, Glen Luce
Consi Winners: Eric Chase