Plattsburgh, N.Y. – Dover, N.H.’s Wayne Helliwell, Jr. won the battle and the war, grinding to the victory in the Rent-A-Wreck Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway on Sunday, October 7 and unofficially earning his first American Canadian Tour Championship. He held off a late charging Austin Theriault, and 2012 Serie ACT Castrol Champion Patrick Laperle for the clutch victory.
Second-place point man Brian Hoar and Helliwell started nose to tail to start the feature that ran the first 49 laps without a caution. Helliwell had worked his way to the front earning a five point bonus for leading a lap, while Hoar stalked him through the field. When a second caution came out on lap 62, Hoar showed his hand, ducking into pit road for fresh tires and falling to the back of the pack.
Helliwell continued to lead while Hoar methodically worked his way through the 36-car field. The fourth caution of the 200-lap event on lap 87saw race leader Helliwell, Theriault, and Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. on pit road for tires.
A handful of laps later, the tide had turned as Hoar’s familiar #37 assumed the lead, and it was Helliwell’s turn to fight through traffic. Hoar continued to lead while Helliwell desperately clawed his way to the front, narrowly surviving a scary lap 110 wreck that left him with front end damage. By lap 111 of the event, Helliwell had raced his way to 7th while Hoar continued to lead.
Just two laps later, it was ACT Rookie of the Year Jimmy Hebert that troubled Hoar, diving underneath him to steal the lead from the 8-time champion. Hebert and Hoar battled for the top spot, while Helliwell creeped into fourth place.
On lap 145 Helliwell had risen to third, and engaged in a tight battle with Hebert for second while they closed in on lap traffic. Just as they reached it, Helliwell slid up and made light contact with Hebert, sliding and catching the car to hang on for second place. On lap 160, Helliwell’s battered car arrived in Hoar’s mirror.
With 37 laps to go, Helliwell dove underneath for the point, and the pair traded the lead several times in a duel for the championship. Hoar swung his car in the high lane anticipating lap traffic, while Helliwell tried to steal it on the inside. On lap 167, Hoar’s plan worked to perfection when he pinned Helliwell in lap traffic and was forced back in line.
Helliwell continued to try the inside line, but to no avail as Hoar repeatedly pinned him behind the slower lap traffic. With the championship on the line and laps winding down, the gloves came off with 20 to go and Helliwell dove one more time underneath Hoar for the point. This time when he reached lap traffic he took it three wide, stealing the lead as a caution flew on lap 181 when 7-time ACT Champion Jean Paul Cyr spun into the infield taking down a light pole.
When the restart came, it was Hoar fighting back in the outside, blasting by Helliwell and leaving him to fight off third place Joey Polewarczyk to hang on to the title. A caution on lap 186 put Helliwell in the outside lane, but he flew high and wide to the lead on the final restart and ran away to claim the 2012 title. Hoar fell from second to fourth in the closing laps when young Austin Theriault came tearing through the field, with Laperle on his tail. Hoar and Polewarcyk rounded out the top five.
Helliwell was choked up in victory lane.
“We had so much pressure coming in here, I just can’t believe it,” said Helliwell. “There are so many things running through my head, this is just unbelievable.”
Randy Potter, Jimmy Hebert, Brent Dragon, Ray Parent, and Nick Sweet completed the top ten. The race was run in 1 hour 51 minutes and 46 seconds and had eleven cautions. 49 cars attempted to qualify.
The Renegade division ran two gloves-off 15-lap segments, which saw Josh Terry picking up the victory with an overall score of 9 points. Tylor Terry came home second, losing a tie to Josh Terry with nine points also, and track champion Kevin Boutin rounded out the podium finishers with his third place finish. Joe Warren and Mark Caron rounded out the top five with ten and eleven points respectively. Lance Rabtoy, Jason McClatchie, Robert Gordon, Ryan Boutin, and Curtis Seymour finished sixth through tenth.
Jessey Mueller put on a clinic in the Modified division, winning the first segment and clawing to third in the second segment to earn the overall win. Nick Heywood finished second, just one point behind Mueller and Jake Branham took third with a total score of eight points. Joey Roberts and Rick Doner rounded out the top five.
Though the ACT Championship has come to a close, many competitors will be headed to Barre, VT’s Thunder Road for the 50th Annual People’s United Bank Milk Bowl worth over $160,000 next Sunday, October 14th. 2-time Champion David Pembroke and Brian Hoar will lead the field to the green in the three segment event, while Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen and Allen Lumber Street Stocks settle their championships in Mini Milk Bowls. Post time is 1pm.
Rent-A-Wreck Fall Foliage Unofficial Results
American Canadian Tour
Airborne Speedway – Plattsburgh, NY
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Pos. (Start) Driver, Hometown, Laps Completed
1. (6) Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, NH, 200 Laps
2. (22) Austin Theriault, Fort Kent, ME, 200 Laps
3. (3) Patrick Laperle, St-Denis, QC, 200 Laps
4. (8) Brian Hoar, Williston, VT, 200 Laps
5. (18) Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Hudson, NH, 200 Laps
6. (19) Randy Potter, Groveton, NH, 200 Laps
7. (21) #Jimmy Hebert, Williamstown, VT, 200 Laps
8. (9) Brent Dragon, Milton, VT, 200 Laps
9. (15) Ray Parent, Tiverton, RI, 200 Laps
10. (1) Nick Sweet, Barre, VT, 200 Laps
11. (2) Jean-Francois Dery, Quebec, QC, 200 Laps
12. (13) Patrick Cliche, St-Jean-Chry., QC, 200 Laps
13. (16) Donald Theetge, Boischatel, QC, 200 Laps
14. (26) Scott Dragon, Colchester, VT, 200 Laps
15. (7) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, VT, 199 Laps
16. (31) Glen Luce, Turner, ME, 199 Laps
17. (30) Eric Chase, Milton, VT, 199 Laps
18. (12) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, MA, 199 Laps
19. (23) Ricky Rolfe, Albany Twp, ME, 199 Laps
20. (4) Jonathan Bouvrette, Blainville, QC, 199 Laps
21. (29) Tyler Cahoon, Danville, VT, 198 Laps
22. (33) Brandon White, Kahnawake, QC, 198 Laps
23. (10) Rowland Robinson, Jr., Birch Harbor, ME, 198 Laps
24. (20) Jamie Fisher, Shelburne, VT, 197 Laps
25. (34) Spencer MacPherson, Carleton Place, ON, 197 Laps
26. (25) Bucko Branham, Plattsburgh, NY, 188 Laps
27. (32) Todd Davis, Claremont, NH, 186 Laps
28. (36) James Linardy, Somerville, MA, 185 Laps
29. (35) Jean-Paul Cyr, Milton, VT, 177 Laps
30. (28) Quinten Welch, Lancaster, NH, 141 Laps
31. (11) Travis Stearns, Auburn, ME, 110 Laps
32. (17) Hunter Bates, Pittsford, VT, 110 Laps
33. (14) TJ Brackett, Buckfield, ME, 109 Laps
34. (24) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, NH, 107 Laps
35. (5) Sylvain Lacombe, Terrebonne, QC, 87 Laps
36. (27) #Ben Lynch, Derry, NH, 51 Laps
Time of Race: 1:52:46
Cautions: 11 (laps 49, 62, 72, 87, 97, 103, 109, 115, 177, 180, 189)
Leaders: Jean Francois Dery, 1-51; Wayne Helliwell, Jr., 52-89; Patrick Laperle, 90-93; Brian Hoar, 94; Laperle, 95-99; Hoar, 100-111; Jimmy Hebert, 112-115; Hoar, 116-165; Helliwell, 166-167; Hoar, 168-176; Helliwell, 177-182; Hoar, 183-190; Helliwell, 191-200.