Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway continued the early-season chase for the 2009
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship last Friday night, with Wayne
Helliwell, Jr. taking down the main event win in the E Keys 4 Cars Late
Model feature event.
Veteran Bobby Gahan and Bobby Baillargeon paced the field to the green flag,
with Baillargeon bolting out into the early lead when flagman Bryon Callen
let them loose, and Gahan quickly settling into the second spot.
Baillargeon put a couple of car lengths between himself and the competition
in the early laps, while Gahan fought hard to maintain the second spot.
Unfortunately, contact on lap 11 sent him hard into the turn one retaining
wall and ended his night prematurely.
Gahan suffered minor injuries in the wreck, but was able to walk away from
the battered remains of his racer under his own power. On the restart, A.J.
Begin flexed his muscles, moving past Baillargeon in the high groove to take
his turn out front.
Begin continued to set the pace at halfway, with Helliwell now right up to
his back bumper and looking for the lead. Helliwell quickly moved to the
outside of the leader, and the race was on.
The pair battled side by side for the lead over the next several laps, with
Helliwell gradually moving ahead to take the point. A lap 35 caution
re-aligned the field once more, with Helliwell now holding the top spot.
J.R. Baril made a late-race charge to pass Begin for second, but there was
nothing he could do to stop Helliwell, who went on to post his first win of
the 2009 campaign. Baril, Begin, Tom Fuller, Charlie Rousseau, Mike
Johnson, Bryan Kruczek, Jeffrey Labrecque, Jr., Geoff Rollins, and
Baillargeon were the rest of the top ten.
The Prime Storage Late Model Sportsman followed Sparky MacIver to the start,
and when the dust settled, they followed him to the checkers, as Sparky led
flag-to-flag to pick up his first win of the year.
Coming off a hard trip into the frontstretch wall the week before, Dan Eaton
recovered to put in an impressive run and finish second behind MacIver,
while Bobby Melvin also got his best finish of the year in the third spot.
Jesse Bousquet collected his second straight fourth place finish, with Jimmy
Renfrew, Bill Ahern, Michele Fushpanski, opening night winner Grant Aither,
"piranha Pete" Evans, and Brian Grantz the remainder of the top ten.
Two-time defending champ Eddie Witkum, Jr. made it back-to-back wins in the
PB Chopper Shop and Rods Small Block Supers, taking another impressive win
in the 25-lap feature event.
Opening day winner Dan Bowes was first out of the gate, setting a torrid
pace as he led the way for the first en laps. Witkum eventually caught up
to Bowes, and by halfway, he had made his way past to take command of the
Witkum led the rest of the way to pick up win number two on the year, with
Bowes taking home runner-up honors. Bob Millett, Jr. ended his impressive
'09 debut with a third place finish, followed by Mike Spurling, and Tommy
After a tough run left him 13th in the season opener, defending Planet Aid
Hobby Stock champion Jimmy Russell led the feature to green this week, and
he held off a tough challenge from outside pole starter Kenny "Caveman"
Scott to move out into the early lead.
At the crossed flags, Russell continued to lead, although Eric Hoffman had
moved up to run second ahead of Scott, with Dennis Dumas and Patrick Tanguay
locked in a side-by-side battle for the fourth spot.
Late in the race, Alby Ovitt joined the lead battle, but Russell was
untouchable, holding off Ovitt's challenge to score the first win of his
title defense. Ovitt, Jimmy Renfrew, Jim Shorey, Tanguay, Dumas, Hoffman,
Chris Titcomb, Bobby Glass, and Scott finished up the top ten.
Chris Harding picked up the first "Dash for Cash" race of the year to open
the night up for the David's Race Cars and Components Roadrunners,
outrunning Troy Washburn and James Fitzgerald to pick up the winner's
In the feature event, it was once again Harding breaking out to the lead,
but this time, he only lasted a couple of laps before Jim Piaseczny came
along and knocked him off the top spot.
The action was fast and furious all race long, with opening night winner Tim
Boyle moving in during the late going to challenge Piaseczny, but the
veteran held on to collect his first checkered flag of the 2009 season.
Runner-up honors went to Boyle, with a late-closing Niko Manyati, Loren
Smith, Steve Nichols, Lance Barthelemy, Shaun Waites, Jr., Harding, Cris
King, and Justin King wrapping up the top ten finishers.
Crystal Brown made it two winners in two races in the American Auto Parts
Ironman feature event, taking home the win over opening night victor Tom
Harton, Warren Harvey, Joe Horvath, and Matt Bakutis.