A streak by definition can be defined as a brief run or stretch of good or bad luck; and/or an unbroken series of wins or losses. Heading into Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 150 at Canaan Fair Speedway Wayne Helliwell Jr. was a on a streak of three consecutive top 2 finishes in just as many starts in the familiar bright orange Bruce Bernhardt Ford Fusion [not counting a third place finish Friday night with the 350 Supermodified]. What’s more impressive about the two second place finishes and a victory in last weekend’s Spring Green 112 is they were not your normal Saturday night 35 lap features. These were full on 150 lap American Canadian Tour events. Saturday’s $5,000 to win unsanctioned event at Canaan fair Speedway would only add to the streak of an already impressive start to the 2012 race season.
Fresh off their first American Canadian Tour win the Ekeys-4-Cars, Unique Ford 27NH team was riding high into the Canaan New Hampshire oval. However after testing at the track the week prior the team found broken suspension parts upon routine maintenance during the week. “I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we got there Saturday, said Wayne. We found a broken shock and a few things wrong with the car… so our setup that we left with last week was really out the window; we just went back to our baseline and started over.” Their worries would soon fade away as a 9th to 4th run in the heat race would start them 12th on the grid for the $5,000 special. “We had to really go in the heat, there were no passing points today and I didn’t want those extra laps on the tires from the consi [B-main],” said Wayne.
The first half the Subway Fresh Fit 150 was relatively clean and caution free. Wayne would take his time battle up to the third position prior to a lap 81 yellow in which himself and the majority of the front runners would take advantage of. With the 6 tire rule in effect most teams would bolt on new right side tires.
Much like the first two American Canadian Tour events of the season Helliwell and eight time champion Brian Hoar found themselves battling side by side for much of the event. As the pair battled back to the front with fresh rubber, Hoar would grab the lead on a lap 109 restart only to lose it two laps later as Helliwell would open up a commanding lead till a lap 121 caution flag. The ensuing restart would see Hoar get a questionable jump on Helliwell, never able to actually clear him the yellow would fly again. “I was pretty disgusted when I lost the lead, said Wayne. “I was mad at myself for letting it happen. Brian [Hoar] was doing what he needed to… I can’t fault him for that.”
On the restart Helliwell was not to be denied as they exited turn two he had already made the pass for the lead, rocketing by on the outside lane. It was a lead he won’t lose again. “I can’t tell you how hard I drove into one [turn one] on the restart… I was either going into the field or around Brian. The car was so good, It stuck and i was able to make the pass…” said Wayne. A caution with 5 laps to go would setup a final battle between the ACT rivals. Hoar’s attempt to regain the lead would be to no avail; Helliwell would go on to pick up his second win of the year and the $5,000 payday. “The car was so well balanced today, that second set of tires were spot on,” an excited Helliwell said.
Helliwell’s busy racing schedule kicks into high gear this coming weekend as he’ll race three times in as many days. Friday night at Lee USA Speedway for race number two with 350 Supermodifed. Saturday the Bernhardt Motorsports team will look for a repeat of the Fresh Fit 150, back at Canaan Fair Speedway. Sunday the team carries a 30 point lead in the overall ACT standings as they tackle the famed Oxford Plaines Speedway in Oxford, ME for the forth event of the American Canadian Tour.
More information on this weekend’s events can be found at:
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(Eric LaFleche/VLF photo)
Article Credit: Jason Lubin
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