Wayne Helliwell Jr. and the EKeys4Cars/Union Ford No. 27 team went north of the border for their third American Canadian Tour victory last weekend as the Late Model tour made an infrequent return to Sanair Speedway in St. Pie, Quebec.
The Dover ace bested defending champion Brian Hoar and Fort Kent, Maine, national prospect Austin Theriault in the 100-lapper on the 7/8 mile tri-oval that was completed Sunday after a rainy Saturday start.
Three point races remain on ACT’s schedule: a Castrol Series combo event at Riverside in Ste. Croix (Quebec City) on Aug. 25, the Thunder Road Labor Day Classic on Sunday, Sept. 2 and the Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Sunday, Oct. 6.
Car owner Bruce Bernhardt says, “We’re out to win championships. It’s what we do. When we got beat by Brian Hoar last year, we took notice of how ready they were to try and win every time out. We went up to the open test session in July, having never been to Sanair before, and it made a difference.”
“We ran a setup similar to what we use at Canaan,” Helliwell said. “We ran two 20-lap practice sessions Saturday to see how it was on the longer runs. We started out tight and were a little loose at the end — just about the way you want it.”
Lee USA is pushing the reset button after Friday’s ISMA Ollie Silva Memorial rainout. “Everything’s planned the same for this week as if last week never happened,” promoter Bob Watson said. An earlier than usual post, 6:30 p.m., is in effect. The Benson Lumber Small Block Supers, Hobby Stocks, Classic Lites and NEMA Lites are also scheduled.
Hudson had 29 Roadrunners in for the 10th annual Don Hayes Memorial event. Jarod Soucy of Marlborough, Mass., yet to own a razor at age 12, swept both 25-lap segments of the 50-lap race. Doug Dawkins of Haverhill, a former Lee USA Roadrunner champion, was second overall. Third went to Raynham, Mass. greybeard Todd “The Hammer” Henshaw.
There were a few hundred fans enjoying the car count and the competitive racing in the Hudson heats, but there was some grumbling later during the caution-filled second segment, which dragged on. The delays exposed a problem short tracks have faced often over the years. Once you allow drivers to roll to a stop on the top of a turn to catch a yellow and then give them time to make repairs so they can return on the lead lap, because it’s a big race or you’re protecting your regulars, or whatever, you’re in trouble if the yellows keep coming. Fans know when they rate low on the totem pole. It’s a tough balancing act. Several drivers noted that promoter Bob Webber cares about them, but Sunday night was a tough deal.
It was made tougher by the antics of Billy Osborne, who had finished second in the first segment and was in contention for the win before getting knocked into the infield early in segment two.
After a later joust with another contender, Jack Victoria of Epping, Osborne saw fit to hunt him down and wheel across the nose of Victoria’s car under yellow. Soon there was an altercation in the pits and Hudson police officers took up positions at a couple of haulers. How it sugars off is Hudson’s business, but I can name several tracks in the region that would grant Osborne the rest of the summer off.
As for Soucy, he drove a flawless race in a front-wheel drive rig that was glued to the track. He picked his spots well to blow by cars as they tried in vain to protect the bottom and when necessary, he swooped them on the outside. The Don Hayes Memorial will not be the last race he wins this season.
Canaan Asphalt has an early 5 p.m. start Saturday to accommodate Twin 35’s for Late Models and Twin 25’s for Pro Stocks.
The Valenti Modified Series, led by Chelmsford, Mass.’ Jon McKennedy, races at Seekonk Saturday.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series, which packed Hudson a while back, is at Star Speedway in Epping on Saturday along with the Amsoil NELCAR Legends Tour, Outlaws, Strictly Stocks, Roadrunners, and Star 4 Modifieds. Post time is 6 p.m.
Dad’s 4By Tools and Supply presents the Jack McDowell 100 for Street Stocks Saturday at Riverside Speedway in Groveton.
Points leader Shawn Swallow of Stark, Cristofer King of Derry and Emerson Cayer of Contoocook will be in action Saturday at Monadnock in a Northeast Mini Stock Tour event.
Trackside appears Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
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On Track This Week
-- Thunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
-- Lee USA: Friday, 6:30 pm
-- Canaan Dirt: Friday, 7 p.m.
-- Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Canaan Asphalt: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Riverside Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Twin State: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
-- Legion Speedway: Sunday, 5 p.m.
-- Hudson Speedway: Sunday, 6 p.m.