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 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.