Helliwell Goes Full Throttle In New Hampshire

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Wayne Helliwell Jr. (27) battles Bryan Kruczek for the lead during Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Alan Ward Photo)
Wayne Helliwell Jr. (27) battles Bryan Kruczek for the lead during Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Alan Ward Photo)

LOUDON, N.H. – Wayne Helliwell Jr. reigned supreme at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday by winning American-Canadian Tour Full Throttle 75.

Helliwell took the lead for good from Bryan Kruczek on lap 42 and crushed the competition down the stretch in his familiar orange No. 27NH to earn the 14th victory of his ACT career.

The three-time ACT champion was slated to start 10th for the main event but got a lucky break before the field even came to the grid when multiple cars, including scheduled polesitter Ryan Kuhn, flunked pre-race technical inspection. As a result, Helliwell took the initial start in seventh while rookie Derek Gluchacki led the field to the green.

Gluchacki led the first 10 laps after an opening-lap wreck that collected Tom Sheehan, Nick Johnson, and Jimmy Linardy. D.J. Shaw then took command, getting inside Gluchacki to grab the lead and pick up crucial bonus points in his championship battle with Jimmy Hebert.

Shaw’s stay on top lasted eight circuits before Dillon Moltz swung underneath him to pick up the point. Moltz spent the next eight laps pulling away as Shaw, Helliwell, Gluchacki, Kruczek, and others jockeyed behind him.

Helliwell was up to second when Stephen Donahue came to a halt near the start/finish line to bring out the second caution. On the restart, Helliwell got the jump to lead lap 32. Moltz hung tough, getting back alongside Helliwell before Kruczek dove three-wide entering turn three. After Moltz edged Kruczek by a hair at the line on lap 33, Kruczek took over the lead until a competition caution at the halfway point.

Once drivers returned to the track after getting fresh tires and adjustments, Helliwell again got a great restart to steal the lead back. This time, Helliwell showcased the true potential of his Bruce Bernhardt–owned Ford, leaving the field far in his rear-view mirror.

Things closed up one more time when Moltz spun out of the third spot with six laps remaining, drawing the fourth and final yellow. Although Kruczek mounted a brief challenge on the restart, Helliwell soon got the best of him and launched away from the pack for his second ACT victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Point leader Jimmy Hebert came alive late, passing Kruczek on the final lap for second. It was Hebert’s third straight runner-up finish at NHMS dating back to the last two ACT Invitationals in 2016 and 2017.

Rookie Tom Carey III was strong all day and finished fourth in his career-best ACT effort. Shaw took fifth while Woody Pitkat charged from the 24th starting spot to come home sixth. Moltz, Kuhn, Dylan Payea and Jesse Switser rounded out the top-10.

The finish:

Wayne Helliwell Jr., Jimmy Hebert, Bryan Kruczek, Tom Carey III, D.J. Shaw, Woody Pitkat, Dillon Moltz, Ryan Kuhn, Dylan Payea, Jesse Switser, Bobby Therrien, Marcel J. Gravel, Jamie AUbe, Mike Benevides, Matt Anderson, Derek Gluchacki, Gerard Giordano Jr., Mark Jenison, Michael Lindquist, James Linardy, Ben Rowe, Christopher Pelkey, Stephen Donahue, Tom Sheehan, Nick Johnson.