BARRE, Vt. – Wayne Helliwell Jr. used a cross over move on Jimmy Hebert with about 15 laps to go to claim his first career Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl win in the American Canadian Tour’s 16th annual Merchants Bank 150 on Sunday.
Hebert held on for second while 17-year-old Emily Packard came home third.
Hebert led for the majority of the event after taking the lead on lap 26 from his third place starting position. He held off two former Thunder Road late model champions in Nick Sweet and Derrick O’Donnell in a fierce battle, while protecting the low lane. With just under 20 laps to go, Sweet and O’Donnell made hard contact on the backstretch, bringing out the ninth caution of the event. Sweet would be done to the day with front end damage, while O’Donnell returned after changing a flat.
The caution also brought Helliwell to Hebert’s outside for the restart. Helliwell hung tough on the outside for a couple of laps before pulling a crossover to get to the inside coming off turn two. Helliwell got the advantage and appeared like he would walk away from the field until the tenth and final caution with two laps to go. Helliwell hung on for the win as Hebert didn’t have enough in the outside lane.
Hebert and Packard were followed to the line by Joey Polewarczyk Jr., and Luke Hin
kley in the top five. Trampas Demers, Phil Scott, rookie Mike Ziter, Jamie Fisher and Jean-Paul Cyr all scored top ten finishes.
Helliwell became the 11th different winner in the 16th running of the Merchants Bank 150 and pocketed an extra $1,000 for becoming the second qualifier for the Bond Auto ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 20.
The race was completed in just over one hour and 13 minutes. A total of 43 ACT Late Models attempted to qualify for the series’ second event of the 2014 season. The starting grid was 30 strong.
Jeff Bousquet claimed his first career Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen win. He held off Christopher Pelkey, Doug Crowningshield, Jason Woodard and Cameron Ouellette. Donnie Yates earned his third career Allen Lumber Street Stocks victory over young Tyler Austin, Will Hennequin, Jamie Davis and Jadon Perry in the top five.