PHOTO: Wayne Helliwell, Jr., celebrates his Six Pack Pro Stock Challenge victory with his wife, Jill, and daughters, Britany, Elisabeth, and Brooke. Helliwell survived a rough 18 caution race that was cut short due to curfew. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM Photo)

— by T.J. Ingerson

LEE, N.H. — It was a rough race for most of the 34 starters, featuring 18 caution periods. The race had to be shortened to 78 laps after the cautions pushed the race to the town-imposed curfew of 8:00 pm. But when the checkered flag flew, a familiar face was back in victory lane as fan favorite Wayne Helliwell, Jr., turned into the winner’s circle as the winner of the final Six Pack Pro Stock Challenge race of the season at Lee USA Speedway.

Helliwell, driving his familiar No. 27 Bruce Bernhardt owned car, started in the 12th position and quietly worked his way to the front, able to avoid the wrecks. Helliwell restarted in the fifth position on a lap 30 restart and was quickly able to get to the third position. Helliwell followed Thompson Speedway regular Derek Ramstrom, of Worchester, Mass., as Ramstrom took the lead from then leader Scott Dragon on lap 31.

Helliwell worked under Ramstrom on lap 36 and was even with Ramstrom as they crossed the line, but a caution flag put Helliwell back behind Ramstrom. After a lap 41 restart, however, Helliwell was able to work under Ramstrom and took the lead on lap 46, where he was unchallenged for the remainder of the race until lap 78 when the race was called complete as curfew was reached.

“The car was unbelievable,” said Helliwell, of Dover, N.H. “We struggled yesterday with it and this morning, and we made wholesale changes to it. We made huge gains on it and went out and won the heat race. I just tried to be patience there in the beginning [in the 100] and it paid off.”

Barry Gray, of Belchertown, Mass., was chasing Helliwell over the final three restarts, and appeared to have the better car over the longer runs. Gray was inching toward Helliwell before a lap 74 caution stalled Gray’s progress. Gray finished second.

“I saw [Gray] coming and I knew he was quick,” Helliwell said. “We just had to run our line and protect the bottom. Lucikly, they called it a bit early and everything worked out great tonight.”

Perhaps the most impressive run of the night belonged to J.R. Baril. Baril, of Haverhill, Mass., started 34th in the 34 car field, avoided the wrecks, and finished in the third position. Ramstrom settled for fouth, while Jake Vanada, of Berkley, Mass., completed the unofficial top five.

Second place point man in the Six Pack Pro Stock Challenge Rich Eaton was sixth, while Scott Dragon, Jay Sands, Charlie Colby, and Jeremy Davis completed the unofficial top ten.

The 18 caution periods plagued the race, including five on lap 21 alone. A total of 11 caution flags were seen before lap 30, when race officials decided to go to single file restarts. Race winner Helliwell was disappointed with the showing of the race.

“It really is [disappointing],” said Helliwell. “A lot of these guys have tried to get the Pro Stocks back here as a weekly division. They made good gains in the first two of these races here, and then to have a big car count and kind of choke doesn’t help. I just hope the race up front was good.”

Unofficially, a 13th place finish gave Donnie Lashua the Six-Pack Pro Stock Challenge series championship. Lashua, of Canaan, N.H., had a troublesome day, pitted multiple times, but stayed out of the wrecks and was able to seal the championship.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Six Pack Pro Stock Challenge Oktoberfest 100
Six-Pack Pro Stock Challenge — Lee USA Speedway, Lee, N.H.
Saturday, October 22, 2011


1. (12) Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Dover, N.H.
2. (8) Barry Gray, Belchertown, Mass.
3. (34) J.R. Baril, Haverhill, Mass.
4. (9) Derek Ramstrom, Worchester, Mass.
5. (10) Jake Vanada, Berkley, Mass.
6. (1) Rich Eaton, Seabrook, N.H.
7. (2) Scott Dragon, Colchester, Vt.
8. (4) Jay Sands, Hampton, N.H.
9. (26) Charlie Colby, Newcastle, Me.
10. (19) Jeremy Davis, Tamworth, N.H.