PHOTO: Wayne Helliwell, Jr., has planned an ambitious schedule for 2012, racing at two weekly tracks and with the American-Canadian Tour. (Alan Ward photo)
–by T.J. Ingerson
DOVER, N.H. — Wayne Helliwell, Jr., will be a busy man in 2012.
The Dover, N.H., championship winning racer has announced he will return to the Ed and Bobby Witkum-owned Small Block Supermodified to defend his track championship at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. Helliwell will also race the Bruce Bernhardt-owned No. 27 Late Model, returning to the American-Canadian Tour, as well as running weekly at the newly NASCAR-sacntioned Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H.
Helliwell finished second in the season standings in his first full season on the American-Canadian Tour, capturing five top-five finishes and ten top-ten finishes in 12 starts. Helliwell and Bernhardt also won their second consecutive Ford Blue Oval Championship, securing a win at Waterford Speedbowl in 2011 along the way.
Helliwell will have a chance to compete for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship by competiting at both Lee USA Speedway and Canaan Fair Speedway. Both divisions that he’ll compete in, Small Block Supermodifieds at Lee and Late Models at Canaan, are the track’s premier division with NASCAR. Helliwell, who was the 2011 NASCAR New Hampshire state champion, will compete against hundreds of drivers across the United States and Canada, including 2011 Whelen All-American Series champion Philip Morris of Ruckersville, Va., and 2011 runner-up and 2010 champion Keith Rocco, of Wallingford, Conn., for a national championship.
Helliwell is tentatively scheduled to race 52 times in the 2012 season. Canaan Fair Speedway and the American-Canadian Tour have two scheduling conflicts on their tentative 2012 season schedules. Helliwell said a decision will be made before the American-Canadian Tour race at Sanair Super Speedway in Ste-Pie, Quebec.
“It just comes down to wanting to race every weekend,” Helliwell said in a team issued press release. “When the time comes it will be tough decision either way. We’ll see how it plays out. Whatever makes the most sense is the direction we will go in. It sounds like a lot of races but we did 48 in 2011 and I felt like we could have raced more.”
New to the American-Canadian Tour in 2011, Helliwell visited many tracks that were unfamiliar, and is looking forward to going back to many of those same tracks.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to these tracks a second time,” Helliwell explained. “We were good at places I didn’t expect to be: the Canada races, Devils Bowl, and Beech Ridge. At the same time, there were tracks I thought we would be better at and were not. We showed we can be consistent, now it’s time close the deal. We learned so much running with the series last year. I think it showed as the season progressed.”
Helliwell’s goal for 2012 is to end up in victory lane on the American-Canadian Tour. And he would enjoy doing it at his home track, Lee USA Speedway, in the opening race.
“I can’t think of a better place I’d like to get my first tour win at,” said Helliwell. “That’s home for us. We’re excited to get back there with the series.”
Helliwell, who has launched a new website (waynehelliwelljr.com), will begin his 2012 season at the Blastoff Weekend at Waterford Speeedbowl in Waterford, Conn.