–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
VMM Editor

WEST HAVEN – Nick Sweet got past Wayne Helliwell Jr. on the inside shortly after a late race restart to claim the win on Saturday night at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in the People’s United Bank John Bruno Memorial 100.

The win for the Barre, Vt. driver was his second of the season, which have both come at Vermont tracks, and the sixth of his ACT Late Model Tour career.

Sweet led the first 29 laps of the race before he surrendered the top spot to three-time ACT Late Model Tour champion Wayne Helliwell Jr. on lap 30. Helliwell held onto the lead through two restarts until a lap 85 restart, which saw Sweet restart on Helliwell’s outside.

Sweet was unable to use the preferred outside restart lane to his advantage as he would overdrive turn one. Sweet was able to rebound, however, and worked to Helliwell’s inside into turn three on lap 87 to claim the top spot two laps later.

The races’ final restart came on lap 91 and the two would trade the lead on the restart. Sweet, however, would prevail once again on the inside and claim the win.

“What I’ve learned in a race car is that the race isn’t over until the checkered flags come out,” Sweet said. “I knew early on that we didn’t have as good of a car as Wayne (Helliwell), so I kind of went into, not really into conservation mode as I had to keep him within striking distance, but just not overabuse the brakes and tires.

“That (second to) last caution helped a lot. It let us cool stuff down and once we cooled it down, we had more tire and brake than Wayne. We drove away and it was a good day.”

The race went caution free for the first 79 laps and had the appearance early of last year’s caution free event. Sweet admitted he needed those late race caution flags to be able to challenge Helliwell for the top spot.

“It’s amazing how a race can change on circumstance,” Sweet said. “It can change a race so dramatic. Those caution flags certainly helped.”

Helliwell, of Dover, N.H., led the most laps in the 100-lap event and settled for second. Dillon Moltz of Waterford, Conn., moved three spots from his sixth place starting spot to finish third. Rich Dubeau of Claremont, N.H. posted a career best fourth place finish while Luke Hinkley of Claremont, N.H. completed a whirlwind year with a fifth place finish.

Brad Babb finished sixth while Todd Davis bounced back from a late race incident to finish seventh from a 17th place starting spot. Bobby Therrien, Josh Masterson, and Brent Dragon completed the top-ten finishers.

Four caution flags slowed the 100-lap event that took just over 51 minutes to complete. Aaron Fellows, Dragon, and Mike Ziter earned the heat race wins while Robert Bryant Jr. and Masterson claimed the consolation race wins. Sweet’s margin of victory was just under one second.

The ACT Late Model Tour will travel to Speedway 51 on Saturday, June 18 for the Central Asphalt Paving Lil’ Joey Generation Next 151.

VMM will have more from the People’s United Bank John Bruno Memorial 100 shortly.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – People’s United Bank John Bruno Memorial 100
ACT Late Model Tour – Devil’s Bowl Speedway, West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, June 4, 2016

(# — denotes rookie)

1. (2) Nick Sweet, Barre, Vt.
2. (3) Wayne Helliwell Jr., Dover, N.H.
3. (6) Dillon Moltz, Waterford, Conn.
4. (4) Rich Dubeau, Lebanon, N.H.
5. (5) Luke Hinkley, Claremont, N.H.
6. (12) Brad Babb, Windham, Maine
7. (17) Todd Davis, Claremont, N.H.
8. (1) Bobby Therrien, Hinesburg, Vt.
9. (7) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
10. (10) Brent Dragon, Milton, Vt.
11. (11) Mike Ziter, Barre, Vt.
12. (12) Scott Payea, Milton, Vt.
13. (23) Brandon Atkins, AuSable Forks, N.Y.
14. (28) Kyle Welch, Newport, N.H.
15. (15) Emily Packard, East Montpelier, Vt.
16. (16) Steve Miller, Vergennes, Vt.
17. (20) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.
18. (13) Rowland Robinson Jr., Steuben, Maine
19. (9) Aaron Fellows, Croydon, N.H.
20. (18) # Devin O’Connell, Madison, Conn.
21. (14) Robert Bryant Jr., Brooklyn, Conn.
22. (22) # Ryan Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H.
23. (27) Seth Bridge, Mendon, Vt.
24. (24) Jim Zullo II, Claremont, N.H.
25. (21) Claude Leclerc, Lanoarie, Que.
26. (25) Mark Hudson, Norton, Mass.
27. (26) Jeff Morse, Cornish, N.H.
28. (19) # Mark Jenison, Warwick, R.I.

PHOTO: Nick Sweet celebrates his ACT Late Model Tour People’s United Bank John Bruno Memorial 100 win on Saturday night at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)