Jun 05

Nick Sweet wins duel with Wayne Helliwell Jr. at Devil’s Bowl (updated)

Sweet grabbed the lead on the start from polesitter Bobby Therrien and led the 29 laps

ACT logo Nick Sweet came out on top of a race-long duel with defending American-Canadian Tour (ACT) Champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. to take the People’s United Bank 100 at West Haven, VT’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, June 4, becoming the first repeat winner of the 2016 season.

The Barre, VT driver had surrendered the lead to Helliwell on the race’s final restart on lap 92 following Ryan Olsen’s spin. But Sweet dove back inside Helliwell two laps later to regain the top spot for the final time. Helliwell then came under attack from Dillon Moltz, allowing Sweet to pull away in the closing laps for his sixth career ACT Late Model Tour win.

Sweet grabbed the lead on the start from polesitter Bobby Therrien and led the 29 laps. Helliwell, a three-time ACT winner at Devil’s Bowl, then swung to his outside to assume command. Although Sweet continued to dog Helliwell through lapped traffic, he was unable to regain command as the race threatened to go caution-free.

But a trio of yellow flags, beginning with rookie Mark Jenison sailing off the backstretch on lap 79 and ending with fellow rookie Devin O’Connell doing the same on lap 85, allowed Sweet to pull even with Helliwell. Sweet slid up the track in turn one on the lap-85 restart, but recovered quickly and worked his way underneath Helliwell to retake the point with 10 laps to go. Olsen went around in turn one two laps later, setting up the final dash to the checkered flag.

Helliwell held off Moltz for second, while Rich Dubeau earned a career-best fourth-place finish. Luke Hinkley completed the top-five. Brad Babb, Todd Davis, Therrien, Josh Masterson, and Brent Dragon rounded out the top-10. Sweet unofficially retakes the ACT point lead after Eddie MacDonald struggled all night in a back-up car.

The ACT Late Model Tour heads to Groveton, NH’s Speedway 51 on Saturday, June 18 for the Generation Next 151. Post time is 5:30pm.




Pos   Start Pos   Driver   Car #     Hometown   Laps

  1. ( 2 ) Nick Sweet ( 40VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
  2. ( 3 ) Wayne Helliwell, Jr. ( 27NH ) , Dover, NH , 100 Laps
  3. ( 6 ) Dillon Moltz ( 5CT ) , Waterford, CT , 100 Laps
  4. ( 4 ) Rich Dubeau ( 30NH ) , Lebanon, NH , 100 Laps
  5. ( 5 ) Luke Hinkley ( 31NH ) , Claremont, NH , 100 Laps
  6. ( 12 ) Brad Babb ( 15NH ) , Windham, ME , 100 Laps
  7. ( 17 ) Todd Davis ( 34NH ) , Claremont, NH , 100 Laps
  8. ( 1 ) Bobby Therrien ( 5VT ) , Hinesburg, VT , 100 Laps
  9. ( 7 ) Josh Masterson ( 11NY ) , Charlotte, VT , 100 Laps
  10. ( 10 ) Brent Dragon ( 8NY ) , Milton, VT , 100 Laps
  11. ( 11 ) Mike Ziter ( 54VT ) , Barre, VT , 100 Laps
  12. ( 8 ) Scott Payea ( 37VT ) , Miton, VT , 100 Laps
  13. ( 23 ) Brandon Atkins ( 4NY ) , AuSable Forks, NY , 99 Laps
  14. ( 28 ) Kyle Welch ( 9NH ) , Newport, NH , 99 Laps
  15. ( 15 ) Emily Packard ( 9ME ) , E. Montpelier, VT , 99 Laps
  16. ( 16 ) Steve Miller ( 00NY ) , Vergennes, VT , 99 Laps
  17. ( 20 ) Eddie MacDonald ( 17MA ) , Rowley, MA , 99 Laps
  18. ( 13 ) Rowland Robinson, Jr. ( 28ME ) , Steuben, ME , 99 Laps
  19. ( 9 ) Aaron Fellows ( 29NH ) , Croydon, NH , 99 Laps
  20. ( 18 ) #Devin O’Connell ( 1VT ) , Madison, CT , 99 Laps
  21. ( 14 ) Robert Bryant, Jr. ( 3CT ) , Rutland, VT , 99 Laps
  22. ( 22 ) #Ryan Olsen ( 61NH ) , N. Haverhill, NH , 99 Laps
  23. ( 27 ) Seth Bridge ( 26ME ) , Mendon, VT , 98 Laps
  24. ( 24 ) Jim Zullo II ( 10VT ) , Claremont, NH , 98 Laps
  25. ( 21 ) Claude Leclerc ( 11QC ) , Lanoraie, QC , 97 Laps
  26. ( 25 ) Mark Hudson ( 82MA ) , Norton, MA , 95 Laps
  27. ( 26 ) Jeff Morse ( 99NH ) , Cornish, NH , 82 Laps
  28. ( 19 ) #Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) , Warwick, RI , 77 Laps

Lap Leaders: Bobby Therrien, pole; Nick Sweet, 1-29; Wayne Helliwell, Jr., 30-89; Sweet, 90-91; Helliwell, 92-93; Sweet, 94-100. (5 lead changes among 3 drivers)

Time of Race: 51:28   Margin of Victory: 0.873 seconds

Cautions: 4 (laps 79, 79, 85, 91)

Heat Winners: Aaron Fellows, Brent Dragon, Mike Ziter

Consi Winners: Robert Bryant, Jr., Josh Masterson

source: acttour.com


Tough Run for Eddie MacDonald at Devil’s Bowl

The 17th place finish for Eddie Mac in the American Canadian Tour’s Merchant’s Bank 100 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vermont on Saturday was not the typical run one might expect from the team. After a devastating crash on the last turn of the last lap at the Waterford Speedbowl on May 21, Eddie Mac was forced to activate the old tried but true back-up “flame car” while necessary repairs were made to the EXIT Realty/Hancock Electric Chevy owned by Freddie Peterson.

With time constraints plaguing the team, the usual meticulous preparation in the shop could not happen with crew chief Rollie LaChance saying, “We literally took the car out of moth balls and tried to get it ready for today’s race. We also had to strip the Chevy of the damage, get it to Dale (Shaw) for a new front clip, and take the engine out to be checked out. We lost a lot of time there so we really didn’t have a week to get the car ready. We could only put in a basic set-up and hope we could adjust. We only had three twenty minute practices and that wasn’t nearly enough time to make the adjustments needed. This is a winning car and if we ran it for a number of races, I am sure we could get it performing as it once did. I was hoping for a top half of the field finish but we fell a few spots short.”

The car was tight in and loose off for Eddie Mac and even though the EXIT Realty/Hancock Electric Pontiac posted a fifth fastest time in the second practice the disappointed driver said, “The fast time was misleading because I was able to arc the car in the turns with no one around me. In the heat and the race I wasn’t able to do that in traffic so the car was really tight in the center and so loose off I couldn’t mash the throttle and had no power down the straight. We knew it was a longshot with the car when we uncovered it in the shop and not being able to get it ready as we would have liked was tough but this is all part of racing, We lost the point lead but we were able to hold on to second place so now we will get the primary car back together this week so we will be ready for the next ACT race at Speedway 51.”

Eddie Mac started 20th in the 28 car-field and struggled right away falling as far as 23rd with the leaders closing. Nick Sweet and Wayne Helliwell set a torrid pace around the flat, half-mile oval as they quickly began lapping cars. By lap 40 in the 100 lap event honoring John Bruno, the #17 went a lap down to the leaders as they continued to march through the field. Despite the handling woes, Eddie Mac was able to keep the leaders in sight and it was not until lap 76 that the third place car was able to make the pass.

“The car improved a little as the race went on,” said “the Outlaw.” “It isn’t much fun being out there in a car that is not competitive but we did our best to try to make the best of a bad situation. When you run for the championship things are going to happen to test you and the fact that we were able to get this car, that has not run in three years since winning the Bond ACT Invitational at Loudon, ready in less than a week is a credit to the guys in the shop and the crew at the track, Everyone worked so hard on both cars I am very thankful to all the guys. Tomorrow is Sunday but everyone will be at the shop to start putting together Freddie’s car for Speedway 51 on the 18th and working on the K&N car for Stafford Springs Speedway on the 17th, As you can see, we will be busy.”

“Thanks as always to sponsors Derek Beatrice from EXIT Realty and Ken and Scott Thompson from Hancock Electric for their continued support,” said Eddie Mac. “We couldn’t do this without help from our K&N owner Rob Grimm, Stilo, Schroth Racing, and HMS Motorsports have been with us for a long time and their support is greatly appreciated. We hope to see all our race fans at Speedway 51 and if you can’t make it watch for Jolene’s (Drandson) updates on Grimm Racing Buddies.”

source: Dick Casey, Jolene Drandson


Emily Packard Leaves Devil’s Bowl Speedway with 15th Place finish

Emily Packard and her Northstar Fireworks/Packard Fuels team had high hopes as they unloaded her car Saturday afternoon at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, unfortunately, things wouldn’t go as hoped and she would end the night with a 15th place finish.  “It was a long day,” said Packard, “I was hoping for a better finish.  The car was ok, but it wasn’t really handling that great towards the end of the race; I was just trying to make the best of it that I could.”

Readying for practice, Emily and the team rolled the car out, while Scott Coburn, interim crew chief for the weekend, and Joe Polewarczyk Sr., talked over the car set up. After first practice, Packard found herself 20th fastest on the speed charts, but the team went to work making changes and when final practice was over she had moved to third fastest time on the chart.  “Practice was pretty interesting,” Emily said, “everyone seemed to be all over the place out there, so it kind of set the tone for the rest of the day.  That last practice the car was really good, and I was confident as we headed into the heat race.”

Lining up outside on the front row in the heat race, the 19-year old set out to try to take the lead racing side by side with the pole sitter lap after lap.  While battling with the 54VT for the lead and the laps winding down, Emily would find herself crossed-up sideways coming out of four, making an unbelievable save, righting the car but losing several spots forcing her to run the consi race to make her way into the People’s United Bank 100.  “He had me completely sideways,” said the East Montpelier native, “we were like a T; although I was able to save it we lost a bunch of spots because of it.”  Emily would start on the outside pole for the consolation race, finishing third and transferring her into the feature race.

As the cars rolled out for the American Canadian Tour race, Emily would start in fifteenth.  With the race running caution free until lap 79, she had moved up to thirteenth, however she had lost a lap to the leaders.  She would restart the race the first car one lap down, battling to get her lap back, but the cautions continued to fly and she would lose a couple more positions to other lapped cars.  As the final laps wound down, she would hold on to finish in fifteenth.  “It was a rough race out there tonight, drivers seemed to be a little more aggressive than normal,” said Emily.  “We had an ok race, nothing spectacular.  It wasn’t the finish we had hoped for, not really the best results, but we will remain positive and rally together and be ready for the next race.”

“This week a huge thank you goes out to Scott (Coburn); he stepped up to be my crew chief and spotter this weekend, and he did a fantastic job.  Also a big thanks to Joe Sr., Joey Jr, Mike, Nate, Kasey, Tim and Brodie, for time spent working on the car at the race shop as well as all the help at the track.   Lastly, I want to thank all my sponsors; Northstar Fireworks, Packard Fuels, Be The Match, Creative Visions, Vermont Country Campers, Berlin Optical Expressions, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Yipes! of Barre, GossCars.com and Fecteau Homes.”

source: Jolene Drandson