- Following one of the closest finishes in Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North history Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), series President Tom Mayberry has announced the series’ first ever tie.
Wayne Helliwell, Jr. was declared the unofficial winner of the HP Hood 150 over Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. But after reviewing all photo and video evidence, as well as recreating the scene Monday morning, Mayberry made the decision to call the race a dead heat.
Both drivers will receive first-place trophies and will be awarded a PASS North win in the series’ record book.
The review process began at 9:01 a.m. Monday morning after Joe Polewarczyk, Sr. (Polewarczyk’s dad and Crew Chief) called Mayberry to question the finish. From that point, PASS officials reviewed all footage they could obtain and recreated the scene to the best of their ability while taking photos from each angle.
After the full review, Mayberry made the decision Monday evening to call the race a dead heat. He called Wayne Helliwell, Jr., Bruce Bernhardt (Helliwell’s car owner) and Joe Polewarczyk, Sr. to inform them of his decision and said that all parties were very understanding of the decision made.
“(Wayne) said it was so close, but he was good with it,” Mayberry told Speed51.com. “So I called Joey’s dad and I think he was slightly disappointed, but a little bit happy that we changed it to a dead heat. I told him it’s going to go down in history as each driver had a win, but that I’d get them a first-place trophy.”
On lap 135 of the 150-lap race, the transponder on Helliwell’s No. 27nh stopped working. That forced PASS officials to make the call based on what they saw visually, and Mayberry announced Helliwell as the unofficial winner.
Video captured by the Speed51.com cameras Sunday night do appear to show Polewarczyk’s No. 97 crossing the finish line first. But the angle of the video, with 51’s cameras being located roughly 30 feet to the left of the finish line, didn’t allow for a truly accurate representation of which car crossed the finish line first. That fact alone made it very difficult for PASS officials to say with 100% certainty which car crossed the finish line first.
The series said the following in a statement on their website Monday night:
A video taken 32 feet behind the start finish line shows the 97 car possibly slightly ahead but a shot from this angle will always favor the outside car.
After talking to many people, whose opinions varied equally and after trying to recreate the finish the best possible way with photos of vehicles taken at the finish line from several different angles, we have decided to call it a dead heat finish.
While Polewarczyk thought he crossed the finish line first and would have liked to have the win for himself, he was pleased with the decision made by series officials.
“You have to look at it from every angle,” said Polewarczyk. “You ask Wayne and he’s going to say he won; you ask me and I’m going to say I won. I guess it takes a bigger person to call it a tie. We each have our own different opinions but I don’t disagree with the call. It was close so I think the right call was made.”
Helliwell said in Victory Lane after the race that he thought he had crossed the finish line first after having a fender out in front off of turn four. While the Dover, New Hampshire driver admitted that he never like sharing as a kid, he believed that a fair call was made by PASS officials.
“We’d all love to win these races standalone by ourselves,” said Helliwell. “But like I said last night I thought it looked like we had a nose coming up out of the turn and I knew Joey was getting a run on the outside lane. I thought we had it. You look at some of those pictures and it looks like he has it in some, and you start looking at it from different angles and I guess everyone can come up with opinions.
“Is it a fair thing splitting it? Yeah, either way. It doesn’t matter as long as I can still come out of there with a win. I can think of a lot of worse things. It’s not like we’re getting DQ’d here. If being involved in a photo finish is the worse thing that can happen to us, we’ll take that all day long.”
In addition to Polewarczyk also receiving a first-place trophy, the two drivers will split the first and second-place purse money between themselves, according to Helliwell.
Mayberry did inform Speed51.com that the series is looking into a way to improve video angles for the upcoming Oxford 250 on Sunday, August 28.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com