Waterbury, VT – The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) will see the return of one of the Northeast’s most accomplished drivers this coming season. Wayne Helliwell Jr., the 2012 and 2013 ACT Champion, recently stated that he will be competing full-time on the Tour in 2015.
The Dover, NH veteran came out on top of duels with 8-time Tour Champion Brian Hoar in 2012 and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. in 2013, respectively. Helliwell won six races over those two years, including the 2012 Fall Foliage 200 at Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY and three victories at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT.
Helliwell ran a partial ACT schedule in 2014, but will seek a third title this year on the 13-race Tour, which will visit tracks in five U.S. states and Canada. The former Lee USA Speedway Champion is looking forward to the challenge of the Tour competition.
“I think the competition is going to be even stronger than it has been,” Helliwell said. “You’ll have Joey (Polewarczyk Jr.) again, he’s always a contender. Jimmy Hebert, Ray Parent, and some of the newcomers will be strong as well. It’s never a ‘give me’ or ‘here you go’; it’s going to be really tough.”
Despite his partial schedule last season, Helliwell still captured a win in the Merchant’s Bank 150 at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT, along with five top-5 finishes. His efforts helped his Bruce Bernhardt–owned team finish second in the 2014 ACT owner’s point standings. Helliwell also won the 6th Annual Bond Auto ACT Invitational at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September.
A bumper crop of title contenders is shaping up for the 2015 ACT season. Helliwell will have to dethrone 2014 ACT Champion and fellow New Hampshire native Polewarczyk, his closest challenger in 2013. Vermont’s Jimmy Hebert and Rhode Island’s Ray Parent finished second and third in the 2014 standings and are both chasing their first championship. Maine drivers Travis Stearns, Ben Ashline, and Brad Babb are expected to be factors as well. Young up-and-comers such as Emily Packard, Brandon Atkins, and Kyle Welch will also try to stake their claims as title contenders.
“Joey (Polewarczyk) and Wayne (Helliwell) obviously right off the bat, you know those two are going to be right there,” Stearns said. “You might as well consider them in the title hunt no matter what. There’s a lot; you never know. Jimmy (Hebert) runs great, Ray (Parent)…I honestly think there’s six or seven teams that could be right in the hunt. That’s a lot of what I like about the ACT Tour. I think it’s underrated for some of the caliber of people we have there.”
Helliwell, Polewarczyk, and the rest of the ACT stars will begin the 2015 championship battle on Saturday, April 18 at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, ME. The event will be part of the first-ever doubleheader between the ACT Late Models and the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models, with each series running 150-lap features. The PASS Modifieds, Wicked Cool Midgets, and Oxford Street Stocks are also on the card. Front gates open at 9:30am with a post time of 2:00pm. Admission is just $30 for adults and $15 for juniors ages 6-12.
-American-Canadian Tour Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com