Hoar, Helliwell Contact Creates Discord Among Foes
Posted By Tj Ingerson On September 29, 2013
PHOTO: Brian Hoar (#37) races past a spinning Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (#27) after contact between the two left Helliwell to hang on and limp to his second ACT title. (Leif Tillotson photo)
--by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- Wayne Helliwell, Jr., appeared to be on cruise control to his second straight ACT Late Model Tour championship until contact with an unsuspecting participant nearly cost him the title.
Helliwell and his championship dancing partner from one year ago, Brian Hoar, made incidental contact as they entered turn one on lap 181. The orange No. 27 car spun around and right into the path of Jonathan Bouvrette. Bouvrette’s right side slammed into Helliwell’s rear end and sheared the rear bumper assembly off the car and moved the rear clip over a few inches to the left.
The Dover, N.H., driver Helliwell was able to limp around over the final 19 laps to secure his second straight championship, but the result left the championship winning team in no celebratory mood.
“I don't know, to be honest,” Helliwell said when asked for his view of what happened. “We made some adjustments (after the pit stop) and took on some new tires. We thought we might have had something for them. It seemed like we had something for 15 laps and the car just settled back into a third place car. But, I was more than fine with that -- ride out in third.
“I was watching Brian in the mirror and he was about the equivalent to us. We just got into a rhythm and finish out the race. Next thing I know, we just start to turn off into (turn) one and the back tires just came up off the ground. It's all history now.”
Hoar offered his view from the No. 37 Dodge.
“It was nothing intentional,” Hoar said. “I have a lot of respect for those guys; they're fantastic racers and team. I made several bids to go to his outside prior to that, prior in the race because we had been racing him all race, the whole second half of the race. He wasn't making it easy on me, which is his job. Coming off of turn two he'd slide up across my nose and it was close a few times. After that restart, prior to my contact, my car came alive, finally. All day, it was just too tight to really contend with those guys, and it came alive.
“I saw an opportunity. I said 'we're all there together, and it's now or never.' I made a bid and my bid to the outside was going to be clear -- I wasn't going to go sailing it way down up high. I was just going to go sneaking right up his right side and make it close. I wanted to get to his right rear so he couldn't do what he had done in previous tries, and he moved up. It's as simple as that. He moved up and there was just no space. I had space there and he came in not knowing what I was doing and I was sailing it down in there.
“If you watched all day long, I'd really sail it down there, at times, into turn one. The last race here, I kind of found something that worked and I couldn't really make it work all day until the end. That’s all it was. I just made a bid to go to his outside and sail it down in there and he moved up. Contact was made. I guess the rest is history.”
The two drivers recollected their immediate reaction following the incident.
“At first, you want to kill. You set out to destruct,” Helliwell said. “Then, a couple of seconds later, you hear everybody on the radio is like that. I just had to calm everybody down and think there aren't a lot of cars on the lead lap. One guy is on that, another one is looking at what is wrong with the car and make a plan to move forward from there.
“Everyone did what they were supposed to do and calmer heads prevailed, and we walked away with the big picture.”
“I was like 'uh oh. Not good,'” Hoar said. “I'm very, very aware of the fact that they're running for a championship. I've been on that side. By the same token when I'm in that seat, I'm also aware that if I'm running a Patrick Laperle last year that's not running for the championship and he's going to go for the race win, you need to be aware of that too.
“It just was contact and hard racing. I'll tell ya, he was racing his butt off and so was I.”
When asked if they would reach out to the other to discuss what happened, both drivers offered different answers.
“Absolutely, some day,” Hoar said. “I know he's mad at me. I love those guys. I really do. I really like them a lot and I love racing those guys. It sucks. It wasn't intentional.”
“I ain't going to call Brian. I'm just going to wreck him the next time we race,” Helliwell said with a laugh. “Fair is fair.
“Right now I'm sure he's got some scenario from his perspective. I'm sure sooner or later we'll bump into each other and probably talk about it. It is what it is. Nobody ever forgets.”
Hoar was asked if payback was something that would be on his mind.
“No. No, I don't think so,” Hoar said. “It is what it is. I said I'm not going to be disrespectful in anyway, but it takes two to tango, and that's as simple as it is.
“You guys are going to force me to say it, but the fact of the matter is, it takes two to tango. That's my real estate. Why are you coming up? Shit happens. It's racing. So we either all let it go, or we can go (expletive) wreck each other. It's real simple. And if you want to go (expletive) wreck each other, let's go (expletive) wreck each other.
“I like racing Wayne. He's a fantastic racer. When two hard racers are racing inches apart, at some point, contact is bound to happen.”
Helliwell was asked if he had any reason to believe that an incident with Hoar would happen.
“No. There should be no reason, unless there is stuff hidden that you don't know about,” Helliwell said. “We never run into each other like that and we've already raced really, really good. I'm sure it was just an accident. I'm sure he might have been throwing his car in there to get a position.
“But, he's been in this situation a lot of times. You would have thought he would have had a little bit more respect from, especially him. It is what it is. We come out with a championship.”
1. Brian Hoar (#37) races past a spinning Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (#27) after contact between the two left Helliwell to hang on and limp to his second ACT title. (Leif Tillotson photo)
2. Jonathan Bouvrette (#41) makes heavy contact with Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (#27) after Helliwell had spun during Saturday's Fall Foliage 200. (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)
3. The rear end of Wayne Helliwell's car sits pushed over to the left after his massive contact with Jonathan Bouvrette during Saturday's Fall Foliage 200. (Eric LaFleche/VLFPhotos.com photo)