Wayne Helliwell, Jr. of Dover, NH used a cross over move on Jimmy Hebert with about 15 laps to go to claim his first career Thunder Road win in the 16th annual Merchants Bank 150 on Sunday, April 27. Hebert held on for second while 17 year old Emily Packard came home third.
Hebert led for the majority of the event after taking the lead on lap 26 from his third place starting position. He held off two former Thunder Road Late Model Champions in Nick Sweet and Derrick O’Donnell in a fierce battle, while protecting the low lane. With just under 20 laps to go, Sweet and O’Donnell made hard contact on the backstretch, bringing out the ninth caution of the event. Sweet would be done to the day with front end damage, while O’Donnell returned after changing a flat.
The caution also brought Helliwell to Hebert’s outside for the restart. Helliwell hung tough on the outside for a couple of laps before pulling a crossover to get to the inside coming off turn two. Helliwell got the advantage and appeared like he would walk away from the field until the tenth and final caution with two laps to go. Helliwell hung on for the win as Hebert didn’t have enough in the outside lane.