From David Sink
SALEM, Ind. – JoJo Helberg scored his second consecutive win in Xtreme Sprint Series competition on Saturday night, capturing the “MustSeeRacing 60” at Anderson Speedway. The victory allowed Helberg to retain his place atop the series point standings.
Jimmy McCune led in the opening laps from the pole position, trailed by Ryan Litt and Aaron Pierce. As the leaders caught lapped traffic on lap 10 Pierce suddenly slowed when a power steering hose failed, eliminating him from competition. Helberg took advantage of Pierce’s misfortune to move into third.
On lap 24 Helberg slipped past Litt to take second, and six laps later McCune suddenly slowed when his car lost oil pressure. That left Helberg out front, and the caution waved one lap later for Tom Tolbert’s spin in turn two.
Throughout the second half of the race Helberg managed to keep Litt at bay, although in the waning laps Litt found some additional speed and began to threaten. At the finish Helberg scored the victory by less than .5-seconds.
“One thing I’ve learned about Anderson is that you’ve got to be really nice to your tires here,” the winner said from the Victory Circle with a broad smile. “I tried to play it cool in traffic and preserve my tires, and that worked to my advantage tonight. When you run 60 laps here, you’ve got to be smart.
“We’ve been steadily progressing this season, and I hate to think about the points because we’ve got a couple of races left. I’d rather think about winning races, but the championship would mean an awful lot to us.”
Litt said that another 10 laps might have made things interesting.
“I moved my wing back and tried a different line late in the race and got faster,” he admitted. “JoJo had just about got away from us, maybe a full straightaway out, but I cut that quite a bit there at the end. He got caught in some traffic right at the finish but I couldn’t get close enough to him. But congratulations to JoJo, those guys did a great job tonight.”
Third was Troy DeCaire, with Jason Blonde making a late-race charge from 12th to finish fourth. Geoff Kaiser completed the top five, and the second five consisted of Brian Olson, Mike Larrison, Tim Cox, Tom Tolbert, and Jason Cox.
Travis Miniea led the way in time trials with a 10.289-second clocking, just two-hundredths of a second off the track record. Heats were won by Mike Larrison, Collin Cabre, and Aaron Pierce, with Tom Tolbert capturing the semi-feature.
Up next for the Xtreme Sprint Series is the “Winged Sprint Extravaganza” at the historic Winchester Speedway tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, Aug. 21.
60-lap “MustSeeRacing 60” Feature Event: 1) JoJo Helberg; 2) Ryan Litt; 3) Troy DeCaire; 4) Jason Blonde; 5) Geoff Kaiser; 6) Brian Olson; 7) Mike Larrison; 8) Tim Cox; 9) Tom Tolbert; 10) Jason Cox; 11) Mike Ling; 12) Kyle Flint; 13) Hank Lower; 14) Jacob Wilson; 15) Travis Miniea; 16) Collin Cabre; 17) Jimmy McCune; 18) Jeff Bloom; 19) Dave Baumgartner; 20) Aaron Pierce.