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Helberg Wins Mitch Smith 50

By Ken de la Bastide

(August 21, 2012) –
California driver JoJo Helberg has always been fast in a sprint car at Anderson Speedway and finally recorded a victory in the Mitch Smith Automotive Service 50 on Saturday for the Must See Winged Sprint series.

Helberg third in the 19-car field and moved into the second spot on lap two with an inside move on Jason Cox with Aaron Pierce following suit.

With Jacob Wilson battling slower traffic, Helberg made the pass for the lead on lap 18. For the next 15 laps Helberg was unable to pull away from Wilson until the caution flag waved when Jimmy McCune spun.

On the restart Helberg pulled away from Wilson and Pierce with fast qualifier Brian Gerster slipping past Cox in traffic.

Helberg went on to win by 1.4-seconds over Wilson followed by Pierce, Gerster and Cox.

“It feels good to get that first win of the year,” Helberg said. “We’re leading the points and want to build up a cushion going to Berlin Raceway (Michigan).”

Helberg said Wilson is running strong and will be a contender for the championship until the end of the season.

“I had a good run, this is a great place to race,” Wilson said. “I wish we would have had a caution a little bit earlier in the race.”

In the first of three heat races, veteran Angola driver Hank Lower took advantage of starting on the front row to lead the entire distance, chased by Troy Decaire.

Helberg and Gerster slipped inside of A.J. Russell on lap three to claim the fourth and fifth spots with “Bulldog” Jimmy McCune coming home in third.

Mike Larrison inherited the lead when Must See Racing officials determined that Billy Wease jumped the initial start.

Following the race Larrison was declared the winner followed by Geoff Kaiser, Wease, Ryan Gillenwater and Brian Olson.

In the final heat race Aaron Pierce tracked down Jim Sheets to take over the lead on lap nine with an inside pass entering turn three.

Sheets led from the start, but it was Pierce who was running fourth after the first lap on the move. Pierce moved into the third spot on lap two with a pass of Jason Blonde in turn four and a lap later used the same move to get around Sondi Eden.

At the finish it was Pierce winning by 1.3-seconds over Sheets with Eden, Blonde and Jacob Wilson rounding out the top five.

During qualifications the fast time was set by Gerster with a lap of 10.435-seconds, followed by Olson and Pierce.

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