McKnight & Helberg Conquer Winchester
WINCHESTER, Ind. — Dave McKnight and Jo Jo Helberg each claimed victories in Sunday’s Must See Racing Xtreme Speed Challenge at Winchester Speedway.
McKnight’s victory in the 30-lap Engine Pro Must See Racing Super Modified Series presented by Oliver Racing Parts feature was redemption of sorts. McKnight crashed during practice for last year’s Xtreme Speed Challenge and was unable to participate.
McKnight, who started in the twelfth position, explained how important patience played in the outcome. “I can’t say enough about car owner Gary Morton,” explained McKnight. “Gary told me to be patient. He had run here before and I had never run here. So this was a whole new world for me. He just told me you got a great car and be patient. Stay high and just give it time. Even when I got to the leaders and they were jostling, I just had to be patient until I had the right time and spot. You’re going so fast here and you come up on traffic so quick you have to be careful. I just waited and the opportunity was there and the car was there for me and I was able to attack. It was great.”
McKnight sported a smaller wing mounted on the rear of the car all day that may have played into the performance of the car.
“I don’t really know if that was the key but it definitely helped. It didn’t kill out straightaway speed so less drag more speed. This place is all about finding a good balance between drag and speed. But it was very turbulent when I was in line with five guys. I had a lot of turbulence because I didn’t have a lot of air on it. Once I got out front and I got good air, the car was good,” concluded McKnight.
Mike McVetta finished second followed by Jimmy McCune, Kyle Edwards and Brian Gingrass rounding out the top five.
Mike McVetta got things off to a fast start earlier when he set a track record for the Supermodifieds with a lap of 13.801.
Helberg captured a thrilling 30-lap TRUFUEL Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series feature that saw him chased relentlessly the entire distance by runner-up Brian Gerster. Jimmy McCune got the jump on polesitter Helberg to lead the first lap.
Helberg quickly regained the lead and was out front by lap two. The duo put on a driving clinic in lapped traffic that saw the two split lapped cars multiple times to the delight of the crowd. Helberg explained that he wasn’t too concerned about losing the lead at the start.
“I figured I could get him back because he was leaving the door open. I think the motor was a little lazy because this motor has a lot of top end and not a lot of bottom end with the big gear I have to run,” explained Helberg.
Helberg realized early on he was being challenged for the lead.
“One time I was going into one and I saw four or five lapped cars and saw a yellow nose stick on the inside and thought it was McCune,” Helberg said. “Then I realized it was Gerster when I glanced at the board. When he did that the first time I really tried to pick up the pace and change my line going through lapped traffic. When he did it to me the second time I had a little bit of clear track and kept my foot on the throttle.”
Brian Gerster was the day’s fast qualifier with a lap of 13.461 seconds.