Lee, NH – Defending NASCAR Whelen All American Series Small Block Supermodified champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. of Dover is going to have his hands full trying to defend his title when the 2012 season takes the green flag on Friday night, May 11, a week late due to an opening night rainout.

At least three other former champions will be in the field looking to knock him off the throne, many of whom have already been at the track shaking down their racers during the two pre-season test and tune sessions. Some 16 cars have already turned laps on the fast 3/8ths-mile oval this year.

Helliwell returns in search of an unprecedented fifth-straight track title, hoping to make it two-in-a-row aboard the potent Witkum Brothers Racing entry, fielded by a pair of retired big-block Supermodified standouts, Ed Witkum, Sr., and his brother Bobby of Massachusetts.

But it won’t be easy for the champs to defend, as their not the only team in the pit area to have worn the crown in the past. 2010 champion Tommy Tombarello was on hand and looking fast in the final test and tune session two weeks ago, as were 2005 champ Mike Ordway, Jr., and 2006 champ Joey Scanlon.

Perennial favorite and multi-feature winner “Super Dave” Sanborn has already been dialing in his ride for the season opener, and “Sparky” MacIver was seen turning some pretty fast laps aboard the Bob Chabot entry during the practice sessions as well.

Mike Netishen, P.J. Stergios, and Tony Carroll are among the former feature winners who’ve been on the track already, with drivers like Leslie Keyser, Mike Spurling, Moe Lattime, Scott Keddy, and Johnny Burke still searching for that elusive first win as they prepare for the 2012 campaign.

Pre-season favorites for the coveted Rookie of the Year title include Jason Phillips, longtime crewmember on the Ordway, Jr. machine, and former Late Model Sportsman competitor Ryan Gath, who’s come up with quite a paint scheme for his former Dan Bowes championship machine.

Don’t miss a lap of the action as the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action gets underway, with the Benson Lumber and Hardware Small Block Supermodifieds running their first feature event to see who can find the way to opening night victory lane.