HELBERG SAVORS XTREME SPRINT SERIES TITLE
HOLLY, Mich. – It was two years in the making, a hard-fought triumph over intense competition and the rigors of a tough racing season. JoJo Helberg now steps back to savor his 2012 Xtreme Sprint Series title, concluding a tight point race that came down to the final series event.
The 22-year-old rising star from Rohnert Park, Calif. came up just a few points short in the 2011 title chase, and that memory motivated him throughout the 2012 campaign. On the strength of a consistent race program and two wins in the final three events, Helberg prevailed over Jacob Wilson and Jason Cox.
“It just means so much to finally win the championship,” he admitted. “I went through the year trying to win races but also looking at the big picture, and the title was always our main goal. We tried some new things early in the season and struggled a little bit, but we were consistent enough that I stayed in contention. When we finally won a couple of races late in the season that was icing on the cake.”
Helberg held the points lead going into the final weekend of racing, but didn’t dare let up in his championship effort, ultimately winning the Engine Pro Fast Car Slash at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich.
“I knew going into (the finale) that all I needed to do was start the feature to clinch the title, but I didn’t dare think it was over,” he said. “I wanted to win the race and do everything possible to finish the season on a high note.”
Helberg looks back at the 2012 season as an important milestone for himself and his race team, but also for the Xtreme Sprint Series.
“The series has developed and matured and it’s been fun to be a part of that,” he said. “Our program has developed and matured, too, and it’s been a good combination. The series has managed a great tire program with American Racer, and the series leaves enough open with the rules that we can still develop and experiment with our cars. It’s a limited set of rules and our cars all look similar but there are many variables, and that makes it much more interesting. We’ve developed a steady purse program and we’re still getting to some new tracks, and I like that.”
Helberg is the first to admit that, although he is especially hands-on with the management of the race team and the ADTS Beast No. 7, he had a great deal of help this past season.
“My dad Joe has been a huge help, and he’s been there with us every step of the way,” he praised. “We had two crew members, Tim and Jarred Haugen, they went to every race they possibly could and they were my Indiana pit crew. And Bob East and BEAST chassis, they’ve shown a lot of faith in me and my ideas and they’ve been very supportive.”
Helberg has relocated his team operations to Brownsburg, Ind., where he will immediately begin preparations for the 2013 season. The off-season will see him working hard on preparing his equipment and planning for possible expansion with the XSS.
“I plan on building another new car, and I’m going to try some different things,” he smiled. “I’m also trying to build a program to field two cars next season if I’m able to line up the proper sponsorship. At this point I’m looking to possibly bring a development driver into the series, I feel like a two-car team out of our shop could be very effective.”
In the meantime Helberg will breathe a sigh of relief as he celebrates a championship that required a great deal of emotion and effort.
“It’s nice to finally relax a little, and not think constantly about points,” he laughed. “That’s why it’s fun to already start thinking about next year, because the stress hasn’t started yet!”
Many of the 2012 XSS races continue to be broadcast on national television on a variety of sports networks, casting a digital presence across America. XSS cars are officially the “World’s Fastest Short Track Cars,” drawing fans and viewership from across the country to see the cars racing at over 150 mph on some of the most prestigious tracks in America.
More information is available at www.mustseeracing.com.
Final Xtreme Sprint Series Driver Point Standings - 2012
1. JoJo Helberg (Rohnert Park, Calif.) 1032
2. Jacob Wilson (Crawfordsville, Ind.) 985
3. Jason Cox (Park City, Ill.) 975
4. Brian Olson (Indianapolis, Ind.) 954
5. Jimmy McCune (Toledo, Ohio) 894
6. Mike Larrison (Brownsburg, Ind.) 888
Aaron Pierce (Daleville, Ind.) 888
8. Dave Baumgartner (Ottawa Lake, Mich.) 714
9. Troy DeCaire (Tampa, Fla.) 677
10. Jeff Bloom (Bangor, Mich.) 656
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