South Australian Steven Lines raced to victory in tonight’s 41st Lucas Oil Products Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic to win his second Classic in three years. Lines had to withstand several restarts before he could claim the win ahead of American star Terry McCarl while triple Classic champion Brooke Tatnell raced to third in front of the biggest Classic crowd in recent memory.
Starting on the outside of pole sitter Tim Kaeding, Lines slipped back to third behind early pacesetter Kaeding and McCarl who scorched into second ahead of Lines. Some excellent racing provided several highlight’s including the charging runs from Robbie Farr, Jamie Veal and Rico Abreu.
With all eyes on the leading trio, Lines powered from third to the lead as the trio raced three wide down the main straight before Lines edged his way ahead of McCarl while Kaeding was bumped to third.
Lines was understandably pumped about his result that capped a strong weekend that began with Lines setting quick time in his qualifying group before leading the preliminary feature and ending the race in second.
Proving to be a popular winner, Lines kept his cool despite the pressure from McCarl in particular under cautions when he was moving alongside the leader in an attempt to unsettle the leader.
Despite a number of attempts, McCarl couldn’t get close enough to challenge the leader with several timely stoppages assisting the leader.
A number of stoppages littered the 40 lap final that initially saw Trevor Green limp infield with front end damage before Darren Mollenoyux got upside down when steering failure proved costly. Jason Sides also slowed with what appeared to be a broken throttle cable, while other casualties included Kyle Hirst and also David Murcott and Matt Egel who came together in turn 1 while running strongly inside the top 10.
The final started with Kaeding and Lines on the front row ahead of Jason Sides and McCarl followed by Robbie Farr, Brooke Tatnell, Tim Shaffer, Darren Mollenoyux, Grant Anderson, Jamie Veal, Trevor Green, Danny Reidy, Matt Egel, Ian Madsen, Cameron Gessner, Kyle Hirst, Dave Murcott, Rico Abreu, James McFadden and David Muir.
With Lines winning from McCarl and Tatnell, Tim Kaeding was a strong fourth despite leading the final early. Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal finished a credible fifth after starting tenth with Tim Shaffer finishing sixth. Abreu raced to seventh from 18th while Gessner finished eighth ahead of Ian Madsen, McFadden finished tenth after getting upside down following Mollenoyux’s crash. Grant Anderson was eleventh ahead of Farr who fell to twelfth after running out of fuel on the last lap while running third. Danny Reidy and David Muir rounded out the finishers.
Farr was awarded the Ian Sheppard Trophy for the second consecutive season following his consistent results at Avalon, Mount Gambier and at the Classic.
The Skwid Signs Hard Charger was awarded to the popular Californian Rico Abreu as he passed the most cars in the A-main.
Murcott, Abreu, McFadden and Muir advanced from the B-main while Shane Stewart and Max Dumesny were the first reserves for the A-main after finishing fifth and sixth in the B-main. David Gravel, Luke Dillon, Jason Johnson and Glen Saville were others that failed to advance from the B-main. Danny Pestka was unlucky not to transfer when he crashed into Daryn Pittman late in the race. As a result, Pestka was awarded the Thommos Graphics Hard Luck Award.
Dumesny won the C-main ahead of Daryn Pittman and Jason Johnson who raced from 13th on the grid. Bryan Mann also advanced while Kevin Swindell was a hard luck story when he cut a left rear tire when he was comfortably leading the event enjoying his best run of the week.
Jason Johnson began his alphabet run in the D-main when he won ahead of Wayne Johnson, Jake Tranter and Garry Brazier.
Likewise Garry Brazier advanced through a couple of the preliminaries as he started by winning the E-main ahead of Jamie Bricknell, Brett Milburn and Adam King.
Kaeding opened the night with a win in heat 1 ahead of Luke Dillon and Max Johnson with both Matthew Reed and Daniel Newnham finishing on the infield.
Heat 2 went to Danny Reidy who raced away from Lines at the start with McFadden filling third. Ash Scott required treatment when he crashed in turn 3 and 4.
Grant Anderson got the jump in heat 3 to win ahead of Abreu and McCarl in a great heat race.
Farr leapt to the lead and never looked back winning heat 4 ahead of Jason Sides and David Muir. Farr was superb in lapped traffic powering to an impressive win.
Local Darren Mollenoyux defeated Kyle Hirst and Cameron Gessner in heat 5 but it was the contact between Stephen Bell and Jason Johnson that had everyone talking. Bell put a move on Johnson and pair made contact eliminating them both. Nick Lacey also suffered a DNF.
Matt Egel saluted in heat 6 ahead of a fast finishing Max Dumesny and David Murcott.
Ian Madsen managed to close out heat 7 with a win ahead of Tim Shaffer and David Gravel while heat 8 was won by Brooke Tatnell ahead of Shane Stewart and Jamie Veal.
The second round heats began with Ben Atkinson racing from the second row to the win ahead of Tim Van Ginneken and seventh starting Danny Pestka. Sadly Luke Dillon suffered when he and Danny Reidy had to avoid an incident and Dillon damaged the front end of his mount.
Garry Brazier was a popular winner of heat 10 ahead of Jamie Bricknell but it was 12th starting Steven Lines that sizzled his way to third.
Heat 11 saw Bill Rose win ahead of Robbie Farr who marched from the sixth row while John Vogels finished third. Andrew Wright was eliminated when he crashed on lap 1 while Caleb Griffith tour ended with damage when he came together with Jack Lee and slammed the wall.
Domain Ramsay claimed heat 12 ahead of Rico Abreu who started ninth while Jason Sides came from the rear to finish third. Eddie Lumbar and Daryl Campbell had a power meeting when Lumbar spun and Campbell had nowhere to go.
Cameron Gessner won heat 13 ahead of Trevor Green and Jason Dawkins but there was a tense moment for Darren Mollenoyux when he and Jesse Nicholas made contact with both cars stalling in turn 3 and 4. Jack Dover also DNF’s with mechanical issues.
Heat 14 went to Nick Lacey who drove superbly to win ahead of Shaun Bradford with Jason Johnson charging from ninth to third.
Brooke Tatnell showed the way in heat 15 cruising from ninth to the win ahead of Leith Ahlfors and Bryan Mann.
Shane Stewart motored around the top to win the final heat of the weekend ahead of Kevin Swindell and Daryn Pittman with all the American’s coming from deep in the field.
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