Well let’s have a closer look at what unfolded at the Scott Darley $50K Sprintcar Challenge last Saturday night (17th March) at Tyrepower Sydney Speedway.
The lead up to the event had seen less than encouraging weather forecasts and everyone was praying that the final night was going to go ahead. The rain that came down after Friday’s Preliminary night was substantial and the fact that Saturday’s finale went ahead was a miracle and a credit to all at Sydney Speedway. Thunderstorms were predicted Saturday, but fortunately apart from a brief shower around 8:15pm, they did not eventuate.
We all know that America’s Shane Stewart driving the Monte Motorsport Monster Energy #7 J&J took the spoils and that Max Dumesny (v5) and Robbie Farr (Q7) filled the other podium positions – But did you know one curious fact about the race…. and that is if you add the car numbers of the first 3 cars, you get Scott Darley’s car number : (7+5+7 = 19) !
Stewart really did do it in style, but at the same time didn’t have it all his own way and certainly had to work hard for his victory. Stewart started off the 2nd row in position 4. He had pole sitter Max Dumesny, the in-form Ian Loudoun in 2nd and Robbie Farr ahead of him in 3rd.
A field of 24 cars started the race and only 14 were able to complete the distance. Of the 14 finishers, 11 were on the lead lap with Matthew Thomas (#15) being 3 laps down and both Brett Loadsman (#83) & Matt Young (#6) one lap in arrears.
New South Wales’ Ian Loudoun lead for a great percentage of the Scott Darley Challenge and looked like he was capable of adding another Blue Ribbon race victory to his CV. He engaged in intense racing with Stewart during the race – Robbie Farr and Max Dumesny waged their own personal battles as did Trevor Green and Ian Madsen. It was a great spectacle. The track was absolutely “spot on” and provided a fierce, hooky surface for the Drivers. But with 13 laps remaining, Loudoun’s Blacksaws J&J ran out of power – the engine deciding it was “Game Over”.
Stewart then got himself into the zone and worked the #7 J&J to the lead and then set about establishing a handy break over Robbie Farr. Farr tried valiantly to stay in touch but clearly had some issue with the East Coast Pipelines Eagle as he slowly slipped back and eventually got consumed by Max Dumesny with six laps left to run. Farr battled his ailing rig and was fortunate to hold onto a 3rd place finish ahead of fast finishing duo Trevor Green and Ian Madsen.
Stewart continued to power ahead and slice through heavy traffic, crossing the line in first place – continuing the recent American Domination of this event.
In winning Stewart picked up a $10,000 Winner’s Cheque. He was not eligible for the $50,000 because in order to secure that little baby, you need to finish as top point scorer and elect to start off position 19, and then hope that you can pass the 18 cars ahead of you and take victory.
Garry Brazier had indeed top point scored with 319 points, followed by Dumesny 312, Loudoun 312, and Farr on 305. Brazier took the bold call to start from P19 and have a shot at the $50K, but was forced to retire with a damaged car after an incident involving Glen Saville with 18 laps left on the board. Brazier was showing signs of moving forward and had massive crowd support, but with the quality of the field up front it was always going to be mega tough. It wasn’t to be unfortunately.
There was a heap of hard chargers in the Scott Darley $50K Sprintcar Challenge.
Trevor Green had done well to start P8 and come 4th. Likewise Dubbo’s Jeremy Cross moved forward 4 slots – starting P10 and coming home in 6th. But it got a whole heap better with Ian Madsen starting P14 and coming home in 5th, Ben Atkinson kicking off in P17 and crossing the line in 9th, Jamie Veal starting P18 and finishing 10th.
But the BEST hard charge came for Mitchell Dumesny who stated off the rear in P23 and surged forward passing an incredible 15 cars to finally lob across the flagstand in 8th place – a brillant drive through very heavy traffic.