American Kyle Hirst driving for the Milwaukee Tools/Monte Motorsport WA17 Team raced to victory in the 43rd running of the Lucas Oils Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway Sungold Stadium last Sunday night (Jan 25).
Hirst was able to complete the 40 gruelling laps flag to flag (non-stop). Enjoying the great bitey track surface, he slashed the 40 lap race record by over an incredible 1 minute and 13 seconds to 7:42.40. The former record was held by Kerry Madsen at 8:55.57 way back in 2008.
Aside from Hirst’s obvious driving skill and great car set up, Mother nature also played a hand in this record.
Midway through the first B-main for the night, the heavens opened up and it looked like it was game over. David Mills (Premier Speedway Manager) and his hard working Team waited for the precipitation to abate and went to work grooming the track. It was an awesome Team effort as slowly they breathed new life back into a track that was essentially written off. Great job guys !
By the time the two B-Mains were completed (Winners were Daniel Pestka and Jamie Veal), the track wasn’t too far off a typical qualifying surface – this allowed all combatants, including Hirst, to circulate much of the race in the high 10/low 11 second bracket.
This is an incredible sequence of events and one that is highly unlikely to ever be repeated. It’s our guess that the 2015 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic 40 lap record is here to stay for a long, long time – indeed it may never ever be challenged again !!!!!!!
Jamie Veal also capitalised on the brilliant track surface in his B-Main victory for the same reasons and shaved 15 seconds of the 20 lap record that was formerly held by Skip Jackson. The new time now stands at 3:48.02 sec.
Back to the A-main: At the drop of the chequers, Hirst had raced to victory ahead of Brooke Tatnell and Grant Anderson.
In the lead up to the Classic Finale, Dave Murcott had scored Top Points and started on pole but after only 5 laps was sidelined on the in-field with mechanical dramas. He was bitterly disappointed when interviewed by Wade Aunger. At the end of the day, it was an easy decision to award Murcott the Hard Luck Award as he was a real possibility.
Mid race during the A-Main Ian Madsen was looking threatening, infact at times looked to have the quickest car as he started closing on Hirst. A slack attack caused Ian Madsen to ride the Turn 3 wall on two wheels momentarily when he was just a couple of car lengths back from Hirst. This casued him to lose a touch of momentum and allowed Tatnell and Anderson to slip by. The pace was frantic and that was enough to extinguish any chance Madsen had of winning. Clawing back those lost metres was simply impossible.
Tatnell tried everything, placing the KMS Cool all over the track in search of the quickest way around. He was good but just couldn’t get it done because of the frantic race pace and Hirst’s slippery drive through traffic. Tatnell crossed the line in 2nd.
Anderson to his credit stayed in touch and came home in 3rd. Ian Madsen was fourth while Kerry Madsen, Jac Haudenschild, Darren Pitman, Robbie Farr, Daniel Pestka and Danny Reidy rounded out the top 10.
Daniel Pestka’s drive bagged him the Skwid Signs Hard Charger award for his sling shot drive from P17 to P9.
While on the subject of awards, Kyle Hirst also collected the Ian Sheppard Memorial Award for the best performing Driver in the Classic, and lead up events ……
President’s Cup (Avalon) and King’s Challenge (Mount Gambier).
USA Driver Darryn Pitman won the Alan Pollard Memorial Trophy for the quickest Qualifying overall (10.596).
And now to conclude, some more behind the scenes shots from Paul Griffin: