Words : Valvoline Raceway PR
All Images: Gary Reid – firstname.lastname@example.org
In front of a huge opening night crowd, Victorian Jamie Veal recreated his performance from the corresponding meeting last season by winning the first ever round of the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship (USC) NSW at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway.
The difference was this time he literally had to pry the $10,000 from James McFadden’s hands in the last twenty metres of the race as McFadden struggled to regain momentum after sliding over the cushion in turn four with the chequered flags in sight.
“I honestly didn’t think I beat him,” said a clearly surprised Veal, “I saw James jump the cushion and all I could do was hope for the best. The track was awesome tonight and it was a real buzz to win here in front of such a big crowd. It’s very cool to win the first ever round of the USC here in Sydney.”
McFadden was naturally disappointed but found a silver lining in the cloud.
“Of course I’m disappointed, we came up short but this is definitely a positive thing for our program,” he conceded, “I made a decision coming up on the lapped car and it wasn’t the situation I was hoping for. We were racy right throughout the feature and the WDD boys gave me a great car. Moth (Tim Gleeson – crew chief) has worked hard on the car all week since Toowoomba and we’re in a good place here.”
Sydney’s Marty Perovich was lively to say the least in the Network Industry #17 and after a spirited run in the Pole Shootout he gave the interstaters plenty of resistance to eventually run third in the main behind Veal and McFadden.
“On that last restart I just thought what the hell, I don’t care who’s in this race I can win in it too and drove harder. We picked up some spots and here I am on the podium. It’s great to get into the Chase and score third tonight.”
Defending track champion James Thompson kicked off the way he spent most of last season with a smooth consistent run which also netted him Quick Time in the first qualifying session with a faultless lap and an eventual fifth place behind constant arch rival Sammy Walsh.
Jamie Veal was the other driver to set quick time in the second group as Valvoline Raceway introduced the split qualifying system for the first time.
Sammy Walsh was his typical swashbuckling self, coming from deep in the A-Main line up to run a smoking fourth in the #92 Rocket Industries Maxim.
Danny Reidy is showing signs of another solid season after registering sixth in the Desert Palms Resort #5 Maxim to finish sixth and add his third consecutive top-ten result in the USC rounds he’s contested so far.
Ian Loudoun was a welcome addition to the pits in the Dave Challons / Essendon Ford Eagle to run seventh behind Reidy but considering the amount of ‘moments’ he got caught up in throughout the night the former track champion and Classic winner was a revelation.
Dubbo’s Jeremy Cross was lively in the new look Advantage Wings #39 to finish eighth in what is a solid start to his USC campaign for 2015/2016.
Max Dumesny was a big mover in the main methodically picking his way through the field after coming from the second last spot in the B-Main to eventually finish ninth behind Cross.
Newcastle’s Matt Smith was quick in the #11 Australia-wide Towing KPC and erased the disappointment of his huge wreck at Toowoomba the weekend prior with a top ten finish in Sydney that could have easily been a top five.
Darryl Campbell took the stunning #28 Eagle Silicon Ignition Leads entry to eleventh place in what was a solid reward for a tough off-season for the charismatic glazier.
Robbie Farr was shown as a twelfth place finisher but that was not indicative of the speed or potential of the #7 USC branded Cool Chassis.
With only a couple of laps to run Robbie jumped the turn four cushion and absolutely slammed the main straight wall which consequently saw him spin the car completely in the air before miraculously landing back in the right direction and continuing on to the finish after losing many positions.
Garry Brazier debuted a very cool looking silver bullet style Castrol Edge machine and was the “Braz” of old running solidly and looking very much a top five prospect.
Despite blowing a left rear tyre which took him out of contention late in the race he was still upbeat.
“Oh well, these things happen. To tell you the truth I was really having fun tonight. My Dad is back in the pits and he’s made a big difference to all our set ups. I reckon we’re in for a good season with the USC and I can’t wait for next week.”
Jackson Delamont managed thirteenth position despite front wing damage after Toby Bellbowen’s car literally landed on him in a big incident with Toby later placing one spot behind in thirteenth.
Grant Anderson finished fourteenth ahead of Alex Orr (who looked rapid early in the night but faded later in the A-Main) in fifteenth, a surprisingly off song Steven Lines in sixteenth ahead of Ben Atkinson, Troy Little, Andrew Wright, Jimmy Matchett, Steve Caunt and Kelly Linigen.
The next round of USC kicks off again at Valvoline Raceway this Saturday night.