Garry Brazier has made it to the USC Chase by winning round three of the NSW Ultimate Sprintcar Championship at Valvoline Raceway on October 17. Following Brazier across the line were Sammy Walsh and Matt Smith.
A 28 degree day in Sydney slowly turned into what everyone worried would be a cancelled race meeting with early rain making out for a slippery track between wheel packing and time trials, but fortunately the showers stopped soon after and the racing started.
For the second week in a row at Valvoline Raceway, Toby Bellbowen timed in first position in group one of the split group qualifying sessions with Matt Smith setting quick time of 12.807 seconds in group two.
Albion Park Rail’s Kyle Caunt was the first red light stoppage for the night in time trials with a slow roll over in turn two after setting 10th quick time, but the Caunt race team worked hard to get back out for their heat.
Kelly Linigen won the first heat of the night in her #25 MSCN Ultimate Sprintcar with Bellbowen coming home in second in the Hog’s Breath Caf� #7 Maxim.
The pit crews were under pressure shortly after when Robbie Farr crashed heavily on the start line of heat two after contact with Garry Brazier. The East Coast Pipeline Racing team welded up a broken chassis and changed a rear end with the help of crews of Danny Reidy, Toby Bellbowen, Luke Oldfield and Max Johnston while Dave Sharman was given the all important job of welding the frame together.
Before the heats even started Max Johnston and Marty Perovich, tough contenders last week, both blew head gaskets and packed up for the night. Danny Reidy didn’t fare much better having changed engines before the heats as well.
Grants Tunks won heat three convincingly while Sean Dyson dominated heat four from Matt Dumesny and Grand Anderson.
Jackson Delamont won the final heat taking him straight to the A main.
A short stint of rain and a mean looking weather radar before the heats forced officials to move the racing through quickly, deleting the D-Main and the top eight Pole Shootout.
A decision was also made to start the cars that made the A-Main in their qualifying order for the 30 lap feature – a situation that would prove very fortunate for Newcastle’s Matt Smith who missed the initial transfer through his heat but managed to progress through the B-Main and wind up on the front row of the “A” with Toby Bellbowen.
Dubbo’s Jeremy Cross won the C main, elevating himself into the B main.
Four out of the Five Dumesny’s competed in the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship, with Michaela handing over pit reporting microphone duties to Matt Smith’s girlfriend Jess Cassidy – Michaela instead made her debut in an Ultimate Sprintcar coming fourth in the C main behind younger brother Marcus.
Garry Brazier and Matt Smith started the B main off the front row before a red light stoppage from Lachlan Abbott when flipped trying to avoid the spinning Craig Brady in turn one and two. Smith took the lead but had reached lapped traffic after four laps, allowing Brazier to catch back up and take the lead, winning the event in the #21 Castrol silver bullet.
After a huge effort getting Robbie Farr’s Ultimate NQ#7 back out for the B main, the fuel line came loose before the start and he disappointingly didn’t make the cut for the B.
The A-Main would turn out to be a larger version of the B-Main with a 30-lap battle between Brazier and Smith.
After a red light stoppage in turn one on the first lap when Matt Craft gently rolled the #86 Craft Differentials entry Brazier took the lead from Smith and Bellbowen when they made contact on the initial start but a yellow light stoppage for Matt Dumesny spinning out on lap two put the two front runners back to a double file restart forcing Brazier to try to grab the lead again.
Brazier reached lap traffic quickly and got caught behind the father and son team of Steve and Kyle Caunt letting Smith pass him before the multiple Australian champion Brazier quickly re-passed for the lead with a nice move on the outside.
Smith would later admit, “I screwed up. I got too loose on the bottom and lost a ton of ground, which let Garry by. I’m lucky really that more cars didn’t get past.”
After a brilliant start to the night, Bellbowen went back to fourth with Garry Brazier, Sam Walsh and Matt Smith in the top three.
Luke Oldfield was the big mover coming from the back row of the grid to a top ten finish with a drive that must have pleased crew chief Bingo Jenkins after the long haul down from the Brisbane for their USC NSW debut.
Final placings and their start-finish results were:
(Finish – Name – Start)
1st Garry Brazier 3
2nd Sam Walsh 11
3rd Matt Smith 2
4th Toby Bellbowen 1
5th Max Dumesny 6
6th Grant Anderson 8
7th Danny Reidy 14
8th Warren Ferguson 5
9th Darryl Campbell 9
10th Luke Oldfield 24
11th James Thompson 4
12th Ben Atkinson 22
13th Jackson Delamont 10
14th Alex Orr 17
15th Kelly Linigen 15
16th Adrian Maher 12
17th Mick Saller 21
18th Matt Dumesny 20
19th Sean Dyson 16
20th Grant Tunks 19
21st Chad Ely 13
22nd Kyle Caunt 18
23rd Steve Caunt 23
DNF Matt Craft 7