Words – Valvoline Raceway/USC PR
Images – Gary Reid: firstname.lastname@example.org
Round 8 of the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship doubled as the first round of the 2015/2016 World Series Sprintcars at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway and once again Jamie Veal stood atop the winner’s dais in the #35 SWI Engineering Maxim.
Veal continued his amazing form at Parramatta to lead home Steven Lines in second place and Brooke Tatnell third in the 30-lap feature race.
“I was nervous for sure knowing you’ve got such high calibre field behind you, but I know I can rely on my guys to give me a consistent racecar, but I nearly got caught out with turn 4 on a few occasions, but thankfully we brought it home for a win.”
Tatnell actually passed Veal for the lead when the Victorian jumped the cushion in turn four but an untimely stoppage at that critical moment saw the lead taken back from the 9-times WSS champion at the restart.
Steven Lines really got going on the highline and after a multiple lap battle with Tatnell eventually edged into second position where he held on until the chequers flew.
Robbie Farr showed considerable speed to place fourth ahead of fellow Sydneysider James Thompson who was clearly thrilled with his placing.
“I finished fifth in a World Series event some time ago,” he grinned, “I was thrilled back then and I’m thrilled this time around too. I had a great race going there with Robbie (Farr) for most of the race.”
Luke Dillon came home in sixth ahead of Warren Ferguson seventh, David Murcott eighth, Toby Bellbowen ninth, Andrew Wright tenth and then back to Kyle Hirst, Max Dumesny, Grant Tunks, Shaun Dobson, Jackson Delamont, Ian Madsen, Danny Reidy, Matt Smith, Grant Anderson, James McFadden and Max Johnston being the last placed finisher in 21st.
DNF’s were Ben Atkinson (race damage) Matt Dumesny (driveline failure) and Ian Loudoun (engine failure).
There were ominous signs early when Veal set Quick-time in qualifying group one with the fastest time of 12.208 seconds, Australia #1 Dave Murcott timed in second with 12.234 seconds and Brooke Tatnell timed third with 12.274.
South Aussie Luke Dillon was back in the Diamond Bay Motorsports #26 (after running his own car for the last two weekends in Sydney) and was the fastest in group two with 12.035 seconds, Steven Lines in second with 12.225 and American Kyle Hirst timed in third with 12.228.
21-year-old Matt Dumesny won the first heat of the night with James McFadden weaving through the field to come home second and the youngest of the Dumesny racers, Marcus finishing third.
Four-time 360 Sprintcar Champion, Ryan Jones won heat two from West Australian Jason Pryde and Danny Reidy. Tasmanian Shaun Dobson started in position 9 of heat two and got through several positions to finish a close fifth.
Grant Tunks won heat three from Max Johnston and Grant Anderson.
Heat Four saw Robbie Farr start on the second row and sail around the outside to grab first position. Blake Skipper had an unlucky run spinning out with eight laps to go and again with four laps to go but the single file restart allowed Robbie Farr to drive away with the win, Toby Bellbowen in second and Max Dumesny finishing third.
Ian Madsen made his first USC appearance and finished fourth in heat four – with a fuel leak which then developed into a fire, finished 3rd in heat seven – with a blown engine, and then changed an engine for the A main where he started from the rear and finished 16th.
Matt Dumesny won his second heat of the night in heat five, followed by Jamie Veal and Jason Pryde. James McFadden put on a spectacular Ultimate Sprintcar performance for the crowd, falling back to 14th on the first lap and driving to get back up to 6th position.
Benny Atkinson won heat six from Alex Orr and Daniel Sayre.
Max Johnston won heat seven from Jeremy Cross and Ian Madsen, who put on a last minute slide job in turn three and four to pass Marty Perovich.
Robbie Farr also won his second heat in heat eight followed by Steven Lines and Grant Tunks.
Daniel Needham suffered a broken rear end just before he crossed the start line in the D-Main and sheared the right rear wheel off the axle. Stacey Galliford spun out on the restart and then another yellow light occurred before the race was declared as Peter Bourke was winning the race.
Luke Walker finished second and Peter O’Neill in third – all three transferring to the back of the C main.
Marcus Dumesny spun causing turmoil in the second corner of the C main with a few cars getting crossed up before Lachie Abbott rolled over and hit the wall in turn two. Another yellow on the restart ensued before Sam Walsh was able to get up on the cushion and get around the outside of Daniel Harding before yet another yellow light for Blake Skipper put Sam Walsh back to second with six laps to go. Once again Sam Walsh pushed the cushion around the outside of Daniel Sayre to finish first and transferred to the B main with teenager Sayre in second and Steve Caunt in third.
The top 8 shootout was run differently for the USC/WSS night: Three Ultimate Sprintcar shootouts with four Ultimate Sprintcars in each – the fastest two transferring to the next stage.
Ultimate Sprintcar Shootout 1:
Brooke Tatnell: 13.717 seconds
Matt Dumesny: 14.251 seconds
Ben Atkinson: 14.325 seconds
Toby Bellbowen: 14.964 seconds
Ultimate Sprintcar Shootout 2:
James McFadden: 13.693 seconds
Luke Dillon: 14.215 seconds
Brooke Tatnell: 14.454 seconds
Matt Dumesny: 14.675 seconds
Ultimate Sprintcar Shootout 3:
Jamie Veal: 13.714 seconds
Steven Lines: 14.166 seconds
James McFadden: 14.197 seconds
Luke Dillon: 14.346 seconds
James McFadden only got to two laps in as he got over the cushion in turn one of the Gold Shootout and dug the front of the #25 into the heavy part of the track and spun out – he was unable to restart but still made the second row of the A main.
The B main was cut down to 15 laps due to time constraints but it didn’t stop Ian Loudoun from winning. Three cars spun out on the back straight on lap one sending dust into the air, the back-runners just squeezing through.
Six laps to go after a yellow light for Alex Orr and Sam Walsh, Ian Loudoun was leading and Max Dumesny showing the young Ultimate drivers he’s still got it. Dumesny passed Jackson Delamont around the outside of turn four, then passed Max Johnston and Grant Tunks with two laps to go, catching Loudoun on the final lap and almost passing him on the finish line in true Max Dumesny style.
At the start of the A-Main Veal grabs the lead while Tatnell and Dillon pass Lines for second and third. Five laps down and Veal is already reaching lapped traffic, Tatnell quickly caught up to Veal and with a tiny mistake from Veal in turn four, Tatnell grabbed the lead before a yellow light was pulled for Matt Dumesny. A single file restart put Tatnell back to second between Veal and Lines.
12 laps to go and a yellow light is pulled for Anderson, another restart allows Lines to have another go at passing Tatnell and with 10 laps to go, Lines passes the KMS Cool on the outside before McFadden comes together with Ben Atkinson with five laps to go in turn four racing for 4th and 5th position.
McFadden only suffers top wing damage and is allowed to restart the race from the rear of the field whilst Atkinson is unfortunately a DNF.
A restart with six laps to go and four of the best names up the front – Veal, Lines, Tatnell and Farr contest for the podium.
Lines moves around the outside of Tatnell for second, Tatnell passes him back and Lines passes back again – the top of the race track, against the cushion is where you wanted to be in this race for sure.
Veal sped home to record yet another USC victory which also doubled of course as the ENZED World Series Sprintcars opener for 2015/2016.
Valvoline Raceway takes next weekend off and will bounce back for USC NSW Round 9 on December 26 with Americans Kasey Kahne, Kraig Kinser, Brad Sweet and Carson Macedo joining the Aussie stars