All images compliments of Gary Reid – email@example.com
Words by Valvoline Raceway PR
Brad Sweet’s night was again like his last name (Sweet) but Sydney racer James Thompson’s was even sweeter at Valvoline Raceway Sat 2nd Jan.
Californian Sweet scored his third main event win from four starts in clinching the first 35-lap Feature race (first Feature Race) but it was local hero James Thompson’s career first victory in the second Feature of the night that had the crowd buzzing.
The Kellyville father of two was overcome with emotion as he took his first main event success in 16 years of trying.
“I can’t believe this has finally happened,” Thompson wept, “I’ve been in this position so many times and never been able to finish the job, but tonight I wasn’t giving up.”
Sweet, who finished right on his tail tank, paid tribute to the winner as Thompson hugged his wife Tina and the couples’ young children at the podium.
“That’s what drives you, moments like that,” Sweet smiled, “I did my best to take it off him but to James’ credit he never got off the rubber down line and I couldn’t get past him. He’ll remember this night for a long time.”
Thompson paid tribute to his Dad Bob, his loyal crew and his small band of dedicated sponsors.
“I felt the rubber build up on the low line and I had to keep telling myself not to move off it. I knew if I could stay down there he (Brad) would have trouble getting past. I can’t thank my crew enough for giving me a fantastic set up. This is a dream come true.”
Sweet has clearly been the man of the International Series so far with three victories from the five conducted so far – the others went to Robbie Farr and Thompson.
In Feature Race One Sweet accounted for a rapidly finishing Ian Madsen in second place and an ecstatic Jackson Delamont who was delighted to turn around a very disappointing few days with third place tonight.
Madsen seemingly flicked a switch in the dying laps of the A-Main and really got rocking in the #18 KCP / Nehring Construction KPC chassis where he zoomed into podium contention.
Delamont third but Grant Anderson was the initial livewire of the race where he led early and then had to battle Delamont and Robbie Farr to eventually secure fourth place.
Robbie Farr brought the Hi-Tec Oils Cool home in fifth ahead of Max Dumesny sixth (again racking up those USC points) Toby Bellbowen (happy to finish inside the top ten after a succession of frustrations so far this series) seventh, Sammy Walsh eighth, Warren Ferguson ninth in the Fruitwheels Transport Maxim after setting quick time and starting on the front row and Jordyn Brazier rounding out the top ten.
James Thompson was eleventh, Matt Smith twelfth, Kraig Kinser thirteenth, Matt Dumesny fourteenth, Marty Perovich fifteenth, Andrew Wright sixteenth, Darryl Campbell seventeenth, Steve Caunt eighteenth, Danny Reidy nineteenth, Grant Tunks twentieth, Max Johnston twenty-first and Craig Brady twenty-second.
DNF’s were Kasey Kahne (motor) and Ben Atkinson (front end).
FEATURE RACE TWO – USC ROUND 13
In Feature Race Two it was James Thompson from Brad Sweet and then initial pole sitter Ben Atkinson in third.
Still smarting from an incident in Feature Race One where his left front wheel assembly collapsed and took him out of the event Ben Atkinson was clearly disappointed also that he didn’t capitalize on his pole position start in Race Two.
“I took too long to realize that the rubber was down on the lowline,” he conceded, “I got too far back to do anything about it and had to play catch up. I’m grateful for my team and sponsors who support me but I’m disappointed in myself for letting this get away.”
Matt Dumesny brought the #57 Synpower Maxim home in a fine fourth place result after being consistent for most of the two nights (the race meeting had been cut short when a big Speedcar crash on January 1 took considerable time for safety precautions to be completed and the A-Main was not conducted that night – it was then held over into tonight).
Kraig Kinser moved from deep in the pack to an eventual fifth place in what was a quiet achiever run for the Indiana third generation racer in the Natrad #4 Maxim.
Max Dumesny showed his typical consistency to finish sixth ahead of initial front row starter Jordyn Brazier in seventh, Matt Smith in eighth, Grant Anderson in ninth and Sammy Walsh tenth.
Kasey Kahne hurt a motor in Feature Race One and returned in time to start deep in the pack for Race Two where he moved forward to eleventh by the chequers ahead of Robbie Farr in twelfth, Carl Dowling thirteenth, Californian Carson Macedo in fourteenth, Danny Reidy fifteenth, Ian Madsen sixteenth, Darryl Campbell seventeenth, Warren Ferguson eighteenth, Jamie O’Neill nineteenth, Lachlan Abbott twentieth and Craig Brady listed as the last car running twenty-first.
DNF’s were Steven Rowell and Marty Perovich.