Words and Images : Paul Griffin
Former Australian Sprintcar Champion James McFadden scorched around the high banks of Premier Speedway last Friday night (22nd Jan) to take Night 1 hours in the 2016 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
It was is the 44th running of the Classic and McFadden did it in spectacular style, literally millimetres from the wall lap after lap. It was a stunning clinic in car placement.
Following him across the line was Kerry Madsen and Ben Atkinson. All in all 124 cars had nominated for the event. Night 1 would see 62 run off against one another, with N2 also consisting of 62 hopefuls.
Let the Show Begin
The Winning Car - James McFadden's NQ25 before he "drove the ring out of it" on the wall
The 30 lap A-Main suffered an aborted start when NSW’s Jordan Brazier came together with Max Johnston into turn 1. (Exit Brazier).
Once underway NT’s Ben Atkinson took the early lead, with SA’s Ryan Jones in hot pursuit. Johnny Vogels was also travelling well after qualifying on the 2nd row with Daniel Pestka.
McFadden who had qualified on the 3rd row started working his magic 4 laps into the race and closed in on both Vogels and Jones. With 10 laps down McFadden would find himself in 2nd and sights set firmly on Ben Atkinson.
Johhny Vogels had a great first night and ended up 3rd in points behind Ben Atkinson (2nd) and top scorer Ryan Jones
At half race distance McFadden shot past Atkinson for the lead and kept that momentum up until the chequers fell. In the latter third of the race Kerry Madsen and Brad Sweet fought a titanic struggle with Madsen winning out and snatching 2nd place from a determined Ben Atkinson. Madsen had come from P8 while Sweet had started mid pack in P10.
Ryan Jones surprised many with a super consistent performance eventually coming home in 5th and taking top points score of 566 from Ben Atkinson (558), Johnny Vogels (522), James McFadden (510) and Kerry Madsen (508).
Early Arrivals: Keen fans Jye Price (L), Tyler Griffin (ctr) and Riley Miller rock up to the venue early to bag a good seat
Premier Tribute: "Through these gates walk the Greatest Fans in All of Motorsports"
The grounds of Deakin UNI serves as a maintenance area for some teams - Here the Kraig Kinser team go about their routine before race night #1
Brad Maiolo set QT in the 2nd group
Luch Monte (Owner of the Milwaukee #17) chats to USA's Paul McMahan
Sea of Wings
Daniel Pestka prepares for battle
Kerry Madsen's #29 - he came 2nd in the A-Main
NSW's Sam Walsh being pushed out for his 2nd heat on N1
Kristy Ellis (V12) always presents with a clean looking car - at the conclusion of N1, she dialed in at 49th out of 62 cars
Aptly named "Ego Alley" in the pits
The Brad Sweet camp
Danny Reidy was somewhat down the list - 24th in points on the first night
A section of the pits facing the east
A big crowd for Night 1
The relatively new Premier Lap Board is a ripper. It highlights green when racing is underway, red when there is a red light stoppage, yellow for a caution and black & white when the chequers are thrown. It even counts the duration of a red and yellow and tells you the top four drivers at any point in the race -- COOL !
Jack Lee ended up 29th in points on N1
Jamie Maiolo (W99) always presents with a top looking car
The skies looked threatening but produced little rain luckily
The calm before the storm
Andrew Scheuerle won the biggest top wing number award !
All quiet in the Tatnell pits
Danny Smith is retiring from Aussie Racing and competed in his last GAS Classic
Cars wait to be pushed out
4-Wide salute for night 1
James McFadden ran within millimetres of the Premier wall in a daring exhibition of power driving.
The track took rubber
Game Over - The empty back straight grandstand well after McFadden screamed to victory