Words and Images by Paul Griffin
Ian Madsen proved tonight (Sat Jan 21) what an in-form Sprintcar Driver he is at the moment by taking out Night 2 of the Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic narrowly over local hero and defending champion Jamie Veal.
Madsen lead the entire race and earlier in the program set the QT of 12.349 sec. (Despite a poor marble draw and a slick track, Luke Dillon set QT in the second group – 13.027 sec)
It was a great action packed night of racing with the heats producing some really close battles – sometimes a little too close for comfort with the crash crews being kept reasonably busy.
Having said that though, the N2 GASC program still ran with super efficiency with the A-Main all done and dusted by 10:30 pm – Great work to all the staff at Sungold Stadium – Premier Speedway!
Anyway…back to the A-Main……
Tonight’s final was run over the usual 30 Laps. Twenty-four successful combatants rolled out onto the sacred Premier Clay to do battle and sort out who was the best on the night.
As it turned out, the entire field was a stellar group with very little separating the fastest car from the slowest car during the latter of the 30 rotations of Sungold Stadium — it was so close and such a memorable scene.
The first three rows of the grid included Ian Madsen (W66), James McFadden (W17), Jamie Veal (V35), Shane Stewart (V68), Matt Egel (S97) and Brad Keller (S19).
Think about that for a minute:
Front row: 2 WA cars
2nd row: 2 VIC cars
3rd row: 2 SA cars
…….such wonderful symmetry !!!!!!
Another notable fact was that 17 YO Marcus Dumesny had made the cut…His N47 was racked and stacked out of P16….not bad hey for a young fella !! (Maybe it’s because there was good breeding stock involved with dad Max????? – LOL) — all jokes aside, outstanding effort Marcus !
Back to the race again !!! …..At the drop of the green Ian Madsen catapulted into the lead in the Watson’s Express Transport W66 ahead of James McFadden, Jamie Veal, Shane Stewart, Brad Keller, Matt Egel and Robbie Farr rounding out the top eight.
It didn’t take Ian Madsen long to open up a commanding lead. By lap 5 he was ten cars ahead of McFadden, with a further ten cars back to Veal, five to Shane Stewart and then another five to SA’s Brad Keller.
Ian Madsen started to encounter the first signs of traffic after 8 laps.
Meanwhile the fairy tale for young Marcus Dumesny came to an end as the N47 ground to a halt on Turn 3 compliments of an exploding RH rear tyre – he was very nearly collected by Jamie Veal as his car became a “rudderless ship”.
Needless to say the yellows had to be thrown.
On the restart (22 to go) it was Madsen from McFadden, Veal, Stewart, Keller, Egel, Farr, Darren Mollenoyux, Jason Johnson, Domenic Scelzi, Luke Dillon and Terry McCarl.
Then things got a little interesting with a very determined Veal pulling a big pass on McFadden with 10 laps down. Veal then set sail for Madsen.
You could sense the determination in Veal’s mind – it was clearly evident in his forward thrust as he slowly closed the gap on race leader Ian Madsen, lap after lap.
By mid race distance Veal was on a mission and had closed the gap to 4 cars. There was then 4 cars back to McFadden, 2 to Keller and a further 3 back to American Shane Stewart.
Madsen was great through traffic and managed to place a key car between himself and Veal…..that car was the Q36 of Mitchell Gee – a fast peddler.
This action insulated Madsen from an imminent Veal attack for several laps, and with the traffic at hand Stewart had arrived on Veal’s tail tank.
The Veal/Stewart dual over the next few laps was awesome, with several position swaps occurring – neither Driver wanting to yield.
By this stage Madsen had re-opened the 10 car length gap to the “joined at the hip” Veal and Stewart.
Finally on lap 25 Veal was able to get around Gee with a superb slide job into turn 2.
So with less than a heat race a laps left, Veal slammed two feet on the accelerator and starting closing the gap to Madsen.
Bit by bit Veal reigned in the deficit and just to make things interesting Stewart was going along for the ride with him.
With one lap remaining Veal was less than a car length behind the flying Madsen and with a last roll of the dice, Veal lunged low on turn 4 in an attempt to take Madsen.
A brilliant try but Madsen was up to the challenge and they crossed the line with Veal’s front nerf virtually kissing Madsen’s rear nerf bar – that’s jow close it was.
Not to be outdone Shane Stewart driving for local Victorian Brett Milburn was just in arrears and really had come on strong at the end.
A great race and a fitting end to Night 2 !!