2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Champion – Corey McCullagh

The Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic quite often produces fairy tales, and this year in its 46th running, there was no exception.

To some,  the winner of the 2018 GASC is a little known local Warrnambool driver Corey McCullagh, however tonight he produced a Sprintcar clinic for the other 23 competitors in the  A-Main Final of the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, and catapulted himself into worldwide Sprintcar recognition.

McCullagh crossed the flagstand after 40 grueling laps – he was over 10 car lengths ahead of his nearest rival !!

….and that rival was none other than American Racer Carson Macedo.

Over the line in third was multiple Australian Champion Brooke Tatnell and then came current Australian Champion Kerry Madsen.

Corey McCullagh and Dad Brian with the Classic Trophies - Brian is the car owner

Corey McCullagh and Dad Brian with “The Classic” Trophies – Brian is the car owner and gets his own trophy

The 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Podium (L to R): Brooke Tatnell 3rd, Corey MaCullagh 1st, Carson Macedo 3rd

The 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Podium (L to R): Brooke Tatnell 3rd, Corey McCullagh 1st, Carson Macedo 3rd

McCullagh’s victory was amazing and hugely popular amongst the lock out crowd…..it was no fluke, this team had been working to something big for quite a while !!

Brooke Tatnell paid a moving testament to the Team and the stunning victory in the presentations saying that “McCullagh had Schooled us all tonight” – what a compliment coming from the Aussie Champ !!!!!!

Both Macedo’s and Tatnell’s car were set up for the high line, while McCullagh’s was more forgiving and biased toward the low line.

Having said that, despite the fact that McCullagh had a set-up that worked on the lowline, he still had to move up high and mid-track to displace lapped cars.

The McCullagh V90 Maxim had amazing flexibility to perform all over the track. It was locked down and on rails.

It’s a cliché I know, but it was so true …….McCullagh could put the racecar in virtually any position on the track and be competitive, however by far the car’s sweet spot was down low.

It was simply a scintillating drive by McCullagh, further empahsied by the fact that he was in some pretty hot company eg: High profiled Americans, current and past Australian Champions and current and past Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic winners – some of them MULTIPLE TITLE AND CLASSIC WINNERS.

These heavy hitters had no answer for the young 23 year old local driver.

McCullagh started from P9 and won……in doing so he got past these big hitters with relative ease.

He stuck to his race plan and did not falter once.

The task of working through the Classic field also earned him the Skwid Signs “Hard Charger” award – a race car vinyl wrap and design.

The victory prize is a $30,000 cheque and McCullagh joked on the podium saying that would pay the tyre bill.

So back to the race ………….McCullagh actually made the opposition look like they were in a lesser league – that’s how distinct the difference was in car speed.

I’m not even going to give a blow by blow description of the race, as the result speaks for itself.

I have pages of notes on the fact that there were multiple stoppages, some yellow and some red…. but that is only going to cloud what I want to portray.

Corey McCullagh is now a GASC Champ – and a very  deserved one.

The victory was hatched from a team that has the lowest of low budgets – those were essentially the words used by Car Owner and Dad Brian McCullagh at the pit presentations. They simply don’t have the big bucks to toss around.

It was  a truly memorable performance….a performance that resulted in a standing ovation for the “local lad” and the biggest crowd ever seen in the pits for the official presentations.

Having said all that, there were some notable moves forward by Kerry Madsen and Steven Lines and titanic struggles between those two, Shaun Dobson and Luke Dillon during the 40 laps….but simply put ….the night and his 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Champion status belongs to Corey McCullagh.

Well done Corey – you have a huge future mate !!

Huge crowd for the GASC 2018

The 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Crowd was a lockout

Light show at the Calssic

Wade Aunger got the crowd to participate in a light display as a sign of driver respect and just plain simple fun

First lap for GASC 2018

They’re off for the 40 laps of the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic – Pole is Brooke Tatnell (55) and Peter Doukas is second pole. Winner McCullagh started so far back, he’s not even visible in this shot !!

Good tyres

Image immediately after the race: Corey McCullagh’s tyres were well preserved, he drove a hard race but looked after the rubber far better than anyone else

Corey McCullagh's tyres were well preserved

Corey McCullagh’s tyres were so good, they could have done another 40 laps

Winning rig

The winning car after 3 days of solid competition and defeating 110 adversaries

Wonderful victory by Corey

Corey McCullagh performs the wind dance after his hugely popular 2018 GAS Classic victory

$ wide

4-Wide salute

4 wide salute

Fireworks erupt as the 4-Wide salute is forming up

Winning sprintcar

The McCullagh V90 attracted truckloads of attention after the presentation

Model Sprintcars like GASC Winners' Corey McCullagh were a popular item after his win

Model Sprintcars with a bit of green in them like GASC Winners’ Corey McCullagh were a popular item after his win

Brooke Tatnell

Brooke Tatnell was 3rd in the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic

Carson Macedo

USA Driver Carson Macedo was second in The Classic and said it was one of the best races in the world for Sprintcars

Flag Bearers

The flag bearers for the final night of the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic were Terry McCarl (R – USA24), Luke Walker (V67) and none other than our eventual Classic Winner “Corey McCullagh” (rear)

Corey McCullagh carried a neutral falg

Corey McCullagh carried the 2018 GASC Naming Rights Sponsor Flag – South West Conveyancing

Corey McCullagh

Corey McCullagh returns to the pits after his National Anthem Duties

Corey Mac

Little did Corey McCullagh know, literally 6 hours after this shot was taken, he would be on the elevated pit presentation deck just 20 metres to the right receiving the Grand Annual Sprintcar Champion trophy and a $30,000 cheque

Jamie Veal

James McFadden (L) chats with Jamie Veal

Top Wings

Sea of Wings

Big Crowd

The 2018 Grand  Annual Sprintcar Classic crowd was treated to a memorable event

The final nights heats are about to commence

The final nights heats are about to commence

Chief Steward Gary Winterbottom officiated over the 3 day GASC program

Chief Steward Gary Winterbottom officiated over the 3 day GASC program

David Millls

Premier Speedway Sungold Stadium General Manager David Mills worked super hard with his Team to make the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic a huge success

 

Brook Tatnell

Brooke Tatnell paid homage to the brilliant victory by Corey McCullagh

Defending GASC Champion James McFadden was a DNF with a blown rear end

Defending GASC Champion James McFadden was a DNF with a blown rear end

The pits at 3pm on Night 3 - Eventual winner Corey McCallagh (V90) can be seen if you look hard

The pits at 3pm on Night 3 – Eventual winner Corey McCullagh’s V90 can be seen if you look hard (look above the yellow V70 of John Vogels)

Corey McCullagh

Corey McCullagh (V90) pitted beside current A1 Kerry Madsen

Corey V90

The 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic Winner – Corey McCullagh

The Classic in a flash:

  • Corey McCullagh won the 46th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic

  • It was Corey’s 1st ever Classic Victory

  • Corey become the 25th winner of The Classic

  • Corey is the 11th Australian to take out The Classic

  • Corey competed in the 2017 Classic and came 5th in B-Main 1

And so ends yet another fantastic Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic – Congratulations Corey McCullagh – Words and images Paul Griffin

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