Californian Brad Sweet began his 2015/2016 Down Under campaign with a sweeping win in the 35 lap Valvoline Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix tonight at Valvoline Raceway.
Sweet sped the striking blue 99 Highrace Towing / Ruhs Brothers Kahne chassis to victory but it was far from an easy collection.
“Man that track was challenging, which kinda made it fun. I was so busy in lapped traffic and had to work really hard to make my moves count and my lines stick at times. Some parts of the track were real grippy and others real slick so you had to be on your game.”
Sweet led home Sydneysider James Thompson in the Stahlwille Tools #22 QT Chassis over Robbie Farr (who came from the B-Main) in the Hi-Tec Oils Cool in third, Max Dumesny’s Valvoline #5 Maxim in fourth and Kelly Linigen’s #25 MSCN Maxim in fifth.
Thompson was lucky to survive an unsettling bump late in the A-Main which unfortunately saw lively Darwin racer Ben Atkinson flip the Aeroflow J&J whilst attempting to move into second.
For Kelly Linigen the night was particularly pleasing considering she was battling the flu – her effort to be high point scorer and start on the front row of the main event was her best for at least a couple of seasons.
Kraig Kinser salvaged a hectic night in the Natrad #4 Maxim to finish a strong sixth behind Linigen over the lucky Matt Smith who some how didn’t flip or crash out when he t-boned the spun lapped car of Jason Gebert in the B-Main.
Grant Anderson soldiered home in eighth over Jackson Delamont (from 17th starting position) in ninth and Max Johnston rounding out the top ten.
Californian 19 year old Carson Macedo was solid on VR debut with eleventh position over Sam Walsh in twelfth, Darryl Campbell thirteenth, Warren Ferguson fourteenth, Carl Dowling fifteenth, Toby Bellbowen sixteenth, Jay Waugh seventeenth and Mick Saller eighteenth.
DNF’s were Ben Atkinson (rollover), Jordyn Brazier, Ian Madsen (flat left rear tyre), Daniel Sayre, Jeremy Cross and Kasey Kahne.
Kahne had to half spin to miss the spun Warren Ferguson and unfortunately damaged the front end on the C1 Speed / KKR #4 which prevented him from taking his place back in the field at the restart.
Quick time qualifiers in the two groups were Robbie Farr and James Thompson.
The B-Main was won by Robbie Farr from Matt Smith in second, Kraig Kinser third and Jay Waugh grabbing the final transfer position.
The Legend Car main event was scored by Robbie Rawlings over Glen Philpott in second place and rookie Nathan Camilleri home in third for his first ever podium result.
The AMCA Nationals main event and indeed most of the night was dominated by Newcastle veteran Darrell Kime over James Deahm in second place and Raymond Kime home third.
The 36th Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix was run as a postponed event from Boxing Day night that was rained out.
The field returns tomorrow night for USC NSW Round 10 and Night Two of Sydney Speedweek.
Speedcars and Wingless Sprints are also on the program.