Pickens sweeps 50-Lapper from the rear of the field
NZ Superstar Michael Pickens is the 2017 Ballistic by Berklee Speedcar 50-Lapper victor.
Steering his rapid #1 Yale SG Equipment TRD powered King Chassis Pickens moved from position #23 to the #1 spot in the A-Main and never surrendered it to lead home Darren Jenkins in second place and West Aussie Dayne Kingshott third.
A crash involving Pickens and Jay Hall in turn two early in the race saw the New Zealander begin his campaign from the rear but it wasn’t long before he was hauling in early leader Darren Jenkins.
“I thought we had something for him,” lamented Jenkins later, “he went out pretty hard pretty early and I was thinking we’d still have the speed to pull him in later. He’s a pretty handy racer though isn’t he.”
Pickens’ victory in the 50-lapper was his second consecutive victory at Valvoline Raceway in as many weeks having blasted to the win last Saturday night in the Speedcar Super Series finale and NSW Championship.
“We’ve had a blast here in Sydney the last two weeks,” he grinned in victory lane, “I can’t thank Brett and Leigh Morris from Seamount Racing for bringing out this car for me to race. I’ve really enjoyed racing against the Aussies at Parramatta and it’s great to get another 50-lapper win.”
Dayne Kingshott had to come from the rear of the field too at a restart when he tangled on the main straight with Pickens and damaged the exhaust on the #21 MAC Chassis.
Defending 50-lapper champion Adam Clarke stormed to fourth place and in doing so won the $250 “Brown dog Hard Charger Award” put up my Mark and Belinda Brown.
On a night that tributed Mark Brown as he officially said goodbye to active driving duties his son Kaidon put in a blinder to finish fifth between two 50-lapper stars Adam Clarke and Nathan Smee (sixth).
Matty Jackson finished seventh (admitting he missed the set up) ahead of Travis Mills in eighth, the returned Jaimie McKinlay in the Stephen Dillon #9 in ninth and Kiwi racer Brock Maskovich rounding out the top ten.
Adam Wallis was eleventh ahead of Bob Jackson twelfth, Joe Lostich thirteenth, Jack Black fourteenth, Jay Hall fifteenth, Alan Day sixteenth and Darren Salmon classified as the last car running in seventeenth.
Day managed to earn a spot in the A-Main as first reserve when the hapless Kiwi Hayden Williams had a motor issue before even firing a shot in the Jason Bell #82 TRD Boss.
DNF’s were Mick Saller, Sam Walsh, Jamie Hall, Troy Jenkins, Braydan Willmington, Michael Stewart, Gary Rooke (rolled), Reagan Angel (rolled) and Hayden Williams (DNS).
Reagan Angel’s flip in the ARA #71X was the biggest of the night when he rode the wheel of Gary Rooke and inverted big time into turn one. Angel was fortunately uninjured in the wreck.
Two of the sensations of the 50-lapper race event were actually Sprintcar drivers.
Sammy Walsh had the Paul Murphy #4 Fontana really rocking and was a possible podium contender whilst Mick Saller ran the #87 Aidan Corish entry with considerable aplomb for someone in only his second VR Speedcar appearance.
50-Lapper Official results:
1. Michael Pickens 2. Darren Jenkins 3. Dayne Kingshott 4. Adam Clarke 5. Kaidon Brown 6. Nathan Smee 7. Matt Jackson 8. Travis Mills 9. Jaimie McKinlay 10. Brock Maskovich 11. Adam Wallis 12. Bob Jackson 13. Joe Lostich 14. Jack Black 15. Jay Hall 16. Alan Day 17. Darren Salmon 18. Mick Saller DNF 19. Sam Walsh DNF 20. Jamie Hall DNF 21. Troy Jenkins DNF 22. Braydan Willmington DNF 23. Michael Stewart DNF 24. Gary Rooke 25. Reagan Angel 26. Hayden Williams DNS
The B-Main transferees were Jay Hall (winner) from Joe Lostich in second, Bob Jackson third and Braydan Willmington fourth.
Heat winners were Michael Pickens (2), Travis Mills, Jaimie McKinlay, Hayden Williams and Sam Walsh.
Birthday Boy Ryan Fenech blew the candles out on a convincing victory in the 25-lap A-Main to lead home impressive rookie Brad Giffen in second place and Ben Nicastri coming home third.
The Central Coast hard charger survived a barrage of yellow light stoppages in the main event to take the Tumbi Tyres and More #29 away to victory never surrendering the lead.
Daniel Cassidy was looking to be a possible podium contender after holding down third place for much of the race before Nicastri pulled off a perfectly timed outside pass going into turn one.
David Doherty brought the #25 home in fifth behind Cassidy with Michael Hickey sixth, Dean Hickey seventh, Tim Bink eighth, Carter Armstrong ninth and Barry Kelleher tenth.
Daniel Moon was the last car running in eleventh whilst Joel Carrig, Shannon Jennings, Wade Carter, Robert Carrig and Brett Watson all classified as DNF.
1. Ryan Fenech 2. Brad Giffen 3. Ben Nicastri 4. Daniel Cassidy 5. David Doherty 6. Michael Hickey 7. Dean Hickey 8. Tim Bink 9. Carter Armstrong 10. Barry Keller 11. Daniel Moon
Heat wins went to Robert Carrig, Daniel Cassidy, Ben Nicastri and Ryan Fenech.
Sydney youngster Jordan Binskin was a jubilant victor in the Kevin Waters and Sons Towing Lightning Sprint Gold Cup main event and in doing so scored his second consecutive victory at VR.
Though the season was one of frustration early for the immaculate #6 engine wise the last few weeks he’s really found his mojo and he was able to account for Chris Davis in second place and Matt Reed home for third.
Former wingless racer Stephen Allen was fourth ahead of Peter Styles fifth, Ben Morgan sixth and Darren Barlow the last car classified as seventh.
1. Jordan Binskin 2. Chris Davis 3. Matt Reed 4. Stephen Allen 5. Peter Styles 6. Ben Morgan 7. Darren Barlow
Heat race wins went to Stephen Allen and Jordan Binskin.
A big crowd turned out to see the Speedcar 50-lapper, Late Models and Lightning Sprints rounded out by an orgy of destruction in the Trailboss Towbars Caravan, Boat and Dunny Derby.
The next event at Valvoline Raceway is next Saturday, May 6 for the Australian Legend Car Championship and dual Late Model main events.