Breyton Davison has won the final event of the inaugural Racing Local Eseries round in a race littered in accidents and cautions.
The NZ speedway racer would fend off a resilient Matthew Payne in the race’s final laps, crossing the line 0.434s ahead of the national KartSport champion.
After a wild trip at Daytona International Speedway, the 60-car field traded slicks for dirt as they headed to the Knoxville Speedway in Iowa.
Several pre-feature-race qualifying and sprint heats were used to determine the grid for the 30-lapper main event.
But after pre-qualifying had sorted the grid, it was Davison who would line up alongside Shane Van Gisbergen on the front row.
The pole-sitter got the jump on the field at the green flag, meanwhile, Liam Lawson moved his way from fifth to third in the opening tour and began to apply early pressure on Van Gisbergen.
Though his charge would be short-lived as Andre Heimgartner found the outside wall at the final turn, bringing out the race’s first caution so he could be recovered.
Off the restart, it was Matthew Payne who flew by SVG and Lawson, before briefly edging ahead of Davison for the lead, but lost it one lap later.
Taylor Cockerton would bring out the race’s second caution on lap five. The 2017 Formula Masters Asia champion coming unstuck on the back straight, spearing into the wall. Fortunately, the 22-year-old would remain on the lead lap.
Payne would once again steal the lead from Davison on the restart before Tom Blomqvist bought out yet another caution, followed by Simon Evans who also found trouble two laps later.
Many circuit-racing drivers were vividly finding the switch to Speedway a real handful to master. No less than seven caution periods had been waved by lap 13. Thankfully no laps completed behind the pace car counted towards the overall lap tally.
Matthew Payne proved to be a master of the restarts, never falling behind Davison at the green flag.
But the KZ2 Karting champion’s lead would eventually come undone one lap 19 as an unforced error allowed Davison and a lurking Van Gisbergen to slip by before another yellow flag came out courtesy of Nick Cassidy going for a wild ride into the outside wall at turn two.
The restart was going to be pivotal for Davison. Payne cleared SVG immediately and quickly latched onto the leader’s rear bumper. Behind the duo was a case of race one déjà vu with Van Gisbergen leading McLaughlin and Lawson.
The race’s final caution came out four laps from the chequered flag. Brendon Hartley, who had been quietly scything his way through the field, tangled with a lapped car and sent himself into the wall.
It would be a green-white-chequered finish on the restart and a subtle slip from Payne on the slippery surface allowed Davison off his chains, the speedway racer going on to claim a strong victory.
Van Gisbergen would close a successful evening out by finishing third, leading home Tauranga-based racer Sam Waddell who capitalised on a mistake from Lawson and McLaughlin to clinch a much deserved fourth place.
Fans will now be given the chance to choose what next Friday’s second round will look like, with further details including entry lists to be confirmed shortly.