Jamie Larsen led from lights-to-flag to take the $10,000 winners purse and victory in the final round of the Porter Group International Sprintcar Series at Western Springs Speedway.
There were contrasting fortunes for Round 1 winner Shane Stewart who crashed out of the race.
The wheel packing of a dirt track can often indicate type of racing that might unfold. This wheel pack encroached on the racing time with the show starting later than the scheduled time.
The sacrifice made for a longer pack can often balance out with a superb oval of race-able clay come feature time and this track delivered.
A positive speedway conducive forecast greeted fans and teams alike at the 90-year-old palace of speed, excited to witness the three-round series’ conclusion having been rained out for Round 2 at Baypark Speedway on Thursday.
When heat race action got underway, former national champion Kerry Brocas – back after biffing his car at the fence with great force last week – started on the front row of Heat 1.
His car failed to take throttle and he headed infield as the race began. Kihikihi registered Brian Edwards used his balking front row partners calamity to his advantage and streaked ahead.
Stewart and Larsen were both in this heat race with Stewart getting the better of Larsen until contact with a lapped car tore Stewarts left side nerf bar off. Officials sending him infield with no points from this heat race.
The race was won by Tokoroa talent Keaton Dahm, Edward second with Larsen and Christchurch driver Matthew Leversedge behind.
The second heat was won by Stephen Taylor who led from start to finish with action provided at the back of the field early as two-time National Champ Rodney Wood found himself a pinball betwixt wall and an ambitious American Jonathan Allard, hell-bent on doing his car owner Michael Pickens proud. The ace Kiwi driver currently under a 22-day stand-down after making physical contact with an official at a previous meeting.
After colliding with Allard and the wall Wood was then drawn into the path of American veteran Craig Dollansky, bouncing off him and spat out to the back of the pack, eventually picking up two spots to finish 10th.
The track still greasy in spots but quickening in the afternoon sun had passing at a premium and finishing where they started was Dean Cooper from Taupo second and Dean Brindle third.
Heat 3 was Dollansky over Mitre 10 sponsored Glenn Torpey. The drama of this heat being the moment South Islanders Jayden Dodge and Leversedge found each other in turn 3 resulting in Leversedge being thrown violently against the wall, side on. The damage to the chassis considerable with the front end having walked itself over to the right by several inches, his night over.
Finishing behind Dollansky and Torpey were Daniel Eggleton, Larsen and Brindle.
The final heat saw Australian Dave Murcott lead for the 1st 7 laps until Stewart caught then passed for the race win with Allard also passing the Victorian for second across the line. Veal and wood behind Murcott.
The top 6 in points after heat racing entered a pole shuffle – a two-car, two-lap, all-out race to the line for grind ranking in the feature. 5th bet 6th with Veal beaten by Brindle who then paced Allard. Allard won to take on Taylor. Taylor won and then took on Larsen for the right to advance but Taylor was beaten and to start from grid 3.
Larsen then matched up top point man Dahm who chose to start on the inside and was beaten into turn 1 by Larsen and forced to settle for an outside front row start for the 40-lap Feature race.
Heavy with fuel for 40 laps the 20 car field were had to restart after a concertina crash before the green broke Dion Kendalls wing with debris left on the track. Kendall allowed to continue with his outside sideboard missing.
As the race got underway Allard slipped passed Dahm into 2nd early and looked to catch Larsen.
Auckland registered Tyler Radovan went up and over early crumpling his wing and popping tyres.
On the next restart dominant Stewart ended his night on the hook as his car was seen bouncing over the cushion on the restart and tipping over, deflating a tyre ending his tour on a sour note.
At the restart, it was Allard outside of Larsen again with Larsen leading and hunting down the slower cars quickly and efficiently. Allard followed suit with Taylor gaining behind.
Meanwhile, Veal had gotten past Brindle between cautions then took Dahm for 4th. Veal now a straightaway behind Taylor must have smiled when he saw the yellow light out for a spinning Shadbolt bringing the lead pair closer.
Shadbolt locking his car down and with rotors glowing as he found the stakes into turn 3 too rich for his liking when a flying Allard came in close proximity.
While fighting his own battles Brindle was suddenly confronted with the stranded car ahead. While best endeavours were made to avoid the stricken car he clipped a corner and came to a halt with a flat tyre.
On the restart Veal used a lap’s worth of momentum to feed his car inside Taylors in Turn 1 and out to the high line leaving Taylor no choice but to follow him down the back straight. Veal’s car was now in tune with the ever-changing track conditions and matched the leaders for pace and set after them.
Larsen’s pursuers: Allard, Veal, Taylor and Dahm would have to wait for lapped traffic again.
With leader Larsen in site and amidst traffic Allard got above the cushion and only just managed to keep the borrowed ride of the wall though at the expense of 2nd position as Veal moved past with 13 laps remaining.
Allard then passed veal back when Veal had his own moment. Larsen going on to win with Allard, Veal, Taylor and Dahm in the top five. Murcott, Eggleton, Wood, Edwards and Dodge positions six to ten.
Of his win Larsen exclaimed “The car was on rails. We missed the set up in the first race but from then on my crew chief Darryl Clayton got it absolutely spot on.”
“Ten grand! That’s pretty awesome, that my biggest ever career win” Said a jubilant Larsen.
Veal, though on the podium, was disappointed “I don’t think we were that good. To let them two [Larsen & Allard] get that far in front of me is pretty dismal on my behalf.”
Other winners on the night were Ryan Baker in Three Quarter Midgets, Mitch Osborne in Formula 2 Midgets and Hayden Williams in Midgets.
The next meeting at Western Springs is on Boxing Day and opens the United Truck Parts International Midget Car Series with some of the world’s best midget drivers from USA and Australia in attendance. Look for a series preview soon at Velocity News.
Catch all the action from this meeting on demand and the next Western Springs Speedway meeting on www.speedshifttv.com
CLICK HERE for the full results