Thursday, January 05, 2012
Finals night for the Grand Prix turned out to be one of the best nights of the season with what can only be described as a 'fairly decent' support class, the international Sprintcars. Even the Ministocks came to the party and put on a great display. The track surface was still not 100% but it was a vast improvement on the night before. The crowd size had improved but Im guessing a large amount of those people had come for the Sprintcars, hopefully they enjoyed some of the Stockcar racing too. A couple of times during the evening it did feel a bit like the feature class were being pushed to the side for the Sprintcars but when they weren't running lap after lap on yellow lights they were stunning to watch.
First job for the night though was to find the final four cars from the repercharge, and surprisingly their were only 17 cars for this race. A rather straight forward flag race ensued with 47c, 84m, 45r and 73c qualifying. I may be mistaken but I thought I heard 84m Ryan Smyth set a lap record during this race? If someone can confirm that would be good to know. A couple of cars that I thought had qualified were missing from the field, 92g Brett Lloyd and 517s Mark Woods.
24r Shane Newlands, 97m Stacy Keatch and 321v Hilton Parker were the front row for a monster field of 36 Stockcars. Green flag and on turn two 321v Parker was spun and with a field this big at least four other cars were tangled up in the melee. 21s Duthie punctured, 4r Shaun Stewart took the lead from local hope 35m Eben Young, Newlands and 98r Costello. 8r Scott Fredrickson spun 84i Taylor which held up 95a Gary Lonergan, and within a lap or two 95a had a flat right front tyre. 15p Rob Miers had made huge moves forward in the field. The leading cars were 4r, 24r, 35m, 97m, 24m and 557p the first of the Palmy contingent in 6th. 35m Young tried to spin 24r Newlands costing them both a lot of places and opening a gap that Miers darted into to grab 2nd place. It was at this point Im guessing a little bit of payback from the NZ title at Rotorua took place as the crippled 95a took Miers out of the race. 41c Ben Jacobs retired to the infield and 97m Keach seemed to lose a bit of power dropping lots of places. 33r was ailing and retired and slowly 581p Jordan Dare was moving into contention up to 6th place. After the red light to remove Miers, 45r Vallance stalled, 24r Newlands went off along with 17r Kitt and 97m. Reining champ 67w Hargreaves was in trouble and retired too. It left a 5 way battle for the lead that finshed with a win to 4r Shaun Stewart ahead of the 24m tank of Ian Daniel. 581p had moved up an incredible 33 places.
Top 16: 4r, 24m, 581p, 35m, 98r, 557p, 73p, 86r, 29m, 15r, 17b, 72r, 29a, 8r, 81r, 229s
67w Hargreaves was supposed to start on grid 1 but was a DNS. 72r David Rumney pulled infield right off the start ending his title hopes. 24m Ian Daniel was the first to be spun dropping to the rear of field. 98r Costello took the early lead ahead of 557p and 35m. 24r Newlands attacked the 23m tank. 17r Murray Kitt was spun in turn 1 and the 29m car of Ryan Hunt began smoking heavily but was able to continue. 321v Parker joined the growing list of puncture victims with the entire tyre then coming off. 21s Todd Duthie retired. 35m Eben Young moved up to 2nd from his grid 10 start. 86r Keijzer pulled to the infield and heat one winner 4r Stewart was slowing due to yet another puncture. 81r Damian Orr made his big move at this stage taking the lead with 2 laps to go by negotiating the lapped traffic best. Both 24r and 73c ended up in the wall and 23m tank blew a tyre dragging himself home in 22nd.
Top 16: 81r, 98r, 35m, 557p, 17b, 8r, 52r, 581p, 84m, 84i, 41c, 15r, 229s, 29a, 24m, 29m
Points after the second heat were hard to come by as the Sprintcars were showboating and somewhat stealing the limelight so I did my best to work them out myself and I think they were something like this:
35m Eben Young 67pts
98r Mark Costello 67pts
557p Darrell Wallace 64pts
581p Jordan Dare 63pts
17b Aaron Iremonger 58pts
81r Damian Orr 58pts
24m Ian Daniel 57pts
8r Scott Fredrickson 54pts
15r Paul Mabey 52pts
There were a few gaps in the field and Jordan Dare had the best possible start position with grid 1. 86w Hawkins and 73p Hill made up the rest of the 3 wide front row. Upon the start 17b Iremonger was the first to strike trouble taken infield by 23m and forced to rejoin last. 581p Dare was then spun which would ultimately cost him the title. 229s Kylee Symes lead from 8r Fredrickson, 84i Taylor, 29a Tennant and 81r Orr in the box seat. 35m Young was attacked and spun sending him to the rear while the stirring tank of 23m Karl Daniel then had a go at 557p. Unfortunately for the Daniel clan the other tank who was in with a title shot, 24m punctured at this point. 86r Keijzer was next to have a go at Dare while the Palmy challenge was faultering with 73p losing pace and slowing. 84i and 29a both spun with Tennants race ending. Just time for one more puncture, the unlucky Orr this time ending his hopes dropping to 21st place. 23m had one last go at Dare pinning him in the wall but not before he crossed the line in second behind 8r Fredrickson. 98r Costello had pretty much kept out of trouble and coasted home in 4th securing the title by two points from Dare. Eben Young had managed to claw his way back from last to 11th place to grab third overall.
Top 16: 8r, 581p, 229s, 98r, 4r, 15r, 94r, 29m, 41c, 84i, 35m, 86w, 17r, 557p, 73p, 84m
98r Mark Costello 100pts
581p Jordan Dare 98pts
35m Eben Young 93pts
8r Scott Fredrickson 90pts
Meeting rating : 8/10
Programme : $4 some in colour, good photos and content
Driver of the night : 35m Eben Young
Parking : Free, and miles of it!
Meetings Best Moment : 14r Matt Nilsson's stirring