NO FIREWORKS OPENING NIGHT
Opening night at Western Springs Speedway was postponed to an unusual 4pm Sunday kick-off. Track conditions
were unexpected given the daylight nature of the meeting. Usually the track would dust up and give
spectators a free tan. However this track retained it's moisture throughout the meeting. In fact the
problem was we couldn't get the moisture out of the track! The result was a narrow race track that
got bumpier the more the meeting continued. I think they call it a "cowboy up" track in the USA.
Just 16 cars fronted for the Midget feature which was the smallest field amongst any class except the
quarter midgets. 5a Brock Maskovich was the polesitter with 1nz Michael Pickens on the outside. 11a Shayne
Alach and 39a Peter Hunnibell the second row. 96a Chris McCutcheon and 97a Thomas McLean shared row three.
If anyone else was to be a factor 91a Hayden Guptill from grid 11 or 2nz Brad Mosen from grid 12 were the
most likely. Both had flipped in heat race action through no fault of their own.
There must have been a rule change I missed in the off-season which sees grid 1 set the pace. Maskovich
clearly jumped the
start from the pole position yet the start was not pulled back. Alach was quickly into second but we'd have to do it all
over again as 69a Mark Enson suffered a big solo flip down the back straight. From start #2 Maskovich again
went early, though not to the same extent as the first start. But it was the same result with Maskovich
leading from Pickens and Alach. Maskovich was able to slowly eek out a lead and appeared to have Pickens
covered through the opening stages.
A little further back Mosen was struggling to make forward progress but team mate Guptill was enjoying a
little more success. That was until his left front wheel departed the rest of the car on lap 7. The next
phase of the race was green for about 8 laps. Maskovich led away whilst behind him Pickens was
going to Plan B, exploring some lines higher up the race track. That opened up the opportunity for Alach
who had desires of making a move up the inside but couldn't make it happen. Further back Mosen found some
pace to pass a bunch of cars. The race would go into a caution period as 15a Stevie Walsh spun exiting
turn 4, collecting 43a Matt Watson and adding him to the evenings voluminous flip count. 98a Caleb
Antonio-Rooney retired infield during the caution after a promising run, a flat left rear tyre the
The final stanza of the race would be the best. Maskovich again led away with Pickens trying apply
pressure via his patented high line. Instead he found himself in a battle to hold onto second with Alach.
Alach poked his head up the inside corner after corner until he got a move to stick. No sooner had he done
so, Alach over-cooked it exiting turn 4 and handed the spot back to Pickens! Despite temporarily losing the
second spot Pickens refused to change lines and would pay the price next time around when Alach made another
inside move through Town Bend. That seemed to galvanise the seven time national champion who regained the
second spot a couple of laps later via a cut back on the exit of Pine Tree Bend.
The top three had cleared out on the rest of the field. McCutcheon executed an outside move on Hunnibell to
move into a distant fourth. Back up front and Pickens was finally making up some ground on Maskovich. He
would be aided by a lapped car though it must be said what was Maskovich doing? Maskovich just followed the
slower car around for a lap, seemingly disinterested in trying an alternate line to make a pass. Pickens
showed him how it was done with a bit of aggression. Again the inside of Pine Tree Bend was the spot as the
1nz took his familiar spot at the front of the Midget field. From there it was plain sailing as Pickens
took yet another feature win from Maskovich and Alach. McCutcheon was closing in fourth well ahead of Hunnibell