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WESTERN SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL SPRINTCARS



A rare Sunday evening show at Western Springs took place after rain scuppered the originally scheduled Saturday night event. We were racing the 3rd and final round of the International Sprintcar Series with a field of near on 20 cars in attendance. Track conditions were interesting. Unlike the previous week the track had excellent racing width. It did have two lines though the high side of the track was quite rough and inconsistent in places. The pole lacked grip which when combined with the rough high line made for multiple racing lines as drivers searched for speed. This was a real finesse track where slower was faster. A high level of accuracy and smoothness the key to fast lap times.

6m James Dahm sat on pole with 54a Michael Pickens on the outside. Pickens was fresh from winning the Midget feature in the previous race. 71a Jamie McDonald and 88m Keaton Dahm comprised the second row. 1nz Jonathan Allard and 3nz Jamie Larsen were the third row. The American contingent were well down the pack having struck difficulty during the heats. 11usa Kraig Kinser was on grid 13 after not making progress in the heats. 1usa Craig Dollansky started on grid 16 following a spin in his opening heat. It was even worse for 05usa Brad Loyet who started dead last on grid 19. Loyet's DNF'd his opening heat after clipping the wall exiting turn two and performing a 180 degree wheel stand. An 8th in his second heat didn't inspire confidence that Loyet was going to be a factor in the A-Main.



From the drop of the green we ran the entire 25 lap distance without a caution. 54a Michael Pickens jumped away to take the early lead from the Baypark brothers, 6m James Dahm and 88m Keaton Dahm. 71a Jamie McDonald assumed the 4th position ahead of 1nz Jonathan Allard. That running order maintained for a number of laps. A little further back 11usa Kraig Kinser and 1usa Craig Dollansky were quickly into their work making forward progress. Kinser appeared to have a little more pace than his American counterpart. Lapped traffic became a factor reasonably early but Pickens, who had established a good lead in the early stages, had little difficulty with the initial wave of back markers.

Behind him the race started to spice up a little. 3nz Jamie Larsen moved into 6th following a move around 55a Daniel Thomas. After looking a little sedate in the opening stages 1nz Jonathan Allard started to look more menacing as we moved into the middle stages of the race. A move up the inside of 71a Jamie McDonald signalled his intentions and once by McDonald he quickly bridged to gap to the man in 3rd place 88m Keaton Dahm. Allard wasn't hanging around and in a move of questionable legality went up the inside of a back marker through turn 1 and slid up the track taking Dahm's line away from him. The legality issue being the amount of grass utilised in turn 1. From my angle it was quite a bit of grass!



6m James Dahm was struggling slightly in the lapped traffic and quickly became Allard's next victim. James would be back to fourth a few laps later courtesy of a pass from his brother Keaton. Back up front and race leader 54a Michael Pickens had issues to think about. He was into the second wave of lapped traffic which was proving more testing than the first wave. Cars in front of him were constantly two wide racing for position. Though it must be said Pickens wasn't exactly pushing the issue. Was he aware he had a huge lead courtesy of the big screen? The lead looked insurmountable with 5 to go. It must have been around one third of a lap back to Allard. However when drivers battle they tend to slow each other down and we were about to get a vivid illustration of this effect.

The battling pack in front of Pickens slowed him up so much that Allard ran down the margin in three and a half laps! Going into Town Bend on the penultimate lap Allard used his superior momentum to drive the car in hard and slide up in front of the Kiwi hero. Pickens stayed on the high side and drove around the attempted pass to take the white flag. 2nz Dean Brindle was the lapped car as Pickens went low and Allard high into Pine Tree Bend for the final time. Both made it by the 2nz with Allard carrying the superior momentum on the high side. It was an action replay into Town Bend for the final time except this time Allard was able to execute the move to take the lead! Pickens tried to respond coming off the corner but it wasn't enough, Allard taking the win on the final corner from Pickens, Keaton Dahm, James Dahm, 3nz Jamie Larsen, 78a Daniel Eggleton, 55a Daniel Thomas, 71a Jamie McDonald, 11usa Kraig Kinser and 5a Daniel Rogers.