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USA SPRINTCARS



The third and final meeting of the Porter Hire International Sprintcar Series took place in front of a respectable crowd at Vodafone Western Springs Speedway. For much of the night fans were subjected to tedious action as drivers and track staff fought an awful race track. The grader got the call by event nine and completed more laps of the track than many competitors, continually taking the top off the racing surface. By feature time the track was in raceable condition but it was hardly ideal with inconsistent patches and a couple of holes.

Grid for the $10,000 to win Sprintcar A-Main featured a front row of 2nz Jonathan Allard and 11usa Kyle Hirst. 2usa Shane Stewart and 22a Dean Brindle were the second row. 55a Daniel Thomas and 4a Matthew Leversedge were row three. Others to watch included 54a Michael Pickens fron grid 11, 3nz Jamie McDonald from grid 17 and 1nz Jamie Larsen from grid 18. 1usa Tony Stewart was a non starter for non-disclosed reasons. One report from the pit area suggested he was not happy with track conditions earlier in the evening. The initial race start lasted all of one lap. 8a Jarvis Tidd coming to a stop high in turns 3&4. Second time around Hirst led away as the race got underway proper with Allard and Shane Stewart in tow.



Pickens was the early mover from the mid-pack, working his way up to the fifth spot. Much of the action was deep in the pack with some of the more fancied kiwi drivers finding themselves battling for minor positions. The likes of 88m Keaton Dahm, Larsen, McDonald and the like providing plenty of side by side racing. Back up front our American visitors were showing a far higher level of comfort with lapped cars than a week ago, dealing with the local stragglers with ease. Their momentum would be slowed by a caution, Leversedge into the turn 3/4 wall and upside down in a solo incident.

The double file restarts would have a profound impact on the race with Hirst leading away from Allard whilst Stewart who had fallen behind Brindle and Pickens from the sixth spot would be pulled through. After looking uncomfortable during the opening stanza, Shane Stewart started to settle into his work. The 2usa entry very much appeared to be set up for the second half of the race. There aren't many people who pass Allard at Western Springs but Stewart did exactly that with a pinpoint precise move up the inside entering turn 3, sliding up in front of the 2nz entry through turn 4. Whilst Shane Stewart set his sights on race leader Hirst a horrific incident unfolded back in the pack.



Jamie McDonald is the last person on the face of the earth you'd nominate to buy your lotto ticket at the moment. In his heat earlier in the night McDonald suffered a bizarre wing malfunction where the top wing ripped out of it's supports. Just when you didn't think it could get any worse it did. McDonald went over the right rear of 51m Rodney Wood going through turns one and two. The ferocity of the incident was terrifying as McDonald slammed into the fence. A rare red light was implemented and ambulance summoned. Showing superhuman qualities, McDonald somehow emerged from what was left of his car and walked with assistance to the ambulance. Often in this sport we say a car is junk. McDonald's car was that badly damaged I doubt a junkyard would have taken it. Try and find a picture. I'm sure there will be many published online. You will be amazed at just how bent the car chassis was.

We still had a race to finish and the key moment occurred on the restart. Shane Stewart made a brilliantly timed acceleration to beat pacesetter Hirst and lead away. Pickens came around Allard to take up the third running spot. After the McDonald incident I think most in the crowd were happy to see the rest of the racing go incident free. Shane Stewart raced away and was clearly the quickest car on track in the closing stages, the set up working optimally. Stewart taking the win from Hirst, Pickens, Allard and Brindle.

Here at Percy's NZ Speedway we wish Jamie McDonald a speedy recovery.