From Jarryd Stokes
Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal has been knocking on the door for a feature race win and finally broke through for his maiden A-Main victory last night (January 16) at Moama’s Heartland Raceway in the seventh round of the Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series after pulling off one of the passing moves of the season over Matthew Reed.
In windy conditions that provided uncomfortable conditions for everyone concerned with plenty of dust being thrown up, track maintenance after hot laps finally settled the track down as the sun set in front of a healthy crowd that witnessed some wild Sprintcar racing from Victoria’s best drivers.
After four heat races, in which Nick Lacey, Brett Milburn, John Vogels and Brad Foster took victories, it was the consistent results of Veal who finished runner up in both his heat races that had him as the highest qualifier for the top six shootout event.
Victorian champion Matthew Reed made the top six shootout his own, qualifying sixth highest on points after the heats to set quick time and elevate himself to the front row alongside series leader John Vogels, who was fifth highest on points after heat racing.
Youngster Nick Lacey, fourth on points, set the third quickest time ahead of Veal who missed the opportunity to start on the front row. Milburn was the fifth quickest car, while Brad Foster, mighty impressive in the heats to be second highest qualifier, was caught out with his 360 engine in the time trial format to set the sixth fastest time.
With the top six sorted, 16 cars took to the track for an exciting 30-lap A-Main event that had everything. Early in the piece Colin Lamb, starting 14th, rolled over heavily in turn two where there was a noticeable rut well developed on the exit of the corner.
Front runners Reed, Vogels, Veal and Milburn were all brilliant, before Vogels pushed his V70 to the limits in a bid to hit the lead on the inside of Reed out of turn two and hooked the same rut as Lamb to roll over heavily.
Some short track maintenance in turn two allowed for an open red light situation, in which Vogels and his team made the necessary repairs to re join the field in an effort to hold onto the series lead.
Round two winner Milburn held the lead on resumption, with Reed in close proximity. In lapped traffic, Reed made his move and Milburn tried to fight back, only to spin on the front straight and end up against the wall to end his night.
In the remaining laps it looked as though Reed would be the winner, only for Veal to pull off one if the passing moves of the season on the highline through turn one and two where he drove right around Reed to have the Moama crowd in voice.
Veal raced to victory ahead of Reed, while 360 racer Darren Hickman was just as impressive coming from eighth position. Lacey was in a podium position for his fair share of the race but had to settle for fourth ahead of Foster.
An emotional Veal had his fists pumping on the warm down laps, knowing he had just recorded his first A-Main win in Sprintcar competition on his own merits and he now sits second in the Eureka Garages and Sheds Series, 137 points behind Vogels.
“It was great to get past Matty Reed, I have a lot of respect for him. It’s my fourth season and it’s great to finally get the win. Doing World Series Sprintcars last year has paid off and hopefully we can continue this good run for the rest of the season,” said Veal.
In a make or break round, back in the field Vogels fought his way into sixth position ahead of Ryan Davis who made up a remarkable nine positions on the grid in an outstanding effort.
Domain Ramsay finished ahead of Mike Van Bremen, who now drops back to third on points in the series, while local racer Eddie Lumbar, Charles Hunter and Ron Dalton all finished the grueling race.
South Australian Daniel Pestka was pushing for a top five result in an impressive effort, but failed to finish the final after ending up in the wall in turn one and two. Ballarat’s Rod Matthews, Milburn and Lamb were the casualties of the A-Main.
The Eureka Garages and Sheds Series will now take a spell before returning on February 27 at Hamilton’s Western Speedway for the start of a busy five weeks of racing throughout March.
Eureka Garages and Sheds Series contingency awards for round 7:
ELF RACING FUELS top point scorer – V35 Jamie Veal
AMERICAN RACER TIRE random draw between position 6th and 16th – V73 Charles Hunter (11th)
D&F RACING PRODUCTS hard luck of the night – S27 Daniel Pestka
JOHN SIDNEY RACING most cars passed in A-Main (end of series) cars passed on night V95 Ryan Davis (9) – OVERALL – V35 Jamie Veal and V44 Ron Dalton (16 cars)
Eureka Garages and Sheds Series – KTM Top 10 after round 7:
1st. John Vogels – 2250
2nd. Jamie Veal – 2113
3rd. Mike Van Bremen – 2048
4th. Domain Ramsay 1937
5th. Brett Milburn – 1903
6th. Rod Matthews – 1754
7th. Charles Hunter – 1687
8th. Nick Lacey – 1518
9th. Matthew Reed – 1511
10th. Eddie Lumbar – 1499