From Ian Vale
Mowma, AU — (March 28, 2015) — Matthew Reed made a last lap pass on the final corner to snatch the win from race long leader Darren Hickman in the SRA Hickmans Tree Maintenance 360 Sprintcar Challenge last night at Heartland Raceway.
Once again Heartland Raceway presented a great racetrack that allowed the entire race track to be used all night long. This night was also a round of the Speedway Australia Super Sedan Series, with the Super Sedans out early wheel packing then hot lapping the race track it was in good condition for the sprintcars first events.
Two seven lap, hot lap/qualifying sessions were conduct for the twelve sprintcars to determine their first two heat races. Ironically both the Hickman Team sprintcars who ran in separate sessions timed in first and second fastest that would see Dion Bellman in the Act40 on pole and Team owner Darren Hickman driving the V40 car in position two for the first heat race. The first ten sprintcars after time trials were separated by just under half a second to set the stage for some intense racing.
With the format set for the fastest cars from time trial to the front for heat one then a full invert for heat two to be followed by a third heat race that would see an inversion of the top six in points.
Event favourite Matthew Reed ran into trouble right from the start with a mechanical issue that would force him out of time trials and would see Matthew have to line up at the rear of both the first two heats in the Act49 machine.
The three heat race went flag to flag with all sprintcars completing the race distances, Heat wins went to Darren Hickman, Chris Solomon and Corey Lincoln.
With the points added up the grid was set for the Hickmans Tree Maintenance 360 Sprintcar Challenge, sitting on pole would be V8 Corey Lincoln with V40 Darren Hickman in P2, row two V83 Chris Solomon and V34 Brenton Farrer, row three V6 Eddie Lumbar and Act 49 Matthew Reed who had done a good job in the heats for a third row starting position, row four had Act40 Dion Bellman and V78 Chris Campbell, row five, V45 Domain Ramsay and Michael Cunningham while V71 Braydan Parr and Luke Cole lined up on row six.
Darren Hickman won the A Main start to lead Corey Lincoln and Brenton Farrer across the line for the first time, Chris Solomon was the looser on lap one dropping down the field into the mid field pack. With the field settled Hickman had moved his machine up to the top of the track with Lincoln following in his tyre tracks.
The first yellow light came on for a spinning Luke Cole who was able to restart. It was not long before Matthew Reed stated to make his presence felt to take third place when a second caution was thrown for Brayden Parr after he put the V71 machine into the turn four wall and was out of the race.
On the restart Hickman set a great pace and stared to drop off Lincoln who now had Reed looking for a way past, a little further back Farrer and Lumber were joined by Chris Solomon racing for the fourth place ahead Ramsay, Bellman, Cunningham and Cole behind them.
As the laps wound down all was looking good for the event sponsor and race leader Darren Hickman when Reed finally made the pass on Lincoln to give him a chance to try and run Hickman down.
Two to go and Hickman looked to be safe but on the last lap Reed found better drive of turn two which gave him great car speed down the back straight and a chance to try and take the lead, going into turn three Reed saw his chance and drove in deep to do a slide job on Hickman and take the lead but Hickman was not done yet and tried to regain the lead as the two hit the finish line only to miss out by three hundredths of second to Reed.
Corey Lincoln kept Brenton Farrer at bay to take third place ahead of Eddie Lumbar. Rounding out the finish order were Chris Solomon, Domain Ramsay, Dion Bellman, Chris Campbell, Michael Cunningham who finish the second half of the race without a front wing and Luke Cole came home in eleventh place.
The SRA Hickmans Tree Maintenance 360 Sprintcar Challenge race was just that for many drivers on the night but it was yet another thrilling race meeting on a well prepared race track, at the presentation Matthew Reed was quick to thank his car owners and the event sponsor, also the venue operators, “I don’t what you are doing out there with this track but just keep it up that was a brilliant track to race on all night and in the feature you could race where ever you wanted to”