Jason Johnson claimed his second WSS main event victory for the season and in the process escalated himself to third overall in the points in front of an enormous crowd at Albany’s Atwell Park Speedway tonight.
The Louisiana Leadfoot powered past early leader James McFadden and drove on to score the victory in the 30 lap A-Main but not without a titanic struggle with the young series leader.
“I knew we had some good car speed and I could judge my own speed by the way he (James) was driving. We could get into the turns really nice and make up some ground each time. The HM Racing Team gave me an excellent car and I’m pleased for the whole team we could get this win in a town like this that has worked so hard to make this event successful. Congratulations to Albany Speedway for making this happen.”
James McFadden came home in second place with Kerry Madsen rounding out the podium.
Madsen led the field into turn one on the opening lap but pushed hard up track and lost seven or eight positions before powering back to a strong third.
“I’m kicking myself,” Madsen lamented, “I pushed really hard into turn one but I got into some of the slippery stuff and just went straight to the wall. I’m so disappointed for my team, they gave me a fantastic racecar and I didn’t get the job done. Full credit to the Albany team for getting this track up to speed tonight, it’s been fun racing here this weekend.”
McFadden was, not surprisingly, pleased to see turn two open up in front of him when Madsen slid up.
“I knew that something like that could happen because we always push as hard as we can on the front row. I held back a bit and stayed on the bottom and it worked out pretty good. Jason did a good job and we’re pleased to get a good result even though it’s not the win.”
The night started strongly for the Totally Workwear #25 Cool with quick time in Revolution Racegear qualifying.
Importantly for McFadden’s series lead, Brooke Tatnell could only manage 8th position and that took the bite out of the momentum the 5 times Australian champion had been making on his young nemesis in the last two rounds.
Fourth across the line was Max Dumesny ahead of David Murcott, Grant Anderson, Shane Stewart, Brooke Tatnell, Shaun Dobson, Jamie Maiolo, Steven Lines, Trevor Green, Danny Reidy, Dylan Jenkin, Ryan Farrell and Jason Kendrick.
Dumesny came from the sixth row of the grid in the Valvoline machine to almost move up into a podium finish.
“We found something on the bottom and the car was fantastic,” grinned the seven times WSS champ, “we were coming. We probably just ran out of time.”
David Murcott flew under the radar most of the night in the #83 Mainline Dynolog Dynamometers Eagle and recorded a solid fifth place after an intense battle with Max Dumesny in the A-Main.
Some of the major players in the series points battle had less than memorable weekends as the competition enters the critical last three rounds phase.
DNF’s in the event were all tangled up in a second lap incident in turn one that claimed Robbie Farr, David Priolo, Mark Wells and Ian Madsen.
Farr now drops to fourth overall behind Johnson and Steven Lines lost momentum on his charge to attack the lead with a disappointing showing in the A-Main.
“One of those nights,” frowned the Monster Energy pilot, “one of those nights.”
Farr too had a night he’d rather forget.
“We’ve thrown everything at this car tonight,” explained East Coast Pipeline crew chief Nick Speed, “and we just can’t make an impact. It’s frustrating because we’re not even doing anything out of the box.”
The image of a dejected Robbie Farr walking back to the pits past his crippled #7 Vermeer Maxim was a telling moment for the defending champion’s run home.
Danny Reidy was fast throughout the night in the Inglis Race Engines powered #5 J&J but the Queensland based Territorian was found in thirteenth position by the fall of the chequers.
Grant Anderson put his shoulder to the grindstone and recorded an excellent top six result in the #37 Wagga Mobile Cranes Foster, ending up on a high when a crash at the start of the night could have quite easily have derailed his event prematurely.
“I made a mistake, that’s all there is to it,” he explained, “I spun in turn two and took out a few cars that were innocently involved. That’s an awful feeling and I apologise for that. I hope we can get going and end on a more positive note.”
He avenged that early disappointment with his A-Main showing after finishing third in the B-Main and charging hard after the transfer.
Expected to perform strongly in the Hall Transport #5 KPC for local trucking magnate Brian Hall, multiple WA Champion Ryan Farrell never really got out of the blocks and scraped into the A-Main with a last position B-Main transfer behind good buddy Trevor Green in the NATRAD #4 Maxim.
Green had earlier been crashed out with front end damage in his first heat when rising WA racer Kye Scroop spun in front of him and Ian Madsen was left with no escape clause, running over Green’s #4 and taking them both out.
Drivers who had more than their share of misfortune on the night included Sheldon Brady (rolled), Taylor Milling (rolled) Ken Sartori (rolled) Ben Ellement (who spun out whilst challenging Ryan Farrell for the final transfer position), Mark Wells (crashed) Ian Madsen (crashed) and David Priolo (crashed).
Drivers who were lively but their final event result didn’t reflect at times their car speed included Shane Stewart, Shaun Dobson, Dylan Jenkin, Jason Kendrick, Brad Maiolo and Jaimie Maiolo.
A huge crowd greeted the Albany Speedway Club in response to a diligent and professional effort in the lead up to the event.
“This club has worked their butts off for this,” praised WSS Race Director Shane Collins, “everything they’ve done has been first class. I hope that this event has been successful for them because they’ve worked so hard.”