T.J.’s Notebook: Classic from the Couch

Sprint cars from Premier Speedway with morning coffee was a great way to change up my Sunday morning.
Sprint cars from Premier Speedway with morning coffee was a great way to change up my Sunday morning.

By T.J. Buffenbarger

The longer I run TJSlideways.com my interest in International sprint car racing grows. Thanks to the wonders of technology I rolled out of bed Sunday morning at 5:00 a.m. to catch the last two B-Mains and the feature during the finale of the Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia. My morning of “Classic from the Couch” was a great way to start the day.

James McFadden’s dominating performance in the 40-lap finale in route to his first Classic victory was impressive in the Monte Motorsports machine. The win was also Maxim Chassis’ (a fine supporter of this website) third straight victory in the Classic.

Even though McFadden handily won the feature the final 10 laps were eventful with pressure from Brooke Tatnell and avoiding disaster threading his way through a crash involving American drivers Carson Macedo and Greg Hodnett. McFadden’s ability to pull away from Tatnell on restarts was impressive and likely what helped secure the win during three late race restarts.

The biggest surprise of all was defending Classic champion Jamie Veal missing the feature after being involved in a heat race incident. Veal missed the transfer from the B-Main.

Both Veal and McFadden will be among the favorites going into this weekend’s Australian Sprint Car Title. Even with the event only open to Australian drivers Sydney draws anywhere from 40-60 cars for their weekly Saturday sprint car program.

The coverage from the crew at ClayPerView.com was excellent. The coverage was so good that I will likely find myself waking up at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday to catch the end of the Australian Sprint Car Title from Sydney. If you are a morning person like myself, I highly recommend it. Friday and Saturdays events in Sidney should be barn burners and the cost was more than reasonable to watch a sprint car race on the other side of the globe.

Other Notes…

  • Brian Lay picked up the feature win Sunday in South Africa. The event was postponed from Saturday due to torrential rain. The American tour of South Africa continues this week with Jimmy McCune joining the American contingent.
  • Mansfield Motor Speedway has dominated the headlines in Ohio the past few weeks with the facilities transformation back to a dirt racing surface, tearing up the asphalt to do so, and booking a big FAST and Non-Wing sprint car program the same week as the Knoxville Nationals. One thing to note that opening weekend at Mansfield is the same weekend as Attica Raceway Park, but the rain date for Attica’s opener could be that same Saturday as the Mansfield opener. If the weather works out well though it could make for a nice weekend with Mansfield’s track located less than an hour away from Attica. Let’s hope the weather works out for everyone involved.
  • Schedules are coming in at a rapid pace and being added to our Allstar Performance Open Wheel Calendar multiple times per day. One series in particular that caught our eye due to growth is the Wisconsin WingLESS Sprint Car Series. This crate non-wing sprint car series is branching out for 2017 with races at Beaver Dam Speedway, Plymouth Dirt Track, and Angell Park Speedway. These races join an already healthy slate of events at Wilmot Raceway.Kokomo Speedway also released their 2017 slate. Fans of midget car racing will be happy to see four non-sanctioned midget dates are on the schedule including the finale night of the Kokomo Smack Down and a possible fifth that is a TBA for the Kokomo Klash. This is in addition to three USAC National Midget Races on Kokomo’s calendar. The schedule combined with facility improvements that include a new aluminum backstretch grandstand are exciting leading into the 2017 season at Kokomo.
  • Top drivers from around the world will converge on Nelson Speedway Friday and Saturday for the 75th New Zealand’s Midget Car championship.