Mount Gambier based Sprintcar star Steven Lines has found plenty of success in recent outings at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway and last night Lines continued to build on that trend with a superb drive that captured the Routley’s Sprintcar Stampede. Leading away at every restart of the 30 lap final, Lines finished ahead of an impressive Darren Mollenoyux with Brett Milburn bouncing back to form with a strong third place result.
Winning the Good Friday Easter Trail round at Geelong plus a third place finish at last month’s Jackpot Invitational ensures Lines has sent a clear warning that he is a real threat to drive away with the season long Essendon Ford Sprintcar track championship that also began last night. The event also carried points for the second round of the Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series.
Electing to start the final from position two, Lines effectively placed Mollenoyux on the pole which given the faster highline proved to be a decisive move as Lines jumped to the lead immediately as the green flag dropped. The pair were tied on points following the qualifying heats with only Lines’ faster lap time in his final heat separating the pair allowing Lines the freedom to make the winning choice.
The leaders had to endure several restarts for incidents that eliminated contenders such as Nick Lacey who got upside down 5 laps into the event and later Darren Hickman who suffered a deflated left rear tire.
A multi-car pileup in turn 2 also halted proceeding 9 laps in eliminating Jamie Stark, Mike Van Bremen, Domain Ramsay, Ryan Davis, Matthew Reed and Carl Ludeman.
Seventh starting David Murcott was moving forward with his usual hard charging antics as he firstly sped by Ludeman and Stark early before having a thrilling duel with Stephen Bell mid race before eventually gaining the upper hand.
Lines was simply superb out in front and although Mollenoyux got close on occasion through traffic he was never close enough to challenge for the lead despite a number of tense moments in amongst heavy back markers particularly early in the final.
Lines eventually crossed the line to win ahead of Mollenoyux, Milburn, Murcott, Bell, Charles Hunter, Kris Lacey, rookie Brad Warren, Quentin Tanner and Kristy Ellis who earlier won a heat race and qualified 10th for the feature in a stunning result!
“The car is a great prize and I have to thank everyone who makes that happened,” explained Lines in regard to the season long track championship.
“But I have to also support my West Australian team and that mean it will hurt us later in the year as we will miss rounds here when we are in Perth. We will just see how it all goes later on but we are definitely off to a great start.”
Mollenoyux was quick to point out that Lines had superior car speed in clear air while also ruing the fact that Lines secured the choice to select inside or outside at the race start.
“Full credit to Stephen (Lines) he a very good car in clean air but we were tied on points and he had a quicker lap time by a small margin and he elected to start from the outside which was definitely the right thing to do.”
Nick Lacey used the outside groove to good effect when he won the B-main ahead of Tanner, Hunter, Vann Bremen, Reed and Warren. Eddie Lumbar and Peter Milnes both sustained damage in separate incidents that eliminated them from the event while John Vogels was one notable that failed to transfer into the final finishing 9th.
Wayne Rowett earlier won the C-main ahead of Taylor Milling, Vogels and Chris Solomon who all advanced into the B-main.
Heat race winners last night have all now qualified for next Octobers Jackpot Invitational as did the three feature winners including Lines who won the A-main along with his second heat race.
Other heat race winners included Carl Ludeman, Jamie Stark, Kristy Ellis, Kris Lacey and Milburn in the first round while Domain Ramsay, Steve Caunt, Mollenoyux, Murcott and Lines collected the second round victories.
With a staggering 55 Sprintcars in the pits, Street Stocks provided a number of exciting moments as the supports not wanting to be upstaged however in the end Darren Mathews secured the win ahead of Rick Swasbrick and Kasey Dixon. Mathews and Swasbrick shared the heat race wins.
The action at the venue continues in two weeks with a variety packed night of speedway entertainment.
Next Event; Saturday November 24th – Modified Production Sedans, Super Sedans, GP Midgets, AMCA’s and Wingless Sprints
For more info contact Jeff Drew 0418 160 985 / Gavin White email