Veal Takes The Jackpot.
By Mark Humphrey
Avalon, Vic/Aus. 8th November 2014. Jamie Veal has continued his stellar start to the 2014/15 Sprintcar season with another feature win this time the $10,000 Avalon Sprintcar Jackpot.
In a unique format, the 32 invited drivers kicked off the night with 2 x 16 car qualifiers with the top 7 from each qualifier going directly to a semi-final. Drivers drew their starting positions from a pool prior to the qualifiers with a couple of heavy hitters drawing deep in the heats. Qualifier #1 had James McFadden starting from position 11 with the current Australian champ Dave Murcott starting 3 spots further back in 14th. Brett Milburn occupied the back row with last week’s Eureka series runner up Glen Sutherland.
Domain Ramsay starting from pole got the jump on the field and dominated the 20 lapper for 17 laps until Dobson managed to get inside on turn 1 for the lead. Johnny Vogels who had been pushing Shaun Dobson for most of the heat also managed to pass Ramsay to finish in 2nd just behind Dobson. Rhiannon Burleigh who had started on the front row managed to keep most of the field at bay to automatically qualify for the semi with a solid 4th place ahead of Luke Nash, Nick Lacey and Murcott in the last of the automatic qualifying positions. James McFadden who had been aggressive in moving through the field to as high as 4th failed to qualify due to mechanical issues.
Qualifier #2 also threw up a few variables with Robbie Farr starting on the front row and Darren Mollenoyux one spot further back. Starting out of position 11 was Jamie Veal with Steven Lines 2 spots further back. Tim Van Ginneken starting from pole got the jump on Farr and led the pack into turn 1. From there Van Ginneken controlled the race to comfortably take out the win from Farr with Mollenoyux in 3rd. Steven Lines was on fire passing both high and low to come from 14th to finish in 4th. Local racer Peter Milnes was solid in 5th followed by Veal and Daniel Pestka in the last qualifying spot.
The last chance qualifier would give 4 drivers the opportunity to advance to the semi-final. After 3 attempted starts the race finally got going minus Lee who had turned the car over, pole sitter Adam King and James McFadden. Milburn had led them away with Kris Lacey, Mike Cunningham and Luke Walker following. With 9 laps to run Milburn was starting to navigate lapped traffic and had put some distance between himself and the field. Milburn was able to take the win and advance to the semi along with Dennis Jones, Luke Walker and Mike Cunningham.
The semi-final was next up with the top 12 advancing to the time trial. This was the business end of the deal with anything possible in the time trial. To this point Van Ginneken, Dobson, Vogels and Lines had been super quick and looked the goods to advance. Lines got tangled up with Ramsay on the start sending Ramsay to the infield and Lines to the rear. On the re-start Dobson was able to get the jump from Van Ginneken and lead them out followed by Vogels and Farr. Veal who had started 11th had made his way to 6th after just 1 lap. In a nonstop race Lines was in danger of missing the cut as he couldn’t find a way past the hard charging Jones who was holding down the last transfer spot. With just 2 laps remaining Milnes who had looked comfortable mid pack pulled into the infield ensuring Lines would advance to the top 12. Dobson went on to win the semi followed by a hard charging Vogels with Van Ginneken 3rd. Next was Farr followed by Mollenoyux, Nick Lacey, Pestka, Veal, Murcott, Milburn, Jones and Lines.
A 1 lap time trial was next up with 10 cars advancing to the Jackpot feature. Veal was the 5th driver to go and put in the best lap to secure pole position from Murcott. Farr was next followed by Lines, Dobson, Pestka, Milburn, Vogels, Mollenoyux and Lacey. Jones and Van Ginneken missed the feature. For Van Ginneken it was a matter of what could have been. He dominated the night right up to the time trial missing out on the feature with the 11th fastest time trial lap. On the other hand Milburn had come through the last chance qualifier to make the feature with the 7th best time trial lap.
Just prior to the start of the 10k to win feature, Combined Waste representative and fellow sprintcar racer Kristy Ellis put up an offer to pole sitter Veal to start 4 spots further back with an additional $5,000 bonus to win. Veal’s dilemma was to decide between starting from pole for a chance to win 10k or starting from 5th with a chance to win 15k. He decided on the 10k option for the 12 lap final and elected to start from the outside. Taking the high line into turn 1 Veal held out Murcott to get the early lead and from then on was never headed in the 12 lap final. Murcott who had turned things around from earlier in the night held of the current track champion in Shaun Dobson to finish 2nd behind Veal. Dobson was 3rd followed by Lines, Pestka, Farr, Milburn, Lacey, Mollenoyux and Vogels.
In the support class Paul Tindal took out the final of the V8 Dirt Modifieds.
Racing continues at Avalon next Saturday night with the Super Sedans making their first appearance of the season. Juniors, Wingless and F500’s are in support.