Photo: by Greg Sketcher
By Sprintcars Australia
Matt Egel got his attempt to win his first Australian 360ci Sprintcar Championship off to the best possible start as he dominated the preliminary A-Main, that doubled as the Ross Wright Memorial, at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway, Friday March 25.
After setting the quickest time in his heat group during qualifying, he then finished first and second in his heat races before leading all 25 laps in the final.
Second place went to four-time Australian 360ci Champion Ryan Jones, who was making his first appearance in a 360ci car for three years, while Albury’s Grant Anderson rounded out the podium in the Brad Foster owned #V11.
After starting from position 11 in field, Hayden Pitt charged his way to fourth in a great performance, with Charles Hunter rounding out the top five.
Broken Hill racer Brendan Guerin had a competitive evening as he recorded a solid sixth place result while Daniel Pestka fought back to finish seventh after spinning in turn four as he tried to avoid contact with Steven Caruso, who had come to halt after an incident with Guerin.
At the time, Pestka was running second behind Egel but the incident between Caruso and Guerin occurred just as the leading pair were approaching the back of the field.
Inaugural Australian 360ci Champion Stephen Bell had a strong night and finished eighth in the Mat Eastham #88 while Chris Soloman and Chris Campbell rounded out the top 10. Lisa Walker, Steven Caruso and Paul Soloman were the last of the finishers.
Lap two saw the defending Australian Champion Brett Milburn exit the event after Steven Caruso made contact with the back of the #1 and as a result, he spun down the front straight and was collected by Mark Caruso, who rolled his car. The damage to both cars saw them finish the night on the infield.
Earlier, Egel, Lisa Walker, Phil Lock and Grant Anderson paced their respective heat groups with heat wins going to Ryan Jones (2), Paul and Chris Soloman, Hayden Pitt, Daniel Pestka, Grant Anderson and Matt Egel.
Current Victorian Champion Brenten Farrer had a tough night, but he bounced back to win the B-Main while Paul Soloman, Tod Moule and Chris Campbell also transferred in to the main.
The B-Main was shortened to 10 laps due to number of cautions during the event including incidents involving Steven Loader, Luke Bowey, Dan Scott and Tim Van Ginneken.
The Murray Machining and Sheds Australian 360ci Championship continues Saturday night (March 26) with a further round of heats, a B-Main and the 40 lap Australian Championship Final.