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  • Nathan Smee was a jubilant winner of a tremendous 66th running of the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix at Valvoline Raceway in what was an epic 30-lap main event that they’ll talk about for years to come.

    American Late Model star Devin Moran was again victorious but it was far from easy.

    Smee led home Darren Jenkins in second place and Michael Stewart third but it certainly was anyone’s race.

    The race came down to four cars specifically in the last ten laps as fantastic scrap broke out between Matt Jackson, Jenkins, Stewart and Smee.

    “I gave it everything I had,” grinned Jenkins who led for several laps and ran right on the ragged edge of the cushion virtually every lap, “when you run against Nathan you can’t afford to give him anything and when he got by it was always going to be hard to come back.”

    Smee crossed the line a car width ahead of Jenkins as the two veterans lead home majority leader Michael Stewart.

    “I can’t thank Brett Thomas and the guys from TFH enough for the opportunity to drive this car,” grinned Smee, “to be honest it’s taken a bit of time to get used to this motor, it’s different to the Esslinger and it requires a different driving style.”

    Michael Stewart, who dominated most of the night including the dash which he won by almost a third of a lap, was clearly disappointed with his eventual third place.

    “It’s my fault,” he lamented, “I probably went the wrong way with my shock settings but you can’t afford to mess with the settings too much on a track like this. We’ll learn from this and come back but it’s tough to swallow because I know we had the car to win.”

    Matt Jackson had to come from deep in the pack and was definitely hamstrung by the time it took him to catch the leaders but the always speedy Sydneysider arrived in typical swashbuckling style when the laps began to dwindle.

    Unfortunately he ran off the track at a critical moment and lost touch with the lead trio towards the end.

    West Australian Lee Redmond put in a businesslike in the TFH #52 with a heat win and a solid fifth place finish in the main event to lead home his good buddies Mark and Kaidon Brown in sixth and seventh respectively.

    Scott Doyle, Michael Jordan and defending AGP champion Anthony Chaffey rounded out the top ten.

    “How about that for a race!” grinned AGP organiser and custodian Terry King.

    King’s Dominator Engines car ran 9th in the hands of future son-in-law Michael Jordan but the Sydney veteran was far more excited about the standard of competition.

    “That’s why we need to protect the future of this race, it’s such an important part of the Australian Speedcar landscape.”

    Final results:

    1. Nathan Smee
    2. Darren Jenkins
    3. Michael Stewart
    4. Matt Jackson
    5. Lee Redmond
    6. Mark Brown
    7. Kaidon Brown
    8. Scott Doyle
    9. Michael Jordan
    10. Anthony Chaffey
    11. Brett Ireland
    12. Troy Jenkins
    13. Tony Abson
    14. Don Mackay
    15. Gary Rooke
    16. Jeremy Evans
    17. Jay Hall
    18. Cal Whatmore
    19. Andy Hassan
    20. Clint Liebhart (DNF)
    21. Reid Mackay (DNF)
    22. Adam Wallis (DNF)
    23. Rob Mackay (DNF)
    24. Reagan Angel (DNF)

    Late Models put on an excellent show with American Devin Moran scoring the win but it was by no means an easy affair as he had to run down Newcastle 22 year old Jessica Cassidy in the 30-lap feature race.

    It was always going to be a case of who could prevent Moran from going back after his convincing win on Wednesday night but this time it was the surprise opposition from Cassidy that made him work for his money.

    “That’s the first race where I’ve lead a feature race so I’m really excited about the way the car ran all night. My Dad works so many hours on this car week in week out and it’s great to get a result for him that makes it worthwhile,” she beamed from the podium.

    Though Ben Nicastri would move through to run an eventual second place and secure an historic 1-2 result for the 3-99 Motorsport it didn’t come easy for the Camden hard charger.

    “I had to battle with Jess there for a bit, she did a good job. I didn’t think there was anything in the middle but she drove back around me there and showed me I should change my line a bit. It’s great to run second to Devin and our ACM Team because everyone’s worked so hard to get these two cars here.”

    Moran paid tribute to his Australian car owners.

    “I really have to thank the Nicastris for this beautiful car to race,” he smiled, “I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Parramatta. It’s a great track and one of my favourites now. I’ve got a couple of other races in Australia now and I’m really looking forward to it.”

    Darryl Grimson backed up his second place last week with a fourth place run this time around leading home Central Coast gasser Ryan Fenech in fifth, David Doherty in sixth (the pair raced side by side for many laps) Todd Bayley seventh, Nathan Disney eighth (he was battling for the lead early in the piece) Tim Bink ninth and impressive rookie Brad Giffen rounding out the top ten.

    The Wingless Sprint main event was dominated by Dean Thomas who led home Shaun Dicker in second place and the consistent Troy Carey third.

    Thomas literally checked out on the rest of the field to win as he pleased in the Flair Dancewear #51 with a pair of the usual suspects in Dicker and Carey fighting out the podium reserve spots.

    “It’s great to get a positive result for Flair and for our team who have worked so hard tonight and over the last few weeks,” said Thomas, “even with a broken collarbone he’s still in the pits trying to help as much as he can.”

    Daniel Flood turned in one of his better Parramatta performances to place fourth ahead of PB for Kyle Mock in fifth, Nathan Dicker in the Steve Davis #64 in sixth, Marshall Blyton seventh, Mark Blyton eighth NSW#1 Jason Bates ninth (after coming from the back in both heats to finish 2nd and 1st respectively) and Simon Bestmann tenth.

    Valvoline Raceway commended the Wingless Sprint Association drivers for their ‘above and beyond’ efforts in wheel packing that was vital in preparing the excellent race surface despite the afternoon showers that threatened to rain out the event.

    “The Wingless Sprint guys and girls were outstanding,” said VR Managing Director Steven Green, “we simply couldn’t have raced tonight without their efforts.”

    Ends release…
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