Rusty Hickman last night at Simpson Speedway returned to where he started in sprintcar racing using a 360ci power plant to go on and add another event to his impressive resume by taking out the Victorian 360 Sprintcar Title to beat home two hard chargers, Matthew Reed and the current 360 Victorian Campion Michael Tancredi.
It was a night with a few surprises earlier on when a few of the more fancied drivers the likes of Brett Milburn, Brayden Parr, Chris Solomon and Paul Solomon didn’t time trial as well as expected for their heat race stating positions.
With the time trial and heat race points added up it was time for the three pole shootout events, Rusty Hickman went into the shootouts as the top point score but he would have put in a good performance to keep pole position for the main event.
It was Matthew Reed that was the performer going from the bronze shootout thru to the gold and taking pole position from Rusty Hickman.
The Parr Motorsports Victorian 360 Title A Main field was set, Matthew Reed and Rusty Hickman on row one, John Vogels and Michael Tancredi in row two followed by Jordyn Charge, Phil Lock, Chris Solomon, Brayden Parr, Michael Cunningham, Tim Van Ginneken, Daniel Scott, Jesse Nicholas and the four B Main transferring drivers of Paul Solomon, James Aranyosi, Brett Milburn and James Wren.
Just as the field was coming onto the track for the Parr Motorsports Main event the news came thru that Brayden Parr was out with a suspected motor issue.
The Simpson track curators had the track in good condition with plenty of fast times during the night so the question was where would Reed want to start the race from, the inside or out for the front row, in the end Reed chose the inside as they rolled around for the start.
As the green flag was waved it was Reed who won the start heading into turns one and two, Hickman was sitting close to Reed on the outside as they entered the turns and the instant decision for Hickman was do I have a go around the outside or not, with no time to waste he planted the foot to take the leaded off turn two and started to open a gap on Reed, Vogels, Tancredi and Charge.
Three laps down and into turn four for the forth tour it all went wrong for Charge who rolled and had a big wreck that would also see Nicholas and Van Ginneken mixed up in it but luckily for the later two they would be able take the restart.
Under way again and Hickman was looking the goods with a comfortable gap back to the chasers of Reed, Vogels and Tancredi. Lock was holding down fifth place but Chris Solomon was on the move and was chasing Lock down. Now Paul Solomon who had come from the B Main was making good progress to make a pass on his brother Chris and then two laps later to take over fifth place from Lock.
Meanwhile up the front Hickman was still looking strong when a small mistake in turn two was very costly, he nearly spun the V40 that allowed Reed to get back up the inside of him. Hickman Settled down and was back in control of the race but now Vogels was stepping up the pace to start reeling in Reed. Back further in the pack Paul Solomon had caught Tancredi while they were going thru lapped traffic to take forth place from Tancredi.
Vogels was catching Reed heading into the final few laps, he saw his chance for a pass going into turn four only to make contact with Reed that would see Vogels spin to a stop and bring on the caution lights, Vogels did restart but pulled to the infield with slight damage.
It was now a dash to the chequred flag and Hickman was gone once again in clean air, Reed looked safe in second place but P Solomon had Tancredi on his case wanting third place which he managed to do on the race restart but when the twenty five lap journey was completed it was Rusty Hickman taking the Parr Motorsports Victorian 360 Title and his first State Title win from Matthew Reed and Michael Tancredi.
This event also doubled as round one of the Indy Race Parts 360 Crown Series so Rusty will take the top points in that Series as well.
Paul Solomon did a great job to take fourth place, his Brother Chris, home came in fifth, Tim Van Ginneken performed well to come back from the rear of the field and finish in sixth, rounding out the finishers was Phil lock, James Wren, Jesse Nicholas, James Aranyosi, Daniel Scott and Brett Milburn.
Heat winners on the night were V29 Michael Tancredi, V40 Rusty Hickman, V77 Brayden Parr and V74 Michael Cunningham.
Upcoming Indy Race Parts 360 Triple Crown Series race dates:
Round 2 - 6/4/2019 – Heartland Raceway Moama - 360 Sprintcar Challenge. (Presented by Lumbars Transport) Round 3 13/4/2019 - Avalon Raceway Lara – The Diggers Cup. (Presented by A Plus Powder Coating)
The SRA Indy Race Parts 360 Sprintcar Triple Crown Series Top 6: 1st Rusty Hickman – 437 2nd Michael Tancredi – 400 3rd Matthew Reed – 387 4th Phil Lock – 342 5th Paul Solomon – 327 6th Chris Solomon - 327
The Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria thank the following Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series and season sponsors: