American superstar Davey Ray produced a dominant display to win the Magic Man 34 Speedcar tribute race at the Perth Motorplex on Tuesday night.
The event, which was washed out on Saturday, honours the life of renowned Australian speedway racer, Michael Figliomeni, who passed away unexpectedly whilst at the Motorplex’s opening event in 2006.
Ray won his fourth ‘Magic Man’ from fellow American, Steve Buckwalter with local favourites Scott Glazebrook and Paul Robinson taking the minor placings.
The pint-sized professional started from the front row and survived a series of challenges and the carnage unfolding behind him to win the 34-lap event – the same number Figliomeni famously ran on his cars.
“That’s what this race is all about,” Ray – one of three Americans in Perth for the midget event – said on the podium.
“We are happy to be here and I certainly want to thank everyone associated with this race team.”
Ray won both of his heat races, coming from deep in the pack to win one and admitted after one of the wins that he would love to live in Perth, striking up strong relationships with many people on the west coast.
There was little time for celebration however as he was due to be back in Phoenix for USAC commitments on Thursday.
Buckwalter, who started from position seven, started strongly but then dropped back before bouncing back at the business end for a well-deserved second.
“I thought I might have had something (early on) but I changed my line and got up high,” Buckwalter said.
“We finished second and that’s where we belong – the car was fast.”
Glazebrook, who started from 12th charged through late and his strong finish was a good recovery after being caught up in other people’s incidents early on in the night.
“That was flat out from the word go,” Glazebrook said.
“I started midpack and had my arms up from the get-go. I would really like to thank the Figliomeni family for putting the race on every year.”
Robinson probably wasn’t expecting to finish so well, saying the car wasn’t running well early on after starting in eight, so he opted for the bottom line which proved to be the right choice later on.
“As much as this is a fantastic race I would much rather be racing against him (referring to Figliomeni).”
The only other cars to finish the race were Vaughan Manders, Glen Mears, Travis White and Rob Golding.
Former race winner Dene McAllan was the first casualty, belting the back straight all on his own.
American Casey Schuman withdrew from the war with power steering and brake problems, while on the next restart Daryl Clayden hooked a rut in turn two and flipped.
The casualty count kept climbing including David Perry who hit the fence in turn three, Dayne Kingshott who bounced off a run in pits bend and Bryn Lake who was running up the front crashed out late into the contest.
Lance was also a chance of a podium finish until he went too high in pits bend and flipped.