McFadden secures Grand Annual Classic

Monday 23rd January, 2017 - 12:30am

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James McFadden produced the drive of his career to win the 45th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.

The Alice Springs raised racer, who drives for the Western Australian based Monte Motorsport but now lives near Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway, was speechless after the gritty win.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is those donuts at the end of Classic weekend,” McFadden said.

“This thing is not just a race, it’s history.”

It was a stellar night for locals as young Warrnambool racer Darren Mollenoyux had his greatest career moment with a second placed Classic finish.

Veteran Brooke Tatnell completed a popular podium.

Brad Sweet was the first American home in fourth, ahead of Kerry Madsen, Luke Dillon, Kyle Hirst, Ian Madsen, Steven Lines and David Murcott completing the top 10.

James McFadden beams after taking the Grand Annual Classic

Perhaps the biggest story of the night also belonged to a local, with defending Classic champion Jamie Veal sensationally failing to qualify for the 40-lap final.

A hard crash in his final heat left Veal unable to advance from the B-main, continuing his largely disappointing summer.

But the night belonged to his good friend McFadden, who had to survive three separate stoppages to take out the $30,000 winner’s prize.

The final caution of the night was a three-car incident between back markers which happened right in front of the Speedweek champion. Somehow McFadden slid at right angles to miss the mess which earned a standing ovation from the 12,000-strong crowd.

“I feared the worst, but we got away with that one,” McFadden admitted.

“It’s our grand final this weekend, so to tick it off is just unbelievable.”

The big events continue on Thursday (Australia Day) with the opening night of the Australian Sprintcar Titles at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway.