To say that the 2018-19 season within the VSA Sprintcar class has been a successful one for SS Auto Wholesaler team drivers Shane Steenholdt and Mark Noonan would be quite the understatement.
While Steenholdt recently wrapped up the VSA Sprintcar Club Championship for the second season in a row, Noonan also had some of his own joy after picking up victory in the Victorian Title for the VSA Sprintcar class at Rosedale Speedway.
In what has been a solid season for Steenholdt, he secured the VSA Sprintcar Club Championship with one round to spare, which included four feature-race wins but the most impressive thing for him was his improvement as a driver.
“I’m really happy with how this season panned out, as I was making better decisions out on the track compared to past seasons as I’m maturing as a driver and that was reflected in my improved consistency with my results,” he enthused.
“The whole SS Auto Wholesaler team were fantastic throughout the season, and when you have a solid team behind you, it certainly makes all of the difference when you are trying to regularly run at the front of the field.”
Although Steenholdt’s Victorian Title campaign was brought to a crashing end in the final round of heat races, where he destroyed his car in a crash due to a component failure aboard his Vic # 5 SS Auto Wholesaler / Riviera Tyre Service supported Maxim car, there was still a reason to celebrate.
Despite only running a limited 2018-19 season schedule with the SS Auto Wholesaler team, due to interstate work commitments, Noonan made every post a winner to clinch the Victorian Title spoils.
With only three race meetings to his name this season, Noonan managed to be the standout driver during the qualifying heat races and therefore earned a pole position start for the Victorian Title decider. In that 30-lap event, he showed plenty of class by firstly getting to an early lead and then going on to hold onto it all the way through to the fall of the chequered flag.
“I had retired from racing back at the end of the 2011-12 season, but Shane brought me out of retirement three seasons ago, and it’s amazing that I’m now the Victorian Title holder,” expressed Noonan, who drives the Vic # 42 SS Auto Wholesaler / Riviera Tyre Service supported Maxim.
“Shane and the team provide me with a great car, and although I don’t race as often as I’d like, it’s a great feeling to know that I can turn up and be able to run at the front of the field and pull off a big win like this.
“Apart from Shane and the rest of the SS Auto Wholesaler team, I have to thank my good friend Jamie Kennett for all of his help on the night, as his experience as a crew chief both here in Australia and in America certainly played its part in my Victorian Title success.”
Noonan’s Victorian Title win adds to his previous success in the Limited Sportsman class, which includes a Victorian Title and three South Australian Titles. Stepping out of the class in 2006, Noonan moved into 360 Sprintcars, where his main highlight during that time being a top-five finish in the final 2011-12 season All Star Series point standings. Shortly after that, he stepped away from the competition side of things, before being brought out of retirement from Steenholdt three seasons ago.
With the VSC Sprintcar Club Championship and the Victorian Title to their names, the SS Auto Wholesale team certainly stamped their authority on the 2018-19 season.
Steenholdt and Noonan would like to thank the following 2018-19 season sponsors for their continued support: SS Auto Wholesaler, Riviera Tyre Service, Dwyer’s Motor Group, Riviera Panels, All Power Marine, Doyle & Shields Motorcycles, Nicholson Hotel, Earth and Soul Pizza – Bairnsdale, Tint-a-Car – Bairnsdale, Eastern Signs & Designs, KZS Auto Works, and Weldmarc Engineering.
Special thanks must go out to the team’s crew chief Marc Behan, Steenholdt’s wife Sheena and son Cade and daughter Zara, Noonan’s wife Sondra and their sons Koby, Zeke and Seth, and everyone else who comes to the track to support the team.