Kerry Madsen won both nights of the 2017/2018 Scott Darley Challenge at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway, dominating every time he went out on the clay and in the process picking up a tasty $29,250 for his trouble.
The Australian Sprintcar Champion was challenged by 2016 Knoxville Nationals champion Jason Johnson late in the 38-lap Saturday night A-Main but was able to hold sway and “meet Maxy” on the podium for the win.
“Maxy” is nine-year old Max Freeman – the eldest nephew of Scott Darley – who hands out the hardware to the winner in the race that honours his late Uncle each year.
The Keneric Racing #A1 was often in his own post code throughout the weekend held in blisteringly hot conditions and in front of excellent crowds on both the preliminary and main night of competition.
Given the choice to take “the Scott Darley D19 challenge” (and thereby relinquish pole for a tenth row start with a possible $19k bonus) Madsen shrewdly turned down the offer and began from his rightful starting spot alongside Schuchart on the front row.
Upon reflection after the race Kerry confirmed that he’d done the right thing.
“Looking back on it I just don’t think we could have made our way through from back there tonight. We’ve tried it before and even though it hasn’t worked for us I still do love coming from the rear at this place. Honestly though I think we did the right thing staying on pole.”
Madsen scored $10k for the Preliminary main event win, $250 for the KRGS “Door to Pole” Dash event and a further $19k for the Saturday A-Main.
The revamped format kept teams and fans guessing and often threw major curve balls at victory contenders.
Some of the racing on the Saturday night in particular when last gasp spots were on the line for the A-Main transfer was sublime.
Madsen sped across the line to head some fierce battles behind him between Johnson in second, Robbie Farr in third, Sam Walsh in fourth and Pennsylvanian Logan Schuchart rounding out the top five.
Schuchart had hurt his motor the night before and car owner John Weatherall was forced to lease a replacement for the Saturday night’s proceedings – a move that Schuchart rewarded by putting the Motorguard Triple X on the front row.
Jason Johnson, Robbie Farr, Sam Walsh and Schuchart in particular, together with James McFadden at one point, were engaged in a dogfight that would have made Schuchart’s great grandfather Joe Allen (who flew P40’s in World War 2) proud.
McFadden really got the #17 rocking until he slipped over the cushion in turn four whilst attempting a critical outside pass on Schuchart and looped in front of the hapless Carson Macedo and Matt Dumesny.
Macedo flipped hard and McFadden was quick to both accept responsibility and apologise publicly to both the Californian and Dumesny.
The other high profile exit from the race happened inside the first few laps when Jamie Veal flipped the TEH / Pumpa KMS entry after contact with Californian Domenic Scelzi going into turn one.
Scelzi was forced to check up when Shaun Dobson came back from over the lip of the track on the main straight which crowded the ‘three into one’ situation and Veal was the unfortunate victim.
The Scott Darley Challenge saw 60 total entries with the 24-car A-Main field broken down into:
USA 4 NSW 11 VIC 3 SA 2 TAS 1 NT 3
*It’s interesting when you break down the Driver’s ORIGIN and the State that the car is from also:
Kerry Madsen: NSW driver, WA Team Jason Johnson: USA driver, WA Team Robbie Farr: NSW driver, QLD Team Sam Walsh: NSW driver, NSW Team Logan Schuchart: USA driver, QLD Team Ian Madsen: NSW Driver, NSW Team Troy Little: NSW Driver, NSW Team Brooke Tatnell: NSW Driver, SA Team Shaun Dobson: TAS Driver, TAS Team Jordyn Brazier: NSW Driver, NSW Team Dominic Scelzi: USA Driver, WA Team Marcus Dumesny: NSW Driver, NSW Team Warren Ferguson: NSW Driver, NSW Team Ben Atkinson: NT driver, NT team Steven Lines: SA driver, QLD Team Andrew Wright: NSW driver, NSW Team Matt Dumesny: NSW Driver, NSW Team Max Dumesny: VIC Driver, NSW Team Danny Reidy: NT Driver (QLD based) NT (QLD/NSW based) team David Murcott: VIC Driver, QLD Team Jake Tranter: SA Driver, SA Team Carson Macedo: USA driver, NSW Team James McFadden: NT Driver, WA Team Jamie Veal: VIC Driver, WA Team
There were several drivers who improved their position significantly throughout the main event.
Ian Madsen came from 14th to 6th. Brooke Tatnell came from 16th to 8th. Jordan Brazier came from 18th to 10th Warren Ferguson came from 22nd to 13th Marcus Dumesny came from 20th to 12th
Scott Darley Challenge A-Main results:
1. Kerry Madsen started 1st 2. Jason Johnson started 3rd 3. Robbie Farr started 4th 4. Sam Walsh started 5th 5. Logan Schuchart started 2nd 6. Ian Madsen started 16th 7. Troy Little started 11th 8. Brooke Tatnell started 16th 9. Shaun Dobson started 8th 10. Jordyn Brazier started 18th 11. Dominic Scelzi started 10th 12. Marcus Dumesny started 20th 13. Warren Ferguson started 22nd 14. Ben Atkinson started 15th 15. Steven Lines started 13th 16. Andrew Wright started 23rd 17. Matt Dumesny started 7th 18. Max Dumesny started 17th 19. Danny Reidy started 21st 20. David Murcott started 19th 21. Jake Tranter DNF started 24th 22. Carson Macedo DNF started 12th 23. James McFadden DNF started 6th 24. Jamie Veal DNF started 11th B-Main result for Scott Darley Challenge:
1. Danny Reidy 2. Warren Ferguson 3. Andrew Wright 4. Jake Tranter (final A-Main transfer) 5. Callum Williamson 6. Daniel Sayre 7. James Thompson 8. Jessie Attard 9. Alex Orr 10. Grant Anderson 11. Mitch Wormall 12. Braydan Willmington 13. Daniel Cassidy 14. Jess Cassidy 15. Buddy Kofoid 16. Geoff Ensign 17. Chris McInerney 18. Paul Freeman 19. James Duckworth 20. Dean Brindle DNF 21. Dean Thomas DNF 22. Jackson Delamont DNF 23. Thomas Jeffery DNF 24. Jack Lee DNF
C-Main result for Scott Darley Challenge
1. Alex Orr 2. Dean Brindle 3. Daniel Cassidy 4. Paul Freeman 5. Shane Sheedy 6. Luke Stirton 7. Mark Attard 8. Blake Darcy 9. Peter Gordon 10. Dylan Menz 11. Steve Rowell 12. Kaitlyn Anthony 13. Chris Street 14. Kristy Bonsey 15. Peter O’Neill 16. Courtney O’hehir 17. Kris Jennings 18. Mike Walsh 19. Jeff Lawler 20. Mick Matchett 21. Matt Geering DNF 22. Guy Stanshall DNF 23. Karl Hoffmans DNF
The Street Stocks played a successful role as support category and survived slippery conditions in their early laps of their marathon 20-lap A-Main before Dungog’s big man with the beard game strong Brendan Wakeman ran away with the victory.
“Wako” in the Days of Thunder Cole Trickle tribute colours Holden Commodore battled for much of the race with Troy Dawes in the iconic “Where’s Wally” Commodore in second place with Stevie Walsh rounding out the General Motors trifecta.
The next event on the Valvoline Raceway is next Saturday’s January 20th NSW Wingless Sprint Championship and Late Model Sedans, Street Stocks and AMCA Nationals.