AJ Nash is the new WA 360 Sprintcar Champion after he claimed the 30-lap feature race at the Perth Motorplex on Saturday night, winning from former WA champion Mitchell Wormall and James Inglis.
It was Nash’s first sprintcar championship win on a night where everything clicked in the Colonial Motorsport #9 in what was the third round completed in the Make Smoking History 360 Sprintcar series.
Nash set quick time at the start of the show and then had a win and a fifth in the heat races, enough to put him on the outside of Ben Van Ryt on the front row for the final.
Wormall started from P4 while Inglis dug a little deeper, starting from P9.
Wormall, in the Wormall Motorsport #97 was the early leader but didn’t get to open up much an an advantage after Matthew Iwanow pulled up after damage to the front left of the #16.
Three laps into the event and there was another restart, this time after Liam Dowling had a spin in the first turns.
At about the same time, defending champion Kaiden Manders, who started from P3, was looking menacing and on lap seven he mounted a challenge on Wormall, only to see Wormall return service.
On the next lap, the field again regrouped after Daniel Hartigan was out of the contest, in pits bend.
As the pack tightened for the next restart, Manders pulled up on the back straight.
He fired up the car again and would have started from the back of the pack, but instead he headed infield.
On lap 17 Nash was starting to get into the game and was trading blows with Wormall at the front.
The duel was quelled somewhat when Brodie Minchin spun in turn one on lap 19 and on the restart Nash led away but Wormall was not done, mounting another challenge, but Nash then opened up a handy lead and went on to take the win by 2.9 seconds.
There was plenty of emotion for the Nash camp as the younger celebrated by performing donuts on the main straight and when he got out of the car, thumped the top wing with plenty of energy.
For Wormall there was disappointment written all over his face – he said afterwards it was an opportunity missed, but he still put in one heck of a drive.
Earlier in the night he took a third and a win in his heats while Inglis was second and fourth in hits heats and looked better the more the race went on.
He was locked into fourth until the latter stages when he was able to win the battle with Van Ryt, who held on for fourth.
Van Ryt only just missed out on his second podium appearance of the season, but did manage to pull off a spectacular slide job in the frantic final that saw battles on right throughout the order.
For fourth he received a $150 Shock Dyno voucher from Murphy Solutions, while Daniel Keen, who finished fifth, received a $150 Murphy Solutions Torsion Bar Dyno Award.
They were followed over the line by Ben Butcher, Sam Borlini, Michael Keen, Robert Watson, Dowling and Ray Leonard.
Paul Peet, who made up a heap of ground in the feature race until he shut down the motor on lap 23, received the HRP Specialties Hard Luck award.
Dowling, for finishing 10, received a right rear Hoosier Tyre from Racin Tyres and Accessories.
1st AJ Nash, 2nd Daniel Hartigan, 3rd Murray Iwanow, 4th Todd Davis, 5th Matthew Iwanow, 6th Liam Dowling, 7th Jamie Landrigan, 8th Rob Watson junior.
1st Ben Van Ryt, 2nd Kaiden Manders, 3rd Mitchell Wormall, 4th Sam Borllini, 5th Ray Leonard, 6th Brodie Minchi. DNF: Jacob Potts. DNS: Callem Sweetman.
1st Daniel Keen, 2nd James Inglis, 3rd Ben Butcher, 4th Michael Keen, 5th Tom Hooper, 6th Dean Kappler, 7th Paul Peet, 8th Vince Rosenthal.
1st Mitchell Wormall, 2nd Ben Van Ryt, 3rd Daniel Hartigan, 4th Ray Leonard, 5th Liam Dowling, 6th Jamie Landrigan, 7th Matthew Iwanow, 8th Brodie Minchin.
1st Tom Hooper, 2nd Sam Borlini, 3rd Kaiden Manders, 4th Ben Butcher, 5th Michael Keen, 6th Paul Peet. DNS: Callem Sweetman and Jacob Potts.
1st Todd Davis, 2nd Robert Watson junior, 3rd Murray Iwanow, 4th James Inglis, 5th AJ Nash, 6th Daniel Keen, 7th Dean Kappler, 8th Vince Rosentha.
1st AJ Nash, 2nd Mitchell Wormall, 3rd James Inglis, 4th Ben Van Ryt, 5th Daniel Keen, 6th Ben Butcher, 7th Sam Borlini, 8th Michael Keen, 9th Robert Watson junior, 10th Liam Dowling, 11th Ray Leonard. DNF: Paul Peet, Brodie Minchin, Tom Hooper, Murray Iwanow, Kaiden Manders, Jamie Landrigan, Vince Rosenthal, Daniel Hartigan, Todd Davis, Dean Kappler, Matthew Iwanow. DNS: Callem Sweetman and Jacob Potts.