LOCAL driver Brad Maiolo showed his rivals, including the international drivers, the quickest way around the track when he claimed round one of the USA v WA Sprintcar Speedweek at the Perth Motorplex on Wednesday night.
Maiolo won the feature race from American Parker Price-Miller and older brother Jamie Maiolo after the race was declared on lap 22 – eight laps short of the scheduled distance – after AJ Nash endured a massive crash on the back straight that saw him slam into the exit gate hard, destroying the gate.
AJ was able to walk to the ambulance on his own but required medical treatment after the big crash.
It was a night of drama that saw the two other Americans in the field – Mark Dobmeier and Harli White struggle with mechanical issues.
White had power steering issues early and then after getting into a bit of groove in her second heat race, had electrical issues which preventing the car from firing for the feature race.
Dobmeier looked racy early but switched the engine off in the second round of heats, seeing the team replace the engine and the rear-end before the feature race.
He started the feature race from P13 and had powered up to fourth before a bleeder valve fell out, deflating the left rear tyre on one of the restarts.
Jason Kendrick was again the quickest in the Victory 1 Performance Quick Time session with a best lap of 14.033, edging out Price-Miller’s 14.244 and Andrew Priolo’s 14.385.
Kendrick then went on to win the first heat race from Jamie Maiolo and Ben Ellement, with heat two going the way of Brad Maiolo from Price-Miller and Dobmeier.
Heat three went to Taylor Milling who led from the front to cross the line ahead of Jamie Oldfield and Priolo and the fourth heat went to Ellement from Jamie and Brad Maiolo.
The feature race was only a couple of laps in when Ellement and Tom Payet were both out – Ellement with a collapsed top wing and Payet after clipping the fence.
The race then went to lap 11 before Sean Zemunik spun, forcing the field to bunch up, just as the Price-Miller and Dobmeier were on the back of second-placed Kendrick.
Moments later the red lights came on when Andrew Priolo crashed hard in pits bend – ending his night with a lot of damage to the immaculately-prepared #10.
It was just after this that Dobmeier also headed infield with a flat left rear tyre.
The race then went to lap 22 before Nash ploughed into the safety fence so hard that it broke the exit gate, seeing the rest of the race, and the following late model feature race being abandoned.
Kendrick, who started on the front row, held on for fourth from Kaiden Manders who was one of the biggest movers, starting from P15 and moving up to fifth.
It was a great recovery for the J&S Drilling team that was forced to change an engine after they failed to get a qualifying time at the start of the show and had to start rear of field all night.
Oldfield, who started from P6, finished sixth, while Ben Dickson started P12 and finished seventh and Milling started P14 and finished eighth.
The Boxing Day meeting was also round 6 of the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series – with the next round of the series – and the USA v WA Sprintcar Speedweek – at Collie Speedway – on Wednesday, December 27.
Qualifying: Jason Kendrick 14.033, Parker Price-Miller 14.244, Andrew Priolo 14.385, Brad Maiolo 14.432, Jamie Maiolo 14.452, Jamie Oldfield 14.502, Tom Payet 14.264, Mark Dobmeier 14.833, Ben Ellement 14.866, AJ Nash 14.977, Taylor Milling 15.069, Sean Zemunik 15.237, Harli White 15.511, Ben Dickson 15.764, Kaiden Manders NTT.
Heat 1: 1st Jason Kendrick, 2nd Jamie Maiolo, 3rd Ben Ellement, 4th Kaiden Manders, 5th Taylor Milling, 6th Tom Payet, 7th Andrew Priolo. DNF: Harli White.
Heat 2: 1st Brad Maiolo, 2nd Parker Price-Miller, 3rd Mark Dobmeier, 4th Jamie Oldfield, 5th AJ Nash, 6th Ben Dickson, 7th Sean Zemunik.
Heat 3: 1st Taylor Milling, 2nd Jamie Oldfield, 3rd Andrew Priolo, 4th Parker Price-Miller, 5th Kaiden Manders, 6th Tom Payet, 7th AJ Nash, 8th Ben Dickson.
Heat 4: 1st Ben Ellement, 2nd Jamie Maiolo, 3rd Brad Maiolo, 4th Harli White, 5th Jason Kendrick, 6th Sean Zemunik. DNF: Mark Dobmeier.
Feature: 1st Brad Maiolo, 2nd Parker Price-Miller, 3rd Jamie Maiolo, 4th Jason Kendrick, 5th Kaiden Manders, 6th Jamie Oldfield, 7th Ben Dickson, 8th Taylor Milling. DNF: AJ Nash, Sean Zemunik, Mark Dobmeier, Andrew Priolo, Ben Ellement, Tom Payet. DNS: Harli White.
Picture courtesy: Bailey O’Dea