KAIDEN Manders broke through for his maiden feature race win in the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series – by claiming round two of USA v WA Sprintcar Speedweek at Collie Speedway on Thursday night.
Manders took full advantage of a front-row start and led from start to finish, never being seriously challenged over the full 30-lap journey.
The win is reward for the young driver who has been close to the top step a number of times but has fallen short.
It is also a confidence booster for the team that has always produced solid results in 360 sprintcar racing but not transferred those results across to the 410 class.
It is also on the back of a strong run through the pack to finish fifth in the first round of Speedweek at the Perth Motorplex a night earlier.
Manders crossed the line 2.5 seconds ahead of Brad Maiolo, the winner of the previous round.
Maiolo started from the second row and muscled into second spot early on – a position he held onto for the rest of the race.
Prior to the race meeting Ben Ellement said he liked the Collie track and it showed – taking third in a solid performance in the #53 after starting from P5.
He moved up one spot in the first few laps and then settled into third by mid-race distance.
Mark Dobmeier was the first of the Americans home, finishing fourth after starting from P7.
He was locked in a gruel duel with fellow American driver Parker Price-Miller who finished fifth after starting from P4.
Jason Kendrick started from pole position but struggled from the start and had to settle for sixth.
Jamie Maiolo was seventh (started P6), ahead of Taylor Milling who moved forward four places in a workmanlike effort.
This is on the back of Milling’s eighth in the previous round.
Andrew Priolo, who endured a big crash the night before at the Perth Motorplex, returned in a rebuilt car to take ninth after starting from 12th.
Daniel Hartigan rounded out the top 10 in his debut race in the series and showed he is up for the challenge when given opportunities in the open class, having enjoyed success in Limited and 360 sprintcar racing this season.
He also took a solid win in an earlier heat race.
Tom Payet was out of the race on lap 18 while the third American, Harli White, continued her struggle with mechanical issues in her car and withdrew on lap 17.
It’s been a tough couple of nights for White who has shown plenty of speed in the car when she has been able to turn some laps.
Kye Scroop was out on lap 10 and Jamie Oldfield was a non-starter in the main event.
Jason Kendrick claimed the Victory 1 Performance Quick Time with a 14.128-second lap, holding off Brad Maiolo’s 14.150 and Price-Miller’s 14.223.
He then took the first heat race from Price-Miller and Dobmeier, with heat two going to Brad Maiolo from Manders and Ellement.
Hartigan was all class in the third heat, winning from Jamie Maiolo and Payet, while the final qualifier went to Ellement from Dobmeier and Manders.
The event was also round six of the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series where Hartigan and Ellement played their Joker cards to double their feature race points for the night in the season-long battle.
Each driver can play their Joker once up until January 12 – and must declare it at the start of the meeting.
Round 3 of Speedweek returns to the Perth Motorplex on Saturday night.
Brad Maiolo 296,
Kaiden Manders 290,
Parker Price-Miller 286,
Jamie Maiolo 280,
Jason Kendrick 280,
Mark Dobmeier 270,
Ben Ellement 268,
Taylor Milling 268,
Andrew Priolo 258,
Tom Payet 250,
Jamie Oldfield 188,
Harli White 176,
Ben Dickson 136,
AJ Nash 132,
Sean Zemunik 130,
Daniel Hartigan 130,
Kye Scroop 124.