Hallett Wins Thrilling 50th Classic

Posted by Michael
Posted on 2 Feb, 2023

Brock Hallett executed a gutsy last corner pass to narrowly win a breathtaking 50th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic sponsored by South West Conveyancing.

The Portland-based driver grabbed World of Outlaws regular Sheldon Haudenschild on the final turn and in a drag-race to the finish line pipped the star American with defending Classic champion Lachie McHugh of the Gold Coast third.

Hallett from grid position five and Haudenschild from two, swapped the lead throughout the 40-lap finale and his bold move was enough to take the double chequered flags and the $50,000 winner’s prizemoney.

Before breaking into the customary Classic celebratory donuts on the infield, Hallett drew standing applause from the 8000 strong crowd. He becomes the 28th different winner and seventh consecutive Australian driver to win the world-famous Sprintcar race first held in 1973.

The pair’s last lap heroics drew comparisons to Garry Rush’s efforts in 1990 against race-long leader Max Dumesny, when Rush pulled a similar move to snatch the win. Both Rush and Dumesny were trackside to watch the race along with 10 other past Classic winners.

“Once Sheldon got past me, I thought that it might be over,” Hallett said.

“It was then I thought oh well, I might be over. I’ll be happy to run second to one of the best in the world. I’m not really sure what happened then as I somehow found something.

“I missed the bottom. Again, I’m not sure what was going on, but I knew I also had to be a fair bit patient and well, here I am…somehow, we’ve all combined to win the Classic.

“This is such a big moment for myself and my team and my great car-owners Graeme and Wendy Erhart. They’ve stuck by me and I hope I might of at least paid them back tonight in some way.”

Haundenschild in a Rider-powered Maxim driving for Jack Lee Racing, was aiming to become the first American driver to win the Classic since Kyle Hirst did in 2015 for Monte Motorsport.

“I’m disappointed for sure. I knew Brock wouldn’t give up when I was leading, and he came back harder. It would’ve been cool to do for all my team but I’m still glad to be here on the podium in such a big race in the world. We’ll be back and try again,” Haudenschild said

McHugh the 2022 winner said it was a hard race this year compared to when he won.

“There was so much going on out there,” McHugh said.

“I was happy with my drive. This is the toughest race to win in Australia, the field here this weekend proves that. I’ll be back again as at least we got on the podium so, we’re not that far off things.”

Final placings: 1. Brock Hallett, 2. Sheldon Haudenschild, 3. Lochie McHugh, 4. Jock Goodyer, 5. James McFadden, 6. Tate Frost, 7. Cory Eliason (USA), 8. Kerry Madsen, 9. Aaron Reutzel (USA), 10. Jamie Veal, 11. Carson Macedo (USA), 12. Brad Sweet (USA), 13. Marcus Dumesny, 14. Ian Madsen, 15. Tyler Courtney, 16. Brock Zearfoss, 17. Matt Egel, 18. Jack Lee, 19. Steve Lines, 20. Ryan Jones, 21. Corey McCullagh, 22. Cole Macedo, 23. Cameron Waters, 24. Chase Randall (USA), Luke Oldfield (1st emerg), 26. Randy Morgan (2nd emerg).

American Aaron Reutzel was one of one of the nine Americans to start in the A-Main and drove brilliantly in the Saller Motorsport car from position 22 to finish ninth and won the Hard Charger Award sponsored by Inspirations Paint. He would also win the Best Placed Rookie award sponsored by Full Throttle Publishing.

Fellow USA driver Brock Zearfoss in the sublime Sean Carren-owned Maxim won Best Presented Car and Crew sponsored by R&M Security Service. The popular David Donegan in his dedication car to Brett Lacey from 1986 won the Best Throwback award also sponsored by R&M Security.

The Ian Sheppard Memorial was won by James McFadden and the Thomo’s Race Graphix Hard Luck Award went to Grant Anderson.

Prior to the Classic final past Classic champions were driven around Sungold Stadium Premier Speedway much to the delight of fans in immaculate utes kindly provided by Warrnambool Isuzu.

Earlier in the compacted day that was carried into Sunday afternoon when rain washed out the previous night’s racing McFadden won the Night Two 30-lap A-Main from Haudenschild, Ian Madsen third and Veal fourth.

Fans can look forward to 2024 when the 51st Classic will be held from January 19-21 which will be quickly followed by the Australian Sprintcar Championship on January 26 and 27, 2024.