MURRAY BRIDGE, Australia – South Australian Luke Dillon held off American Kerry Madsen to win Thursday’s opening preliminary for the Queensland Speedway Spares World Series Sprint Cars at Murray Bridge Speedway.
Dillon qualified second to Tasmanian teenager Jock Goodyer, who claimed the Revolution Race Gear Quick Time Award in his debut as a World Series contracted driver.
However, Goodyer’s impressive introduction came to a halt when he collided with Lisa Walker on the second lap of the first heat, destroying his chassis and forcing his retirement from the night.
Dillon was a conservative fifth and fourth in his heats, but it was enough to place him on the pole for the 25-lap preliminary feature alongside Californian Cory Eliason.
Dillon was untouchable at first, but Eliason tried every angle to unseat him as Kerry Madsen and Matt Egel lurked close behind, all attempting lunges at the lead at both ends of the race track in the early stages.
The first casualty of the race was Dave Murcott, who battled from the third row before riding the turn three wall on lap four, catapulting the No. V88 into a cartwheeling flip in turn four.
Nine laps later, Matt Egel had wrestled the lead from Dillon before clouting the turn four wall and riding up into the frontstretch catchfence in the Downing Brothers-owned No. S97.
The pairing of James McFadden and Brooke Tatnell shared the fourth row from the start, and while McFadden lost multiple positions in the opening five laps, Tatnell advanced two spots by lap 15 before cutting a right rear tire and retiring.
Ultimately, Dillon proved unbeatable in the National Karate/Action Linemarking No. S81 and claimed an emphatic win in front of his home crowd, just ahead of Madsen and Eliason.
“This means so much more to us than just a preliminary A-Main win,” said Dillon. “This is great for our confidence and good for me to get a win after a dry spell, especially when you look at the caliber of the guys we beat. But the reality is that this is mainly about getting a good points haul for tomorrow night for the main race, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Nick Hall took the companion Wingless V6 Sprint Car feature win.
1. S81-Luke Dillon; 2. W2-Kerry Madsen; 3. W26-Cory Eliason; 4. V40-Rusty Hickman; 5. Q83-Steven Lines; 6. W17-James McFadden; 7. T62-Tate Frost; 8. S15-Aidan Hall; 9. S45-Jake Tranter; 10. 5W-Lucas Wolfe; 11. S2-Craig Vanderstelt; 12. S13-Brock Hallett; 13. S10-Steven Caruso; 14. V55-Brooke Tatnell; 15. S97-Matt Egel; 16. S33-Mark Caruso; 17. W60-Lachlan McHugh; 18. V88-Dave Murcott.