Sweet tastes first Aussie victory

AMERICAN Brad Sweet has reinforced his sprintcar credentials with victory in a drama-filled round three of World Series Sprintcars (WSS).

Sweet, 28, beat Shaun Dobson and Darren Mollenoyux to win the 35-lap feature at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway on Saturday night.

The win was a first on Australian soil for the Californian who will contest the 42nd Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway on January 24 to 26.

Driving the same car in which he won the Kings Royal in Eldora, Ohio in July, Sweet was sixth in time trials and ran fourth and sixth in his two heats.

He won the silver shootout before upstaging Luke Dillon, Brooke Tatnell and James McFadden in the gold shootout to earn pole position for the A main.

Sweet told the WSS website he appreciated the support of Broken Hill-based brothers Josh and Isaac Ruhs, who owned the US99 car.

“It certainly helps when you can drive a car that you’re used to,” he said. “And I can’t say enough about Josh and Isaac for giving me this opportunity.

“I came down here to Australia hoping to get a bit of an edge on some of my rivals back home for next year and I’m super happy I can start it off with a win here.”

Mollenoyux, of Warrnambool, said he was rapt he could complete the podium in his first WSS start for the summer.

The result came two days after he rolled his car at Avalon while vying for the lead in a Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria (SRA)series round.

“We came here just hoping to make the A main. So to wind up on the podium ahead of guys like Robbie Farr and Garry Brazier is more than we could have hoped for,” he said.

But there were a host of hard-luck stories involving some of the biggest names in Australian sprintcar racing.

Brooke Tatnell, James McFadden, Luke Dillon and Steven Lines — the top four on the WSS standings — were among six drivers who failed to finish for a variety of reasons.

The Mount Gambier drama came 24 hours after Tatnell won round two at Murray Bridge Speedway on Friday night.

Tatnell, driving for Krikke Motorsport, held off Lines and Dillon — who dropped from first to third with two laps to go — in a thrilling A main.

“This is one for the old guys,” he said. “Some people wrote us off before this championship even got started and I can tell you that’s not a very smart thing to do.”

Dillon leads the series with 822 points, ahead of Lines (810), Tatnell (788) and McFadden (708). The series heads to Avalon Raceway tonight before converging on Allansford’s Premier Speedway on New Year’s Day.

n Queenslander formula 500 driver Charlie Brown made the first statement of Speedweek with victory at Borderline Speedway on Saturday night.

Brown scored a win and a fourth in his two heat races to start off pole. He beat Andrew Priolo and James Aranyosi in the A main.

Round two was at Hamilton’s Western Speedway last night, with no result available when The Standard went to print.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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