Californian Tim Kaeding is vowing to defend his Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic crown with Sunday night’s win likely to be remembered for his post-race roll than his on-track feat.
Kaeding produced the most outrageous victory celebration after triumphing at Allansford’s Premier Speedway over three-time winner Max Dumesny and Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal.
Kaeding did two race-pace victory laps before launching into a series of doughnuts, culminating in a spectacular flip in the main straight just past the start-finish line. It brought an enormous roar from the 8500-strong crowd.
He leapt from the overturned car, threw his helmet on the track and jumped on top of the crumpled wing. He then attempted to ram the chequered flag into the top of the wing, earning more cheers.
Never has a driver celebrated like Kaeding after a Classic triumph.
The 35-year-old struggled to speak after the wild celebrations.
“I’m still dizzy,” he said.
“I have to thank Sean Dyson and everyone with Dyson Motorsport.
“I think I am going to pass out.
“It’s a great way to start 2014.”
He said his celebrations were all part of the show for fans.
“That was part of the deal.
“If I won this thing I was told to do whatever I wanted. Unbelievable. I’m still out of words. I’m still trying to catch my breath. I’m so dizzy.
“This is just unbelievable, this is the Knoxville Nationals of Australia and we have just won it.”
Kaeding became the first American winner of the Classic since Shane Stewart in 2010 and just the second in the past 10 years.
He said after four attempts to win the Classic, he wanted more.
“This will be one of the races I keep coming back to,” he said.
Veal, who started on pole, sprinted to the lead and opened a handy break on Kaeding, who started from his outside, until they hit lapped traffic on lap four.
Veal went high through turns three and four and crossing the start-finish line on lap six he was baulked by a slower car and Kaeding surged to the front.
He was never headed after that.
Two laps later Dumesny slid under Veal.
Kaeding, who was fourth in the Classic last year, said he just wanted to stay out of trouble.
“I tippy-toed around the bottom.” He thanked his team and hoped his celebrations made up for ruining Australia Day.
“The fans loved the doughnuts,” he smiled.
The race looked like it would go without incident but with nine laps remaining American star Donny Schatz rode Robbie Farr’s right rear tyre near the pit gate and rode out a wild roll.
With 10 laps to run from the re-start, Kaeding said his plan was simple.
“I just tried to keep my cool and keep my composure and do everything the team told me to do.”
Dumesny was at his best across the weekend and said he had given the chase everything in pursuit of a fourth Classic.
“It (my career) is not over yet,” he smiled.
“It was very one-lane and frustrating but you can’t always have it the way you want.
“It’s a pretty good result. I’m happy to be on the podium up there with TK. He’s a pretty good operator.
“I’m quite happy to have gotten past Jamie. He’s been on fire all weekend.
“I feel pretty good about it. Everyone thinks I’ve retired because I’ve stopped running World Series but that’s certainly not the case.”
Veal was deflated to finish third after his great weekend.
“I’m just disappointed we got such a one-lane track for the final,” he said.
“I’m disappointed I couldn’t get back (close enough) to have a go. We were decent but it was the way the track was.”
Veal said he was pleased to be on the podium for the first time in his career at the Classic but given the way his car had been running across the weekend, he felt he had missed an opportunity.