DAMAGE to a “five dollar” car part has derailed Corey McCullagh’s Speedweek aspirations, with the Warrnambool driver set to push his resources to a bid for classic success.
McCullagh bowed out at Premier Speedway on Monday night when his car’s front wing collapsed entering the first turn in the opening lap of qualifying.
The former Brauer College student almost lost control of his car, narrowly avoiding a collision with the outer wall.
McCullagh said he was frustrated to fall short in qualifying but immediately turned his focus to the South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
“It’s very disappointing – we’ve put a lot of hard work into this,” McCullagh told The Standard.
“In the scheme of things, I’m still pretty lucky to do what I do. It was literally a five-dollar part which was caused the issue.
“Because the points system is pretty brutal (in Speedweek), we were behind the eight ball already.”
McCullagh revealed a starting berth in the classic had been a childhood dream and said his team was determined to prepare his car for the international event.
“We’ve been knocking on the door of the A-main the last few years and this year, that’s our goal. It’s a pretty good goal to have,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with where we’re at right now. We’ve had great qualifying speed and and the classic is similar to this in that it’s crucial on points.
“It’s our absolute focus from now on in.”
South-west duo Peter Doukas and Jye O’Keeffe said they were honoured to be driving against elite company.
Mailors Flat-based Doukas said the New Year’s Day round was the perfect chance to tune up for the three-night classic later this month.
“It is good preparation, especially running against these guys and they’re probably a bit better competition than we’re used to,” he said from the pits following qualifying.
“Some of these guys are racing all the time and it’s their job so racing against them definitely makes you better.”
Doukas said he was pleased with how his small-budget team was challenging the best.
“We’ve made every A-Main bar one for the season so I am pretty happy with that,” he said.
“Hopefully we can start finishing a bit higher up.”
O’Keeffe, who has returned from a serious back injury, echoed Doukas’ thoughts, saying he was grateful to race against high calibre opponents.
“We’re racing against the best in Australia so we’re just doing it for the experience really,” he said.
“We’re not quite at their level but to get there you’ve got to race them so that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”