A GRAND Annual Sprintcar Classic surprise packet who competes in a dozen meetings a year says his top-10 finish in the famous race proves he can match it with the nation’s best.
Timboon driver Luke Walker did his family-owned team proud, mixing it with the big budget teams in Sunday’s finale at Premier Speedway.
He started the 40-lap 24-car A-Main in fifth position, eventually finishing seventh.
Australian legend Robbie Farr ticked off a bucket list item with victory and past Classic winners Jamie Veal, Kerry Madsen, Brooke Tatnell and James McFadden followed him home with Grant Anderson coming in sixth.
Those drivers race between 60-70 shows in Australia and America each year.
“It was quite exciting, they are all professional drivers, that’s what they do, they race sprintcars,” Walker reflected from his Engineer It workshop on Monday.
“They've got years’ more experience than me so it was definitely quite an eye-opener really.
“We struggled after each of the re-starts with the tyres going down, I think with their experience they were a little bit better at managing that.
“That’s where I lost the spots and once we got up to speed after a couple of laps we were not really any slower than them.”
Walker, who claimed third in Friday’s preliminary A-Main, said finishing seventh in the Classic finale was a career highpoint.
“We had some pretty good company there in the final and to come away with a top-10 at the Classic is a very good effort for our team I think,” he said.
“It was pretty exciting, being one of the last ones to get presented (to the crowd) meant I was starting up the front and that was definitely a good feeling.
“We made the final last year and didn’t finish due to motor issues so I wanted to try and finish this year.”
Walker, 23, said his budget paled in comparison to some other drivers in the field.
But he backed his hard-working crew, including parents Shirley and Bevan, to give him the best chance.
“It is far from a new chassis that one, it’s been repaired a few times and we bought it second-hand,” he said.
“Everything went right really. With them bigger races we put new tyres on and I think that makes a difference.”
The emerging driver, who runs his own engineering design business, praised the three-day event’s format, saying it gave everyone a second chance.
“I really like the Classic because I like the points system. Time trial is not 100 per cent critical,” he said.
“You can make up for a bad time trial through your heats.
“If you can move forward in all your heats a couple of spots that’s all you really need to do.
“That’s where people come unstuck, as soon as you have a DNF that puts you a long way behind.”
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