COREY McCullagh's Saturday night encapsulated the highs and lows of racing.
The Warrnambool ace blamed driver error for his early SRA Series' grand final A-Main exit but was soon celebrating after winning the Victorian-based competition's overall honours.
Number crunching was required in the Premier Speedway pits as McCullagh and his crew tried to work out if he'd done enough to earn the $10,000 bonus.
Fellow drivers had the 2018 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic champion on top and came over to congratulate him before he was officially crowned series champion.
McCullagh finished with 3159 points - 54 clear of runner-up Bobby Daly and 55 ahead of third place-getter Brayden Parr.
Werribee's Charles Hunter, who held a 26-point buffer entering the final round, finished fourth after a heat crash dashed his chances.
McCullagh said he was happy to win for Indy Race Parts - the team the Victorian 90 driver represented during the series.
"It feels pretty cool. We were lucky to get it done, you'd hate to lose it by 10 or something points," he said.
"We were trying to count the points in our heads and on the phones.
"Thankfully I had a pretty good start to the night, quick time in my heat and then came from 10th to fourth in my second heat so that helped us."
McCullagh bowed out early in the 30-lap A-Main, which went to Warrnambool's Darren Mollenoyux from fellow Warrnambool competitor Jamie Veal and Albury's Grant Anderson.
"The first start we got a really good start on the bottom (of the track) and then we tried to do the same (on the re-start) and I hit the tractor tyre," he said.
McCullagh said he felt for Hunter, one of his friends, who was defying his low-budget status to be a contender.
"Unfortunately for Charles he had a night to forget. He pretty much had a night we had last week," he said.
"You've got to feel for those guys but they'll come back next year stronger and try and fight for another championship."
Mollenoyux, who started on pole, said his victory was a confidence-booster ahead of a stint racing in America.
"We've been pretty quick here all year but to get one in the books (is good)," he said.
Mollenoyux is unsure if he will race again this Australian season or throw all of his energy into his first US trip in four years.
"We're going to pack our equipment up and head to America to do Ohio and PA Speedweek, so we might assess it and if we have enough bits still lying around we might run back here on Easter Sunday but we'll have to have a look at that," he said.
Meanwhile, Allansford's Tim Van Ginneken, who has also raced 410 sprintcars and formual 500s this season, came second in the Australian 360 title in Kalgoorlie.
He started on pole but Western Australian Kaiden Manders edged him out in the A-Main.
Only nine of the 19 starters finished the finale.
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