Sydney-sider Ian Loudoun took a stunning underdog victory at the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in Warrnambool – without doubt the biggest of his career – holding off a spirited late race charge from Night 1 winner Craig Dollansky for the $40,000 winner's cheque.
The unassuming racer was a popular winner of the 40th Classic, but he had to work hard for it. Starting on the outside of the front row with American World of Outlaws superstar, Dollansky, alongside, the 27-year-old quickly took the ascendency and from there was never headed.
He had to hold out a strong charge from the American with eight laps remaining and despite a high line run, diverted to the lowline once traffic came into play.
Meantime the battle for third was in itself a massive one. American, Daryn Pittman was the early third placed man, before Kerry Madsen's machine came on strong and he got past Pittman for the final podium position mid-race. Try as he might, Madsen was unable to catch Dollansky in second position and had to settle for a podium.
Another of the 14 Americans that made up the Classic field – Kyle Larson – ended his evening on the in-field after tagging the wall. Another to not finish the main was current World Series Sprintcars leader, James McFadden. McFadden had a fuel line come adrift which resulted in a fire in his Totally Workwear #25.
Meantime, Albury racer, Grant Anderson charged his way forward from 19th on the grid to finish fourth in the run of the race, getting past Pittman in the closing stages. Robbie Farr, Brooke Tatnell, Shane Stewart, Ian Madsen and Trevor Green rounded out the top 10 in the 40th running of The Classic.
After the win, Loudoun dedicated it and the $40,000 cheque to his parents, Denis and Leslie – who, in an unusual turn of events – weren't on hand for their boy's biggest moment.
“This is for mum and dad who aren't here tonight, this is nine years we've been racing Sprintcars and they are the ones who got me here,” the man known as ‘Wazza' said after the race. “We made the right adjustments and I just drove 11 tenths to make it happen. They (track curators) brought the track back from nowhere tonight and it was great. I'm elated, this is what we came down here for and I can't be happier. It might not be showing yet, I'm not the most emotional person but it will sink in!”
It leaves the 27-year-old brimming with confidence ahead of the 50th Australian Sprintcar Championship that will be held this weekend at Adelaide's Speedway City, with this coming Wednesday night seeing a Prelude to the Title being held at the South Australian venue.