Local driver Ian Madsen dug deep to outclass the world's best Sprintcar racer Donny Schatz at Sydney's Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway this evening.
Madsen claimed victory in the $10,000 to win Hogs Breath Café International ahead of Schatz and Marty Perovich in one of the best races seen at the venue for some time.
For the majority of the 30-lap journey Madsen, Schatz and Australian Champion Garry Brazier were engaged in a titanic battle for the top three spots.
Schatz found his way to the front at half race distance and the majority of the large crowd expected that he would run away to dominate the race, however, it wasn't to be.
Madsen fought back on a restart with ten laps to go looked to pass Schatz for the lead on the inside through turn one before making it stick with a ‘slide job' in turn three and four.
Brazier also moved past Schatz on the next lap before overtaking Madsen for the lead with six laps to go. Brazier's race came to a premature end with a handful of laps remaining when he ran wide exiting turn two and spun after contact with Madsen's car.
Madsen held his nerve at the ensuing restart over the final four laps to pull a gap over Schatz and go on to claim his third career win at the Parramatta venue.
“I can't believe it. To beat Donny Schatz like that is unbelievable, it is probably the most fun I've ever had in a race. I still can't believe it, I'm shaking in the legs and everything,” said Madsen.
“I was just praying that everything held on until the end and it did. I can't believe it, every little noise I thought was Schatz and then I just couldn't believe it.
“This is the most special feature race ever, to do it with all of my mates and school mates who help me out, everyone who has stuck behind me through thick and thin. It's just awesome.”
Schatz's World of Outlaws team owner and NASCAR Legend Tony Stewart continued to adapt to the tricky Parramatta surface by setting the third fastest time during qualifying before finishing fourth in the feature race.
“I've got a good car to drive and a great teacher with Donny here so I'm learning a little bit more each night and felt a lot more comfortable tonight compared to the first night I was here,” said Stewart.
“I felt like over the last 15 laps of tonight's main I got a lot better and my lap times didn't fall off as much as the cars in front of me and I was making time. I've still got a little way to be as good as good as Donny, Garry and Madsen but I'm learning a lot.
“In saying that though, for a guy who only runs three or four Sprintcar races a year I've been pretty pleased with the last couple of nights.”
HOGS BREATH SPRINTCAR INTERNATIONAL
Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway, Sydney, NSW
1. Ian Madsen
2. Donny Schatz
3. Marty Perovich
4. Tony Stewart
5. James Thompson
6. Tim Schaffer
7. Skip Jackson
8. Glen Saville
9. Roddy Bell-Bowen
10. Adrian Maher
11. Mitchell Dumesny
12. Jeremy Cross
13. Craig Morrison
14. Darryl Campbell
15. Grant Tunks
16. Ben Atkinson
17. Warren Ferguson
18. Peter Gordon
19. David Craft
20. Mick Turner
21. Jeff Lawler
DNF Garry Brazier
DNF Ian Loudoun
DNF Paul Freeman