The addition of a later model Ford Falcon has been a big step for Steven Gartner in the 2018-19 season, and last Saturday night at Whyalla’s Westline Speedway he managed to come away with the biggest win of his career, the South Australian Street Stock Title.
After over a decade racing in the Street Stock class, which has seen him solely campaign the EL Ford Falcon model, Gartner decided during the off season to upgrade his car, and he purchased an FG Ford Falcon.
In what has been a mixture of runs in his six race meetings so far this season, including a disastrous Victorian Title campaign the previous weekend, Gartner headed into the South Australian Title hoping to turn his encouraging speed into a big result, and that’s exactly what he did.
Gartner, who had never previously visited the Westline Speedway track, was on the pace from the outset by picking up a second place in his opening heat race and then he scored a win and a third in his remaining two heat races. By virtue of these consistent front-running performances, he started the South Australian Title deciding feature race from the outside of the front row.
Following a short battle with pole sitter Nigel Reichstein, Gartner took control of the race lead, which was a position that he maintained for most of the 25-lap distance, after losing it for a handful of laps to Reichstein between laps 15 and 20, through to the fall of the chequered flag aboard his SA # 32 South East Collision Repairs / Merrett Logging supported FG Ford Falcon.
“To have my first major Street Stock win be the South Australian Title is something really special to myself and my family,” expressed the 30-year-old racer from Penola in South Australia.
“I’ve been racing Street Stocks for a few years now, and I’ve always had plenty of speed in major events, but I have never been able to come away with a result, so to finally do it is a massive relief.”
Gartner continued by saying that this breakthrough South Australian Title win, which also sees him create history by becoming the first father and son combination to win the event with his dad Dave being a three-time winner, is attributed to recent the upgrading of his machinery.
“I’ve spent many years running the EL Ford Falcon, and when a good deal came up on an FG Ford Falcon, I decided to take the punt and pick it up,” explained Gartner, whose previous best result was a second-place behind Anthony Beare in the 2016 running of the South Australian Title.
“Since stepping into the FG Ford Falcon, I have had a lot of learning to do, because I had to throw everything I did driving the EL out of the window as both models are completely different, but my South Australian Title win has given me a lot of confidence that I’m heading into the right direction with the car.”
With his confidence at an all-time high, Gartner is looking forward to the remainder of the 2018-19 season, which includes contesting events such as the Top Gun at Mildura’s Timmis Speedway next month. The next event for Gartner is going to be this Saturday night at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway.
Gartner and his team are proudly sponsored in the 2018-19 season by:
South East Collision Repairs
CW Wines – Coonawarra
Horsham Auto Wreckers
ATI – Adrian Thomas Industrial
Beaurepaires – Penola
Elite Shock Services
Craig Carrison Racing Engines
Special thanks: Corey Crafter, Jason Duell, Justin Devlin, Scotty Merrett and Megan (Gartner’s girlfriend).
To find out more about Gartner and follow his racing activities, LIKE him on Facebook by searching Stevieg Racing.