McCullagh Shocks Field For Grand Annual Victory


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WARRNAMBOOL, Australia — Corey McCullagh didn’t have the highest expectations going into Sunday’s finale of the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway.

That was before he discovered how good his car was, driving it to the front of the field for the upset victory in Australia’s biggest sprint car event.

“This is not going to sink in until next year. Unreal,” said McCullagh after the win. “God, the car was good. I knew from probably the second lap the I had a bad ass hot rod. Probably the best I’ve had. “

McCullagh, from Warranmbool where Premier Speedway is located, charged from ninth using the bottom of the race track to drive by Brooke Tatnell for the lead, holding off the three-time Classic champion through several late race restarts for the victory.

“The boys did a great job, we’re a low budget team. I kept my cool during the cautions there and tried to treat it just like an SRA show. The car was unbelievable.”

For McCullagh the win was worth $30,000. When asked if he knew what that amount of money looked like, he responded with an answer fitting of a low dollar operation.

“No. At least we can rebuild the motor for next year. That’s bad ass.”

Brooke Tatnell and Peter Doukas started on the front row for the 40-lap finale. The first attempt to start the race lasted two corners when Luke Oldfield got upside down and collected John Vogels. The second attempt to start the main saw Tatnell and Doukas race side by side through the first two corners with Tatnell taking the lead off turn two.

Tatnell’s lead was short lived as Doukas took the top spot back on the backstretch. Doukas led until they approached slower traffic, where Tatnell gained the top spot back on lap seven. One lap later the second red flag of the event appeared when Glen Sutherland got upside down in turn two in front of the leaders.

Tatnell, Doukas, and American Carson Macedo pulled away after the restart. Macedo wrestled away second position from Doukas on lap 21, with Steven Lines following him around Doukas for third.

McCullagh finished making his march to the front after a caution for a spin by Jordyn Brazier . Using the bottom of the track, McCullagh drove by Lines, Macedo and Tatnell with ease to take the lead and drove away from the field.

After taking the lead McCullagh survived multiple cautions flags and a red flag. Each time McCullagh pulled away from the field and was unchallenged as he pulled off the upset victory. Macedo held on for second, with Tatnell rounding out the podium. Kerry Madsen and Steven Lines completed the top five.

Afterwards an emotional McCullaugh reflected on winning the Classic in front of his home crowd.

“It’s unreal. It’s the people behind the scenes. My girlfriend, my dad. Murry and the Swain family, all my sponsors. You guys are legends. This is literally a childhood dream event just racing these things.”

The Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic served as the sole international qualifier for the 2018 SPEED SPORT Challenge, held at Knoxville Raceway as part of the Knoxville Nationals.

The finish:

Corey McCullagh, Carson Macedo, Brooke Tatnell, Kerry Madsen, Steven Lines, Shaun Dobson, Luke Dillon, Darren Mollenoyux, Cory Eliason, Peter Doukas, Matt Egel, Terry McCarl, Lachlan McHugh, Daniel Harding, John Vogels, Ryan Jones, Jordyn Brazier, Jason Johnson, Tim Hutchins, Robbie Farr, James McFadden, Luke Walker Jamie Veal, Glen Sutherland, Luke Oldfield.