Three central San Joaquin Valley sprint car racers capped their Australian tours with feature finishes Sunday night in the 45th Grand Annual Classic.
Considered the country’s top open-competition event, the Classic is raced at Premier Speedway in Warnambool, Victoria. It usually draws more than 100 entries for three days of racing with cars powered by 410-cubic-inch engines. This year’s purse topped $220,000.
Cory Eliason of Kingsburg finished 12th in the 40-lap race after starting 20th for the night’s best passing job. Carson Macedo of Lemoore was 13th and Dominic Scelzi of Fresno was 16th. All three drove for Australian car owners.
On Jan. 17, Macedo made a last-lap pass to win the 36th President Cup at Avalon Raceway in Lara, Victoria. Scelzi was lined up on the front row for that race but had to pull off before the start with mechanical issues.
Eliason won the All Star Challenge for 360-cubic-inch-powered sprint cars on Jan. 14 at Simpson Speedway in Bungador, Victoria.
Scelzi’s troubles at Avalon were just the tip of a tough month of racing luck, but he was part of the winning Team USA in a challenge at Valvoline Raceway in Sydney.
Chili Bowl – Michael Faccinto of Hanford was 18th in the 55-lap main event Jan. 14, highlighting Valley results at the 31st annual race for midgets indoors in Tulsa, Okla.
The Chili Bowl drew a record 365 entries for five days of racing.
Faccinto raced his way into the 24-car main event by holding on for the sixth and final transfer position in his B main event. DJ Netto of Hanford, racing in the same B main, started seventh but was caught up in a crash and finished 14th.
The last day at the Chili Bowl had 29 races, all advancing drivers toward the main event. Other Valley results from Jan. 14: Danny Faria Jr. of Tipton, third in a D qualifier and then 14th in a C qualifier; Hanford native Chad Boespflug, first in an F qualifier, then eighth in an E qualifier; Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, 15th in an F qualifier; David Prickett of Fresno, fifth in an I qualifier; and Billy Lawless of Fresno, seventh in a J qualifier.
Promoter Dave Pusateri made the early announcement because there’s a catch: To be eligible in 2018, car owners and drivers must compete in the 2017 event Oct. 19-21. That purse is yet to be announced.
The Trophy Cup is a fundraiser that has generated about $1.42 million for Make-A-Wish.
▪ Giovanni Scelzi, Dominic’s brother who turned 15 right after the end of the 2016 season, was named North American 360 sprint car rookie of the year after winning the season championship at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford.