McNamara's maiden win
LISMORE racer Phil McNamara has broken through for his maiden feature event win after taking out the 2009 NSW V8 Dirt Modified Championship at Grafton Speedway last weekend.
McNamara led home Australian champion Peter Britten and Luke Oldfield in the event that was held over from last season.
McNamara, the current Lismore Club Champion, started the championship-decider from pole position courtesy of an impressive qualifying performance, which included two heat-race wins.
It was an anxious start to the 30-lap main event for McNamara and the rest of the field, with no less than four starts required prior to a single lap being completed.
“We were very nervous about it,” McNamara said.
“We were about to make a few more changes to the car before the feature but I said we can’t do that; you’ve got to go from the front.
“It’s no good setting the car up for the last 10 laps, you’ve got to get going from the start and bolt.”
Once underway, however, McNamara remained in control of proceedings on the unique Grafton layout, leading flag to flag in what was not only his first feature race win but also his first podium finish in eight seasons of V8 Dirt Modified racing.
“Once the race got going I knew we had something,” he said.
“It’s a long way around the outside and I knew I just had to keep it tidy and down low.
“I got sight of Britten with about two laps to go and I just closed the door.
“I said to myself if he wants to go he is going to have to go the long way around!”
Although McNamara kept a stranglehold on the race lead, the battle for the minors was fierce in what was a race of attrition, with just five competitors completing 30 laps.
Grafton local Jai Stephenson looked to be in contention early before retiring just shy of half distance, while Scott Cannon was also fast only to be forced out with just a handful of laps to run.
Queensland rookie Kelvin Hamilton held down second for much of the race only for his night to end on lap 22, allowing Britten and Oldfield to advance.
Last-start Grafton winner Paul Booker (4th) and Alan Jarvis (5th) rounded out the finishers.
Earlier in the night, heat race wins went to McNamara (2), Hamilton (2), Kevin Britten, Tony Sneddon, Scott Cannon, Jai Stephenson and Ray Klarich.
V8 Dirt Modifieds are next in action in NSW on Boxing Night for the traditional Mr Modified event at the Lismore Speedway.