Author : Jason Crowe – SSA Media
Jason Duell has won his first ever State or Territory Title, after winning a dramatic and action packed Northern Territory Street Stock Title, at the Arunga Park Speedway on Saturday night.
After nine qualifying heats, Jason Duell and National Title holder Rhys Heinrich, both from South Australia, would start the twenty five lap decider on the front row. Fellow South Australian Jayden Edwards would start from position three, with the Territories Simon Spitzbath, Sam Brumfield and Justin Brumfield filling the first three rows.
Duell would be up against it from the beginning as no driver had won a qualifying heat from pole position, and it would be Heinrich who would get the best of the start, taking the lead.
Also getting a good start would be Justin Brumfield, but on lap four, the first of a multitude of stoppages which riddled the entire race occurred, bunching the field.
Heinrich continued to lead with Jayden Edwards holding off Jason Duell before the cautions were on again, leading to the demise of Sam Brumfield and soon after Justin Brumfield, both with flat tyres.
On the resultant restart, Edwards did not let Heinrich get away, and soon the duo were joined by Duell, with the three opening a gap on the remainder of the field.
The stoppages continued at regular intervals, with one of the more dramatic stoppages being for Mark Gartner who lost a wheel on the back straight, while in fourth position after breaking a diff tube. Matt Nelson had nowhere to go, with the Victorian running over the debris. Nelson amazingly was able to continue.
Heinrich and Duell then battled the race out of the second half of the race as Edwards retired, elevating Corey Sandow to third.
The stoppages continued, leading to a dramatic last few laps. Heinrich who led from the very start of the race was coming under increasing pressure from Jason Duell, who was trying valiantly to pass, but to no avail.
Coming into the main straight to get the white flag, Heinrich suffered a flat tyre, allowing Duell to move into the race lead on the final lap.
Duell would cross the line a clear winner, with Heinrich being caught on the final corner by Corey Sandow and Peter Thompson. In a three way run to the line, Heinrich just held on with Thompson on the extreme outside getting third, with Sandow in the middle finishing fourth, with the trio crossing the line together in a blanket finish.
Immediately after the race Duell also suffered a flat tyre and did a rack, causing the winner to hit the fence, with the car then catching on fire.
Yeah it was unreal to win, but I could not do a victory lap, said Duell. The track had a few holes and if you did not go through them someone would get underneath, which lead to a lot of stoppages, Duell continued.
For Duell it is reward for persistence, after finishing second in the Territory Title in 2012, third in the Victorian Title in 2014, third in the South Australian Title in 2016.
Earlier the nine qualifying heats were hotly contested with Jayden Edwards winning the opener from position five, Jason Duell would take heat two, while Sam Brumfield would also come from position five to win heat three.
Mark Gartner came from position six to win heat four, Jayden Giezendanner won heat five, again from position five, while Rhys Heinrich became the first driver to win from the front row when he won heat six.
Jason Duell took heat seven starting from the second row, Justin Brumfield won heat eight from position six, with Simon Spitzbath winning the final qualifier after starting from the front row.
A Main GRID, 25 Laps: 1. S8 Jason Duell, 2. A1 Rhys Heinrich, 3. S87 Jayden Edwards, 4. NT43 Simon Spitzbath, 5. NT53 Sam Brumfield, 6. NT5 Justin Brumfield, 7. V61 Matt Nelson, 8. V22 Corey Sandow, 9. S132 Andy Maxwell, 10. S25 Mark Gartner, 11. Q9 Peter Thompson, 12. S16 Grant Harris, 13. NT2 Rod Berry, 14. W72 Russell Gunn, 15. S27 Cade Cox, 16. NT63 Jamie Yates, 17. NT66 Adam Quin, 18. NT11 Jake Koivumaki, 19. NT3 Eric Donaldson, 20. NT4 Loretta Berry
1. S8 Jason Duell, 2. A1 Rhys Heinrich, 3. Q9 Peter Thompson, 4. V22 Corey Sandow, 5. S16 Grant Harris, 6. S27 Cade Cox, 7. V61 Matt Nelson, 8. S132 Andy Maxwell Jnr, 9. NT51 Shaun Jones, 10. NT66 Adam Quin, 11. NT6 Tracey Meekings. DNF: 12. NT2 Rod Berry, 13. W72 Russell Gunn, 14. S87 Jayden Edwards, 15. NT99 Jaydan Giezendanner, 16. S25 Mark Gartner, 17. NT43 Simon Spitzbath, 18. NT5 Justin Brumfield, 19. NT53 Sam Brumfield, 20. NT11 Jake Koivumaki, 21. NT63 Jamie Yates
Jason Duell wins Territory Title on the last lap. Photo courtesy of Nikita Pollock