By Ebony McQuinn
The last time the Chief Racing sprintcar team were on track was the fatal disaster in Mildura, where the chassis was destroyed. An extensive repair, involving a complete rebuild of the front end, was implemented on the car. The repairs were non-stop during the six-week break to get the car ready in time.
Time trials weren't the start the crew had hoped. Waters struggled to make time due to a fuel tank problem that greatly affected fuel reaching the motor. Water's best time was 12.551s, half a second off the leader and 15th overall. The crew acted quickly to find a temporary solution to the fuel issue until a second tank could be delivered from Melbourne for Sunday. Waters would start from P5 in Heat 3 and P6 in Heat 5
Luckily, the heats went much better; any memory of the last event's crash was practically forgotten. Heat 3, Waters navigated through traffic for P4. Heat 5 saw Waters achieve his first win on home soil. After such bad luck in Mildura over the last two seasons, the success brought the crew a lot of relief. The results were enough to start P4 in the A-Main.
The A-Main did not bring the success initially predicted. To begin, the car held a lot of speed and Waters drove well to move up to P1 within only a few laps; he'd hold that spot until a stoppage with 11 laps remaining. Bad luck would strike again as a bolt came loose during the restart, forcing Waters to retire. The crew were devastated.
A lot of work went into repairing the car before Sunday. Time trials went much better, despite Waters finishing 10th overall, he had a time of 12.143s, only 0.28 off the leader. Waters placed P4 in Heat 1 and P7 in Heat 5. The rain had hit Mildura, creating some uncertainties for the night's progression.
The heats went smoothly as the rain luckily held off. Waters placed P2 in both heats. Successful results put him in P3 to start the A-Main. A lot of work went into the car before the A-Main as it began pouring with rain.
While the rain had slowed before the race, the A-Main didn't go to plan, as the set-up was a bit off. Waters struggled to keep pace, dropping to P5. A stoppage mid-race allowed Waters to recover and reclaim P3 as the race resumed, finishing P3 too. While disappointed to not be able to fight for the win, the crew were stoked to achieve their second podium.
Driver's Point of View:
"Had a really good run night 2 of Mildura, having a bit of bad luck night 1 with a bolt that came loose. It was awesome to move forward in both my heats; the car was pacey, and the crew did a great job. The finale wasn't as good in the start, but it got better towards the end, getting back to third. Started third, finished third. A massive thanks to all the guys for working over the weekend and as well of course to the sponsors and to [team boss] Big Col.
It's been an awesome season, I've learned so much. We did a lot more shows this season, compared to last, and every time it's getting better and better. I'm starting to feel really comfortable in the car, so super stoked with how the season went and I'm excited for next season!"
Easter at Mildura Gallery: