After hosting the Australian Sprintcar Championship in 1972, Premier Speedway made the decision to host an annual two day Sprintcar meeting. To be held in late January, the event was destined for a unique place in Speedway history. The name of the event, derived from the Grand Annual Steeplechase, was to be the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic. There were over 40 entries for the first ever Classic, all fighting for $2,500 in prize money.
This first event was won by Ian "Zeke" Agars from Adelaide, South Australia, driving a straight-six Holden powered Super Modified to victory in the 40 lap final.
Sydney racer, ten-time Australian Champion Garry Rush, holds the record for the event, having claimed seven victories. During the 1980's and early 1990's Rush enjoyed a fierce rivalry with American driver Danny Smith, who also won the Classic six times during roughly the same period.
Because of its mid-summer date, prior to the North American Sprintcar season getting underway and the calibre of the event, drivers from the United States are increasingly making the journey to Warrnambool to compete against the locals in our grand event. American drivers have won 17 of the 44 Classics contested since 1973. The home state of Victoria had to wait until the 20th running of the event to have a home town winner with Warrnambool's own Max Dumesny winning in 1992, a second home-grown winner claimed victory in 2016 when Jamie Veal bested a field of 124 to claim the $30,000.00 pay day.
The Classic is now regarded as the largest Sprintcar race in Australia, with competitor numbers regularly above the 100 mark and capacity crowds attending. The 2019 Classic will see a prize purse in-excess of $220,000.00 on offer over the three nights of competition.