Rain sends Speedways into a spin

Donny Schatz

Four-time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz is one of the drivers caught up in the clash of dates. Pic: Paul Carruthers

The unseasonable weather has thrown Speedway venues into a spin with two of the biggest events on the summer schedule set to race head to head this weekend.

When the $50,000 to win Scott Darley Sprintcar Classic at Tyrepower Sydney Speedway, was washed out yesterday venue management originally advised of a rescheduled date of January 14/15.

This date would have allowed the likes of American stars Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana, Craig Dollansky and Shane Stewart to still compete in the World Series Sprintcars round, incorporating the $20,000 to win Australian Open, at Titan Garages Brisbane International Speedway this weekend.

However, within several hours of the announcing of the revised date management of the Sydney venue altered the re-run date of the Scott Darley Sprintcar Classic to this weekend, leaving teams, drivers and fans in a bind.

With many of the visiting drivers believed to be contracted to both venues for the big shows, Speedcafe.com.au contacted the relevant parties to discuss the situation.

David Lander, who recently took over as General Manager in Sydney, advised that they wanted to do the best thing for their loyal patrons – which has now also included cancelling the first round of the Australian Solo Championship on January 12 at the venue which will now be held at Kurri Kurri.

“We have a commitment to our competitors and fans to run a certain amount of races and once January 15 has passed the opportunity for top level drivers to be at our venue is gone,” said Lander.

“It is unfortunate that there is only five Saturdays in the peak season but the owners of the venue have made what they believe is the best decision for the competitors and fans.

“This weekend we will have Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana and Tony Stewart competing in Sydney. I would imagine that all of the contracted World Series drivers will go to Brisbane while guys like Craig Dollansky and some of the other Americans are still making their mind up.”

Robbie Farr

World Series Sprintcars points leader Robbie Farr will be competing in Brisbane this Friday and Saturday night

John Kelly, promoter of the Brisbane venue, was hopeful that the American stars would be living up to their obligations in Queensland.

“We entered into both verbal and written contracts with a number of leading American drivers and we expect that these drivers, Donny Schatz, Joey Saldana, Cody Darrah, Craig Dollansky, Bran Monteith, Jason Sides and Shane Stewart, will liver up to the legal and moral commitments they have made to the Brisbane International Speedway and our fans,” said Kelly.

“Despite the weather we expect these commitments to be met, where I come from – you make a commitment and you honour it.

“As the event forms part of the World Series Sprintcars Championship, all of the contracted drivers will be attendance and will put on a great show no matter what.”

World Series Sprintcars General Manager Steve Green indicated that the show will go on in Brisbane, with or without the influx of the World of Outlaws stars.

“My focus is on the positives of World Series Sprintcars, we’ve just come off a record Speedweek run with record competitor numbers, great crowds, some fantastic racing and we’ve also got a fantastic points battle going on,” said Green.

“No matter how many non-contracted drivers will be there at Brisbane, we’ll still be up there to put on a great show for the fans.”

Time will tell to see where the big names turn up this Friday and Saturday but whichever way it goes, Speedway fans in both Sydney and Brisbane will be in for some great racing – if the weather is kind!

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