Another World Series win for Schatz
Even the very best talent that World Series Sprintcars has to offer was no match for 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (January 4). The American star surged early from his third row starting position and then bided his time behind Rusty Hickman before roaring around the outside through turn four with two laps to run. Kerry Madsen finished in third spot ahead of Dave Murcott, with a late run from Lucas Wolfe elevating him into the top five at the expense of James McFadden. Fittingly, Andrew Scheuerle was the first of the locals home in seventh, followed by Lachlan McHugh, Steven Lines and Kevin Titman, who bounced back from a heavy heat race crash.
In the Modified Sedan Twin City Challenge, Aidan Raymont was in a class of his own throughout the 30-lap feature race, finishing more than eight seconds ahead of second-placed Darren Lester. Third home was Michael Shelford, with Kent Shelford finishing fourth ahead of Rodney Pammenter and Queensland champ Tim Weir.
Of the 31-car field that fronted for round six of Queensland Speedway Spares World Series Sprintcars, only 30 would tackle time trials as Anthony Vanderreyden failed to progress beyond hot laps. Running late in the session, Jack Lee would stop the clock at 11.571 to secure Revolution Racegear Quick Time. Local hero Luke Oldfield (11.609) was second quickest, with Wolfe (11.713), Madsen (11.791), Murcott (11.862), Lines (11.876) and McHugh (11.862) next best, leaving Bryan Mann, Schatz and Brock Dean to round out the top ten.
The opening heat saw Titman make easy work of proceedings from the outside front row, leading Hickman and Tim Farrell to the flag.
With Brooke Tatnell launching from pole position, there was never much doubt about the outcome of heat two as he raced away to finish ahead of McFadden and Callum Walker. Oldfield suffered a scare when a fuel leak resulted in a post-race fire and a subsequent tail tank change prior to his next heat.
Scheuerle also encountered little resistance in winning heat three from the front row, outpacing Randy Morgan as Madsen and Schatz worked their way forward to finish third and fourth respectively.
Heat four went the way of Glen Sutherland in advance of Jock Goodyer and Schatz before Brent Kratzmann downed McFadden and Tatnell to win heat five.
The final heat dished up the only major incident of the night when Cody Maroske made contact with Walker along the main straight and sent himself into a series of somersaults as Titman, in his effort to avoid any involvement, climbed the wall and also flipped in turn one. Walker was also a casualty with a flat tyre as Scheuerle doubled up with another win, this time ahead of Oldfield and Hickman.
The B Main served up a final chance to secure a place in the feature race field and it was Kratzmann who made the most of the opportunity, leading Titman, Farrell and Morgan into the big show.
Hickman was the big mover of the Pole Shootout, advancing from the Bronze round and outpacing the likes of Schatz, Wolfe, Murcott, Lines and Madsen to ultimately land on pole position for the Performance Wholesale feature race, with Oldfield starting alongside. Murcott snared third spot ahead of Lee, Madsen, Lines, Hickman and the two Americans.
At the drop of the green, Hickman shot clear of the field to lead through the opening lap and almost all of those thereafter. Murcott followed, pushing Oldfield back to third, which became fourth when Madsen advanced on lap two. By lap five, Oldfield was back in third ahead of Madsen, with Schatz having advanced to fifth. The order at the front remained unchanged until lap 14 when Oldfield grabbed second spot from Murcott, who dropped another spot to Schatz before the race was halted momentarily following a spin from Mann with 10 laps remaining. An untidy exit from turn four from Hickman on lap 25 enabled Schatz to snatch the lead, only for Hickman to fight back and retake the top spot. Unfortunately for Oldfield, the next restart would come at his expense when he spun in turn three with just six laps to run, moving Madsen to third. Hickman continued to lead upon resumption but there was a sense of inevitability about the how things would pan out, despite a mighty effort from the young Victorian. An outside swoop through turn four carried Schatz into the lead with two laps remaining and would bring him his fourth consecutive feature race win and 28th such result in World Series competition. Madsen and Murcott were next in line, with Wolfe moving ahead of McFadden for fifth with two laps to run. Scheuerle was next ahead of McHugh, who no doubt would have been hoping for a better result back on home soil. Lines had slipped back to ninth by races end, while Titman earned the Hard Charger Award for his effort in advancing from the B Main to tenth. Hallet, Mann, Oldfield and Morgan were next in line, leaving Dean, Goodyer, Kratzmann and Farrell as the remaining finishers. After such a strong start to the night, Lee was unable to consolidate his qualifying advantage and, having fallen out of the top ten, would ultimately head infield with just one lap remaining, joining Tatnell who had exited on lap 30 with a flat tyre.
Modified Sedan heat wins were shared between Lester (2), Raymont, Pammenter, Weir, Darren Baldwin, Michael Shelford and Max Clarke, who would emerge as the hero of the feature race. Heat five produced a thrilling finish when Lester came from behind on the final lap to outsprint Atkin from turn four to the chequer, sneaking home by a mere 0.002 to secure pole position for the feature.
Steve Jordan took out the B Main over Ash Volk, Peter White, Ty Francis and Shannon Blackburn.
The feature was over for Greg Worling before it even started when he inexplicably lost a wheel on the formation lap and, once underway, there was never any real doubt about the result as Raymont went straight to the front and never looked likely to lose, leading every lap to secure his second feature race win in less than seven days following his New South Wales Championship success in Sydney. With the field seemingly happy to run single file on the bottom and watch Raymont disappear into the distance, Clarke had other ideas and set about putting on a show with a terrific outside run to which he remained committed until he suffered the fate that too often befalls those willing to run the high line. Exiting turn four on lap 20, Michael Shelford moved up track and squeezed Clarke into the wall, ending what had been a mighty effort from the former national champion that was certainly deserving of a much better result. With Clarke out of the equation, the field played follow-the-leader to the chequer, the only exception being Jordan in his surge forward from 17th to ultimately finish seventh behind Raymont, Lester, the Shelfords, Pammenter and Weir. Rounding out the top ten were Baldwin, Atkin and Nathan McDonald, followed by Shane McDonald, Francis, Alex Sweeney, Nathan Lowe and the final finisher in White.
Compact Speedcars started the night with their biggest field of the season thus far and heat success went the way of Jayden Iacono and Bodie Smith who, having earlier been unable to avoid a spun Matt O’Neill, somehow emerged unscathed and then rounded up both Steve Swingler and Rob Stewart on the final lap for an impressive win.
Unfortunately, only nine cars made it on track for the 15-lap feature race and just six would go the distance. Chris Pidgeon led the field away and remained out front until Smith surged ahead on lap seven, with Swingler relegating Pidgeon to third on lap 10. Richard Treanor and Andrew Parkes filled out the first five, with newcomer David Everitt the final finisher.
In Formula 500 Juniors, Ryan Newton won two heats and Jy Corbet won the other, with Taylor Morgan finishing in the top three on each occasion.
World Series Sprintcar action continues at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway next weekend with the running of the Titan Garages Australian Open on Friday and Saturday night (January 10 and 11). Also on the program over the two nights will be Midgets, Formula 500s, AMCA Nationals, Wingless Sprints, Lightning Sprints and Modlites.
Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway is proudly supported by:
East Coast Logistics
Queensland Speedway Spares