Champ stands tall in ECL round three
Having struggled to make much impression in the heats, Australian champion Andrew Scheuerle stood tall when it mattered most to win round three of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (November 2). Starting from the outside front row, Scheuerle led all but one of the 30 laps to secure his first feature win for the season, finishing ahead of Brent Aprile and Callum Walker, both of whom bounced back from setbacks earlier in the night. Opening round winner Kevin Titman finished fourth ahead of pole qualifier Brent Kratzmann, with Adam Butler sixth in his best ever result.
In round two of the American Tire and Racing Services Midget Series, defending track champion Rusty Whittaker proved too strong. In a feature race reduced to 20 laps following a series of incidents and interruptions, Whittaker led all the way to finish ahead of Brock Dean, Darren Vine, Mitchell Rooke and Audie Malt.
The support racing produced somewhat predictable results with Liam Williams downing Kristin Brown, Tomas Partington, Dekota Gay and Tarhlea Apelt in round two of the Touch Ups Done Right Formula 500 Series, while the Modlite feature saw Terry Leerentveld navigate safely through a series of early incidents to emerge an emphatic winner in advance of Nathan Politch, Rodney Pammenter, Dylan Hunter and Neil Gregson.
As always, Sprintcar hot laps/qualifying got proceedings underway and on this occasion it was Aprile who topped the timesheets with a best lap of 11.402. Next best were Walker (11.474), Titman (11.522), Butler (11.534), Kratzmann (11.557) and Scheuerle (11.576), with Andrew Corbet, Dan Murray, Kristy Bonsey and Aaron Kelly rounding out the top ten.
Toowoomba teenager Nicholas Whell raced to his first ever heat race win in the opening preliminary. Fresh from a podium result at the previous round, Ryan McNamara was no match for Whell despite starting alongside on the outside front row, with Bonsey annexing third spot.
The second heat saw Scott Genrich prevail over Tim Farrell and Aaron Kelly, with Richard Morgan outpacing Walker and Aprile to win heat three.
The final heat saw Whell win again and secure himself a place in the Pole Shootout, downing Corbet and McNamara on this occasion.
The last chance B Main proved a somewhat easy ride for Morgan, who led every lap to finish almost three seconds clear of Mitch Gowland. The final direct transfer spots went to Brendon Claridge and Steve Greer, although Brett Minett would also be granted a start in the feature race.
The opening round of the Trax Tyres and Auto Pole Shootout saw Titman and Scheuerle advance to the next stage, confining Butler and McNamara to share the fourth row. Aprile emerged quickest in round two, taking Scheuerle with him into the final showdown, leaving Titman and Whell to launch from row three. Having looked on track to win the previous series round until he grazed the wall and was forced to surrender his lead, Kratzmann gave himself the best possible chance of making amends when he outgunned Scheuerle, Walker and Aprile to secure pole position.
It was the outside row that proved the best place to be when the feature race got underway as Scheuerle and Aprile swept to the front while Kratzmann found himself fourth behind Titman. Lap three saw Kratzmann drop another spot as Walker moved ahead and the order remained unchanged when Claridge spun in turn four on lap 12 to trigger a restart that would ultimately bring about the demise of four drivers. With the field rolling around awaiting the restart, chaos ensued when a chain reaction through the field saw drivers forced to brake hard or swerve to avoid contact with the car in front of them, the result of which was Claridge and Corbett tipping over as Kelly rode the wall and also exited proceedings. With the carnage cleared, Scheuerle led the field away at the restart with Aprile closing in. Through turn four on lap 15, Aprile charged under Scheuerle to snatch the lead, only for the defending track champion to execute the same move a lap later to reclaim the top spot. Walker, meanwhile, was on the move and he rounded up Aprile on lap 15 while, further back, Minett was making big progress through the field. The distance between the top three fluctuated as traffic became a factor and the order seemed settled until Aprile found a way past Walker through turn three on the final lap to snatch second spot. Titman, Kratzmann and Butler were next in line, with Minett surging from 19th to secure seventh in advance of Whell, Bonsey and Farrell, while 11th-placed McNamara was the last car on the lead lap. Morgan, Genrich and Gowland were the only other finishers.
The opening heat of American Tire and Racing Services Midget action went the way of young gun Bodie Smith over Dean and Troy Ware, with Whittaker proving too pacey in heat two to lead home Vine and Mathers.
Ware downed Dean and Smith in heat three before opening round winner Glenn Wright prevailed in the final heat over Vine and Whittaker.
From pole position, Whittaker launched into the lead as his front partner in Ware found himself shuffled back to fourth as Dean and Smith moved forward. Following an early interruption courtesy of a spin Brad Dawson in turn four on lap five, the race settled into a rhythm as Whittaker continued to hold sway over Dean, Smith, Vine and a barnstorming Chris Singleton, who started from row six and had reeled in the leaders with considerable ease. However, the complexion of the race changed on lap 15 when Smith was slow to react to a caution thrown as a result of a spin from Matt O’Neill in turn four. Hard on the brakes in turn three, Smith slid to halt and, unfortunately, was collected by Ware and Singleton, who tipped over to suffer an inglorious end to a mighty charge. With Smith, Ware and Singleton now on the infield, Vine was now in third spot when proceedings were halted once again before another lap could be completed, courtesy of a spin from Tom Clauss on this occasion. Any aspirations Wright may have had about scoring back-to-back feature wins were extinguished on lap 17 when he was tapped into a spin by Mathers, putting both drivers at the back of the field for what would become a three-lap sprint to the chequer. Whittaker remained in control to take the win over Dean, Vine and Rooke, who found sufficient speed in the closing stages to challenge Vine for the final podium position. Malt, O’Neill and Dawson were next best, leaving Wright, Mathers and Gavin McDowall as the only other finishers.
Liam Williams and Tomas Partington shared the spoils with a win apiece in the Formula 500 heat races, but it was Kristin Brown who would secure pole position for the feature race with third place finishes in both heats behind Tarhlea Apelt and Tony Bailey respectively. Brown would lead the feature for more than 10 laps before Williams, who started seventh after failing to finish heat two, made his way to the front. A frustrated Brown remained second at the flag, with Partington enjoying an unchallenged run into third spot ahead of Dekota Gay, Apelt and Brock Thornton.
Sam Gollschewsky and Rodney Pammenter were the standouts in the heat races for round three of the Campbell’s Truck and Bobcat Modlite Series, snaring two wins apiece and leaving Chris Were and Terry Leerentveld to share the others. The battle between Leerentveld and Scott Lehfeldt in the final heat on a slippery track with light rain falling was an exemplary exhibition of car control and mutual respect from both drivers.
The B Main saw Pacey Clegg, Kurt Grambower, Neil Gregson and Steve Collins make the transfer into what looked likely to be a closely contested feature race. However, several incidents in the opening stages, including a six-car melee in turn four on lap four, afforded Leerentveld a somewhat easy passage into the lead. With his rivals (Gollschewsky and Were amongst them) floundering, Leerentveld was unstoppable and would ultimately finish more than six seconds clear of Nathan Politch, Pammenter and Dylan Hunter. Having started way back in 19th, Neil Gregson sliced through the field to finish fifth ahead of Dan Lewis, Julian Olley and Lehfeldt.
A rather subdued return from the Stockrods resulted in Jason Martin winning two heats enroute to also taking out the feature race ahead of Graham Rangihuna, Robert Turner and Rick Conrad.
Spirited exchanges between Ryan Newton and Jo Corbet featured in each of the four heat races for Formula 500 Juniors. Newton prevailed three times, with Corbet taking the other as Kyle Price and Taylor Morgan were the only others to feature in the top three.
Racing continues at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night (November 9) with Dirt Modifieds, AMCA Nationals, Lightning Sprints, Compact Speedcars, Microsprints, Open Sedans, RSA Sedans and Ford versus Holden versus Sigma sedans on the program.
Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway is proudly supported by:
East Coast Logistics
Queensland Speedway Spares