Macedo Marches into Victory Lane
California’s Carson Macedo collected the first Sprintcar feature race win of his 2022/2023 Australian tour with a hard fought result in round three of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship at Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 10). Macedo ran third through the opening laps before relegating Luke Oldfield on lap nine and then rounding up race leader Randy Morgan on lap 17 to take control. Unfortunately for Morgan, he would fall out of contention as the laps wound down, with Oldfield moving to second and clocking the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit of Macedo as Aaron Kelly also finished strongly to secure third spot ahead of Ryan Newton and Jy Corbet.
A cracking 20-lap Shock Absorber AMCA Nationals feature race saw Steve Potts charge around the outside of Steve Price to clinch the win, leaving Price to then fend off the advances of Lee McKinnell. On lap 17, McKinnell moved ahead of Price, only for the national champ to snatch the position back on the final lap, with Nathan Tomkins and Graeme Holland rounding out the top five.
The Wildink Wingless Sprint feature race also served up a multi-car fight for the lead, although on this occasion there would be no lead changes as Jacob Jolley led every lap to lead home Scott Thomsen and Brody Thomsen. Fourth to the flag was Jamie Usher, with a fast-finishing Jayden O’Toole snaring fifth.
A very small field of just nine cars faced the starter in the 15-lap Midget feature race but, with Michael Kendall starting from the third row after crashing out of his first heat and missing heat two altogether, he set forth on rounding up the leaders with a clinical display. Having moved to third after just five laps, Kendall swept around the outside of Boyd Chaffey and Brodie Tulloch to assume the lead after just eight circulations. Tulloch and Chaffey filled the minor placings, followed home by Tim Devine and Darren Dillon.
The Open Sedan A feature race saw Wayne Kirkman pounce late when Michael Taylor hesitated behind a lapped car, with Les Eisenmenger third.
The Open Sedan B saw Tim Swart pilot his speedy Cortina into victory lane, leading home Michael Laver and Jayden Marengo-Hartley.
A 31-car field hit the track for Sprintcar qualifying and it was little surprise to see Luke Oldfield emerge with KRE Fast Time, stopping the clock at 11.927. Corbet (11.998) was the only other driver to drop under 12 seconds and although both Newton (12.065) and Macedo (12.218) were slower, they topped their respective groups to join Oldfield in scoring maximum points. Other standouts were Morgan (12.024), Brent Kratzmann (12.115), Adam Butler (12,139) and Kelly (12.148).
The first attempt to get heat racing underway hadn’t even reached the green flag before Kevin Titman was spat out into a spin along the main straight. The restart saw Mark Pholi shoot to the front as Macedo immediately set about working forward from the outside of row three. Macedo climbed to second but, despite a very quick sub-13 second final lap, was unable to wrest the lead from Pholi, with Karl Hoffmans third.
Heat two followed an almost identical trajectory with Trent Vardy leaping clear of the field from pole position as Oldfield, also starting from the outside of row three, set forth on his mission. Emulating Macedo’s effort, Oldfield also climbed as far as second and was the only driver to drop under 13 seconds. However, he did come much closer to securing the win, falling short by just 0.172 in a frantic finish, leaving Morgan to wrangle third.
Heat three and, you guessed it, the person starting sixth again surged to second, although on this occasion it was the driver sharing the third row who prevailed with Kelly outpacing Newton and Kratzmann for the win.
Heat four was an effortless romp for Macedo from pole position, the WoO gun clocking a fastest lap almost a full second quicker than the next best, lapping several runners and eventually finishing more than eight seconds clear of Kevin Titman and Harry Stewart.
Heat five and Oldfield once again matched Macedo in blitzing the field from the front and having to negotiate lapped traffic on his way to an emphatic win over Morgan and Kratzmann.
Needing a win to stay level with Oldfield and Macedo in the standings, Newton seemed a certainty with a pole start in heat six. However, Kelly had other ideas and hunted down the lead to secure his second win of the night, with Newton home second in advance of Butler.
Fortunes fluctuated throughout the duration of the B Main, but there was no stopping Brad Ayres at the head of the field as he led Cody O’Connell, Mitch Gowland and Jack Bell to the chequer and into the feature race. Both Richard Morgan and James Kennedy occupied transfer spots at one stage, only to fall away in the closing stages.
Macedo and Oldfield finished equal top qualifiers, only for the jumble of the grid draw to result in them starting fifth and sixth respectively in the Boss Hogg’s Steakhouse Dash, with Butler landing on pole position. However, it was Morgan who launched from the outside front row and was unstoppable as he led home Oldfield, Macedo, Newton and Corbet, with Butler backsliding to sixth as Kelly and Hoffmans rounded out the field.
Having opted against chasing the extra money up for grabs via the Kratzmann Challenge in a bid to secure his maiden feature race win, Morgan started the feature race strongly, leading Oldfield, Macedo and Kelly, who started superbly to advance three spots in the opening laps. On lap nine, Macedo moved into second to begin his pursuit of Morgan, looming large as the race reached half distance before slipping into the lead on lap 17. Soon enough, Oldfield was monstering Morgan and moved into second spot, with Kelly also closing in. With Oldfield making inroads into Macedo’s lead, Morgan and Kelly would swap third before the latter emerged with the position. Within a couple of laps, Morgan had slipped to sixth as both Newton and Corbet climbed into the top five. Whilst Oldfield was able to narrow the gap to Macedo, an opportunity to seize the lead never materialised and Oldfield had to endure his first feature race defeat at Archerfield this season, albeit achieving the next best result behind one of the very best in the business. The order of Kelly, Newton, Corbet and Morgan remained unchanged, with Butler, Stewart, Titman and Ayers rounding out the top ten. The only casualty was Jack Bell, who tipped over in turn two on lap 18 to bring about the only restart.
When a pile-up in turn two on lap six eliminated race leader Tim Devine, second-placed Brad Dawson and opening night winner Michael Kendall, it was Darren Dillon who found himself gifted a win in the opening Midget heat. Chaffey and Tulloch filled the minor placings.
Darren Vine led the early laps of heat two until an engine misfire rendered him a spectator, enabling Tulloch to take the win in advance of Dawson and Dillon.
Chasing his maiden Midget feature win, Tulloch led the opening laps of the feature race ahead of Chaffey and Dawson as Kendall made instant inroads from further back. Running high on the track and rounding up his rivals with a minimum of fuss, Kandall was running third by lap five and had advanced to second after just seven laps before assuming the lead a lap later. Tulloch would finish three seconds adrift of the leader in second spot, leaving Chaffey, Devine, Dillon and Nelson Reddacliff as the remaining finishers.
Matt Hardy jumped to the lead in the opening AMCA Nationals heat but found himself unable to fend off the advances of Lee McKinnell when the challenge came. McKinnell took control on lap eight, with Price finishing in third spot.
Paul Reeves prevailed in heat two over Peter Greer, with Potts finishing third despite a best lap almost half a second quicker than anybody else.
With Bruce Marshall spinning in turn one on the opening lap of heat three and restarting from the rear, Queensland champ Tony Blanch took full advantage to lead home Nathan Tomkins and Robotham.
Potts proved too pacey in the final heat to lead home McKinnell and Graeme Holland, with Hardy and Price next best.
The B Main was a family affair as Gary Stacey and Nik Stacey clinched the top two spots, with Robert Warne also advancing to the feature.
Whilst it was McKinnell and Potts sharing the front row for the 20-lap feature race, it was Price who pounced to lead the field away, with Potts slotting into second spot ahead of McKinnell, Tomkins and Reeves. Initially putting some distance between himself and the field, Price soon found himself losing ground to Potts, who was using the highline to great effect. After several laps of side-by-side running, it was lap 15 when Potts was able to make the pass stick and secure the lead, leaving Price to fend off McKinnell, who slipped into second on lap 17, only for Price to surge back on the final lap and reclaim the runner-up spot. Tomkins, Holland and Russ Hardy were next in line, with Kevin Stow, Maverick Dack, Robotham and Scott Hitchcock rounding out the top ten.
The first of the Wingless Sprint heats saw Robert Mazzer set a sizzling pace to street the field to win by more than four seconds over Jayden O’Toole and Anthony Joyce, while heat two was a much closer affair with Scott Thomsen winning ahead of his brother Brody and Chris Catchpole.
Heat three was another one-sided affair as Jolley cleared away to win with ease, leaving Jamie Usher and Tim Harris to secure the minor placings.
Their closest finish of the night came in heat four when Ian Milnes survived the efforts of Scott Thomsen to prevail by just 0.283, with Dave Sansby third.
Heat five went the way of Nicholas Whell over Usher and Brody Thomsen, while the final heat of the night delivered the most spectacular moment when contact between Mazzer and Harris sent the latter into a series of somersaults along the back straight. Upon resumption, it was Ben Manson who held off Jolley and Tom Robertson for the win.
The B Main became a fait accompli after six laps when just four cars remained, meaning that Robertson, Jacob Waller, Shane Thompson and Zeth Cox would advance to the feature.
From pole position, Jolley jumped clear of the pack to lead the feature race field away and despite the best efforts of Scott Thomsen, who looked more and more ominous as the race progressed, Jolley would remain in control when the chequer appeared. Brody Thomsen snared third spot ahead of Usher, O’Toole and Manson, who were followed home by Matt Gamble, Chris Catchpole, Errol Campbell and Liam Atkinson.
Heat wins in Open Sedans A were shared between Wayne Kirkman and Michael Taylor and it was the latter who looked on track to also take the feature until a lack of decisive action in navigating a lapped car enabled Kirkman to pounce and snatch the win. Eisenmenger, Andrew Craft and Colin Morris completed the first five.
In Open Sedans B it was Merv Price and Tim Swart who split the heat wins between them before Swart went on to take the feature over Laver, Marengo-Hartley, Mark Anderson and Price.
The next meeting at Archerfield Speedway is on Boxing Night (December 26), featuring round four of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, along with Monster Trucks, Fireworks, Midgets and Modlites.