Schatz too strong and Dean doubles up
World of Outlaws superstar Donny Schatz wasted no time in reacquainting himself with victory lane at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway, chasing down Luke Oldfield to take out round seven of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Championship on Thursday night (December 26). Schatz was superb in his pursuit of Oldfield, pouncing on an error from the local hero to take control of the race on lap 17, with Australian champ Andrew Scheuerle finishing in third spot ahead of Callum Walker and Cody Maroske.
In round four of the American Tire and Racing Midget Series, Brock Dean pounced late in the race to grab his second consecutive feature race win, leading home Rusty Whittaker, Bodie Smith, Cal Whatmore and Darren Vine.
After a series of largely incident-free heat races, the Modlite feature race was plagued by interruptions and delays, none of which had any bearing on the outcome as Klinton Hancey saw off a strong challenge from runner-up Terry Leerentveld, who would find himself third at the flag behind Sam Gollschewsky.
A couple of late withdrawals, and a late arrival, left 27 cars to contest Sprintcar time trial qualifying. On a heavy track as a result of rain across Brisbane in the 24 hours prior, Oldfield (11.835) set the early benchmark and looked as though he might have done enough to remain on top, only for Bryan Mann (11.715), Tim Farrell (11.777) and Walker (11.820) to take advantage of their later run and relegate Oldfield to fourth. Schatz (11.892) was fifth quickest ahead of Scheuerle (11.896), with Mitchell Gee, Maroske, Mitch Gowland and Dan Murray rounding out the top ten. Unfortunately for Mann, he struggled to convert his advantage into a strong result.
The opening heat race went the way of Kevin Britten over Brent Kratzmann and Mark Pholi before heat two brought the crowd alive when Kristy Bonsey saw off the best efforts of Allan Woods to grab the win, with Schatz advancing to third.
Heat three was a cracker as Oldfield, at his barnstorming best, chased down Mick Sauer and charged around the outside in the final turn to snatch a thrilling win, leaving Walker third at the flag.
Oldfield was at it again in heat four, this time surging through the field to run down Woods and grab the lead along the back straight on the final lap, only to magnanimously move aside in the final turn and allow Woods to sneak home by just 0.088. Ryan McNamara finished third while, in contrast to her earlier heroics, a 7th-place finish proved costly for Bonsey, confining her to the B Main.
Having endured a setback early in proceedings that compromised his qualifying run, Titman bounced back strongly to win heat five from the front row, downing Schatz and Gee.
Sauer again led the field in the final heat, only to be rounded up this time by Kratzmann, with Farrell completing his best ever qualifying performance to finish third and secure a spot in the Dash.
Kevin Britten had the B Main safely in his keeping, only to find himself unable to avoid a spun Karl Hoffmans in turn four on lap 10, handing the lead and the race to Bonsey. Andrew Corbet and Murray were next best ahead of Jai Stephenson, whose persistence under adversity was rewarded. Having arrived at the circuit late and thereby missing time trials, Stephenson subsequently endured a roll over in his first heat and then a power steering failure in his second preliminary to leave him languishing. However, whilst many would have thrown in the towel under such circumstances, Stephenson soldiered on and advanced from the rear of the field to secure the final transfer spot into the feature race.
The Trax Tyre and Auto Dash saw Oldfield outpace the field to secure pole position for the feature before declining the opportunity to take the BK Trading Challenge and invert the field for the feature race, a decision that surprised many as it handed second-placed Schatz a front row start for the main event. Kratzmann finished third ahead of Scheuerle, Walker, Gee, Maroske and Farrell.
At the drop of the green, Oldfield wasted no time in distancing himself from Schatz as he led the field through the opening laps, surviving a scare on lap five that saw him launch onto the infield to avoid a spun Corbet in turn two. From the restart, Oldfield remained in control with Schatz in pursuit ahead of Scheuerle and Walker. As the race approached the halfway point, Schatz was closing in and pounced when Oldfield made an untidy exit from turn four on lap 16. From this point, Schatz was untroubled, despite a final restart on lap 29 following a spin from Andrew Baumber in turn three. Recording his fastest lap of the race just four laps from the finish, Schatz would lead Oldfield and Scheuerle to the flag, with Walker remaining in fourth. A last lap pass from Maroske would elevate him to fifth ahead of Titman, Kratzmann and Farrell. No doubt further back than he might have expected to be after setting KRE Quick Time at the start of the night, Mann finished ninth and was followed home by Bonsey, Murray, Ryan McNamara, Sauer and Baumber, with Stephenson, Gee, Woods, Corbet and Mitch Gowland failing to go the distance.
The opening heat in Midget competition saw Darren Vine chase down Brad Dawson before clearing away to win by more than five seconds, with Dawson remaining second ahead of Audie Malt.
Victoria’s Ashley Booker upstaged the locals in heat two, leading throughout to defeat Matt O’Neill and Smith.
Vine doubled up to win heat three in advance of Rusty Whittaker and Smith, with Brock Dean prevailing in the final preliminary over Glenn Wright and O’Neill.
Dean started the feature race from pole position but found himself shuffled back to fourth on the opening lap, as Vine launched into the lead, only to spin himself out of contention on lap two and hand Whittaker the lead from the restart ahead of Smith and Dean. Having quickly disposed of Smith, Dean set out after Whittaker as both drivers chased their second feature race win for the season. Running high on the track, Whittaker was seemingly able to counter every challenge from Dean, who was planted firmly on the pole line. However, when Dean edged ahead momentarily on lap 20, Whittaker adopted a defensive strategy and dropped to the bottom of the track, a decision that backfired immediately when he erred in his attempt to put Malt a lap in arrears, enabling Dean to snatch the lead and secure back-to-back feature race wins. Smith remained in third spot ahead of Cal Whatmore, with Vine surging back to finish fifth. Climbing as high as fourth at one stage, Chris Singleton would finish sixth, followed by O’Neill, Nathan Mathers, Scott Doyle and Dawson.
Whilst Modlite heat wins were shared around between Hancey, Leerentveld, Gollschewsky, Chris Were, Dan Lewis and Kyle Honour, the feature race was business as usual with Hancey and Leerentveld fighting it out at the front of the field and seemingly destined to fill the top two spots yet again. Whilst Hancey would ultimately emerge the victor, a last gasp surge from Gollschewsky enabled him to edge past Leerentveld in the sprint from the final turn to the chequer and snatch second spot by a mere .003 in a thrilling finish. Dan Lewis and Dylan Menz were the best of the rest, with Joel Smith, Scott Lehfeldt, Jac Carnall, Trent McLean and B Main winner Steve Collins rounding out the top ten.
Each of the four heats of Formula 500 Juniors produced a different winner, with Jy Corbet, Taylor Prosser, Ryan Newton and Kacy Lee Black sharing the spoils. Not so fortunate were Kyle Price and Kinser Claridge, both of whom crashed out in the opening heat.
Racing continues at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 28) with round eight of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship plus the final round of the Super Sedan Summer Slam, along with Lightning Sprints, Wingless Sprints and RSA Sedans.
Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway is proudly supported by:
East Coast Logistics
Queensland Speedway Spares