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Kicking Up The Dirt - Sprintcar Australian Open - Night Two
Joanne White posted Sunday January 8, 2017.

Kerry Madsen secured his second consecutive Sprintcar Australian Open at AusDeck Patios Archerfield Speedway last night in front of a massive crowd and in a field that included some of the best and toughest competition in the world. Madsen started the main event from pole position, with James McFadden alongside, but quickly took control of the 50-lap affair when the lights went green. Madsen led for the first eighteen laps before Donny Schatz made his way into the race lead. Schatz led for sixteen laps before Madsen got back past in lapped traffic and would go on to the take win while Donny Schatz, who had dropped back to third behind James McFadden with less than ten laps left to run, made a spectacular move on the outside of McFadden in the final corner to steal second and leave James McFadden in third. Carson Macedo made his way past both Luke Oldfield and Lachlan McHugh in the first five laps of the race, settling into fourth where he would remain for the rest of the race. McHugh followed Macedo for over 45-laps and crossed the line in fifth to be the first Queenslander home.

The night got underway with hot laps, on a very wet track, to get some heat into the engines. With qualifying already taken care of on Friday night it was straight into the heat events, with heat seven of the weekend first on the grid and Richard Morgan and Jack Lee to lead the field to the green. Lee got a great start on the high line and quickly secured the advantage over Morgan, with Dylan Menz settling into third. Andrew Liebke held down fourth but had Allan Woods, Andrew Scheuerle, Brooke Tatnell ad Donny Schatz right on his tail and searching for a way through. Scheuerle worked the bottom to make his way underneath Woods before turning his attention to Liebke, while Liebke had a big look on the inside of Menz heading into turn one. Scheuerle was fast and determined on the bottom, racing beautifully underneath Liebke just as he started looking under Menz. Schatz made his way underneath Woods and started searching for a way past Liebke, but contact between Woods and Tatnell behind them brought the race to a stop. Tatnell was attempting an inside passing move on Woods through turn two when contact between the pair ended with both drivers inverting their cars. Both drivers walked away from the crash, though neither was able to restart the race. The W2 racer of Tatnell reportedly suffered enough damage to end his night, the team transporter promptly leaving the track soon after. Lee led the restart from Morgan and Menz with eight laps left to run. Scheuerle made short work of displacing Menz from third, while Donny Schatz almost effortlessly ran around the outside of Andrew Liebke, leaving Liebke to try and defend his position from Kerry Madsen and Lachlan McHugh. Madsen quickly made his way past but left McHugh and Liebke to their own battle, while Andrew Scheuerle was all over the back of Richard Morgan, and Madsen caught Menz and Schatz, the trio having a brilliant battle with Menz having a great run against some of the best in the world. McHugh made it past Liebke and soon found himself on the tail of Menz, while Madsen and Schatz had cleared away as they tried to close the gap to Scheuerle and Morgan. Scheuerle slipped under Morgan through turn three on the final lap but there was no stopping Jack Lee out in front as he took the win. Andrew Scheuerle crossed the line in second ahead of Richard Morgan, Donny Schatz and Kerry Madsen. Dylan Menz finished in sixth ahead of Lachlan McHugh, Andrew Liebke and James Grady, while Allan Woods and Brooke Tatnell did not finish the event.

Heat eight started with Chris Harrison from the Northern Territory from pole position while Western Australian based racer Jason Pryde shared the front row ahead of South East Queensland locals Dave Whell and Cody Maroske. Harrison got a great start and led the field towards the first corner, however Pryde had incredible momentum on the high line and quickly powered around the top to secure the race lead. Harrison settled into second while Peter Lack and Brent Kratzmann searched for a way past Dave Whell. Lack took to the high side but ran too wide in turn four, allowing Kratzmann to race through underneath with Kratzmann now chasing Whell and Lack defending his position from Lucas Wolfe, Carson Macedo, Jamie Veal and Darren Jensen for a few laps. Lack soon closed the gap to Kratzmann and Whell, sliding beautifully underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn four, and while Kratzmann tried to fight back he could not quite get the job done. Jensen was all over the back of Veal, while Macedo made sure Wolfe knew he had a challenge for his position. Lack was absolutely relentless on the back of Whell, having a couple of big looks on the inside of the Q9 racer, while Kratzmann remained on his tail and ready to make his move. Jason Pryde took the win ahead of Chris Harrison and Cody Maroske, the leading trio never troubled by the rest of the field. Dave Whell managed to hold off the hard charging Peter Lack to finish fourth while Lack was fifth across the line ahead of Brent Kratzmann, Lucas Wolfe, Carson Macedo, Jamie Veal and Darren Jensen.

Jayden Peacock and Andrew Corbet shared the front row for the start of heat nine, with Logan Schuchart and Brayden Willmington from the second row. Corbet got a magnificent start on the high line and quickly secured the lead ahead of Peacock, while Willmington briefly held third until Logan Schuchart came charging through on the bottom. Corbet ran a little wide in turn four, allowing Peacock to steal control of the race, while Willmington faded through the field and Luke Oldfield tried to run up the inside of both Daniel Harding and David Murcott as they rounded turn four. Murcott was the first of the trio to make it out of turn four and immediately turned his attention to James McFadden, following him underneath Willmington and setting out after Bryan Mann. Mann raced around the outside of Mitchell Gee, while McFadden raced around Gee before diving underneath Mann. Schuchart was all over the back of Corbet, but within a few laps McFadden had closed in and raced under Schuchart. Corbet ran a great race, withstanding enormous pressure from McFadden and Schuchart for several laps, with McFadden eventually getting through on the bottom of turn one. Jayden Peacock took the win ahead of James McFadden and Andrew Corbet, with Logan Schuchart crossing the line fourth and leading Bryan Mann, Mitchell Gee, David Murcott, Daniel Harding, Luke Oldfield and Brayden Willmington across the line.

The tenth heat of the weekend started with Jason Pryde and Richard Morgan from the front row, with Cody Maroske and Andrew Liebke to share the second row of the grid. Morgan got a brilliant start on the top side and quickly raced into the race lead, almost instantly opening a comfortable margin over Pryde and Liebke as they argued over second. Liebke searched high and low for a way around Pryde, but soon had Andrew Scheuerle on his tail. Scheuerle had an inspiring run around the outside of Liebke before sliding under Pryde less than half a lap later. Liebke was left chasing Pryde but with Donny Schatz now on his tail, as Scheuerle focused on closing in on Morgan and the race lead. Liebke and Schatz raced under Pryde in quick succession, while Schatz had a brief look under Liebke as they argued over position. Schatz seemed content to follow Liebke for several laps, studying his opposition and ready to make a move when the right opportunity arose, while behind them Peter Lack and Carson Macedo had their own battle unfolding for mid-field positions. Andrew Scheuerle was all over the tail tank of the Q54 racer of Morgan, stealing the lead just as Schatz made his way though on the inside of Liebke. Just one lap later and Morgan was under pressure from Schatz, while Kerry Madsen joined the battle between Lack and Macedo. Andrew Scheuerle went on to take the win ahead of Donny Schatz, who had managed to get the better of Richard Morgan to finish second. Morgan finished third and led Andrew Liebke, Peter Lack, Carson Macedo, Kerry Madsen, Jason Pryde, Darren Jensen, Cody Maroske and James Grady across the line.

Jack Lee started heat eleven from pole position with Jayden Peacock alongside and Dylan Menz and Logan Schuchart from the second row. Lee got the jump on the start and while Peacock challenged on the high side as they raced into turn one, it was Lee who secured the lead while Schuchart swiftly raced under Peacock to secure second with only half a lap complete. Lachlan McHugh was on a charge on the bottom, racing underneath Allan Woods just as Daniel Harding went around the outside. McHugh then raced beautifully underneath both Bryan Mann and Dylan Menz in one beautiful move on the low line through turns three and four, before setting his sights on Jayden Peacock. Mann raced under Menz with Oldfield and Harding following a lap later, while McHugh caught Peacock and slid underneath the Q77 racer in turn three. With McHugh high on the track in turn four Peacock tried to race back under the Q23 racer but contact between the two ended with McHugh inverting the Ian Boettcher Race Parts car coming out of the turn. McHugh was unscathed in the incident, and had some somewhat scathing remarks about the incident, but was unable to restart the event. Lee led the restart from Schuchart and Peacock but it was the action at the back of the field that captivated the crowd, with Allan Woods racing up the inside of Daniel Harding and Dylan Menz in turn three, only for Menz to fight back on the top side in turn four to maintain his position, while Harding came back on the bottom as well. Luke Oldfield and Bryan Mann battled mid field but less than two laps into the restart and Woods, who had just raced back underneath Menz, spun the Q28 racer in turn four, leaving Menz nowhere to go. Contact between the pair tipped Woods on his side in a somewhat gentle roll, and while he suffered damage to his main wing, for the second time of the night, Woods actually managed to restart at the rear of the field. Lee once again led the restart from Schuchart and Peacock, with Bryan Mann getting underneath Luke Oldfield when Oldfield hit a rut in turn two. Mann set out after Peacock, with Oldfield now closing in fast, eventually sliding under the Q77 racer as they raced through turn three. Peacock tried to come back on the inside but could not quite make it work, with Oldfield managing to get by underneath Peacock with just half a lap left to run. Jack Lee took the win ahead of Logan Schuchart and Bryan Mann with Luke Oldfield fourth across the line and leading Jayden Peacock, Daniel Harding, Dylan Menz and Allan Woods across the line. Lachlan McHugh was the only driver who did not finish the race.

Heat twelve, the final heat event of the weekend, saw Andrew Corbet start from pole position, with Chris Harrison alongside and Brayden Willmington and Dave Whell sharing the second row. Harrison got the jump when the green flag flew with Corbet in second ahead of Whell, while Mitchell Gee tried to run the low line from position five on the starting grid. Brent Kratzmann, who had started from position six, immediately committed to the high line to race around Gee, securing the advantage over the Q36 racer and setting his sights on Willmington and Corbet. Willmington raced under Corbet early on the second lap, with Gee then racing under Kratzmann through turn three. Kratzmann immediately fired back, returning serve and sliding straight back underneath Gee and then using the low side of swiftly make his way under Corbet less than half a lap later. Gee made his way past Corbet at the other end of the track while Kratzmann had the Q2 racer simply flying as he weaved his way past Willmington and started to close the gap to Whell. Harrison had a moment in turn four with six laps to go, almost bringing Kratzmann undone and causing a chain reaction through the field with Gee getting into the back of Willmington as they both took evasive action, and David Murcott climbing up the back of the Q36 racer of Gee. Somehow though all drivers managed to remain upright, untangle themselves and keep moving to avoid a stoppage. Dave Whell inherited the race lead with Kratzmann now up to second, while further back in the field Lucas Wolfe, James McFadden, David Murcott and Jamie Veal all tried to make their way closer to the front. Whell had a sizable lead but with every passing lap Kratzmann edged closer and before long Whell found himself under immense pressure as the pair argued over the race lead. Kratzmann put the car wherever he needed it to be and within a couple of laps raced underneath Whell to steal the lead before immediately opening a lead of several car lengths on his rival. Brent Kratzmann went on to take the win, over a quarter of a lap ahead of Dave Whell and Brayden Willmington, with James McFadden in fourth and Andrew Corbet crossing the line in fifth. Lucas Wolfe finished in a respectable sixth place and led David Murcott, Jamie Veal, Chris Harrison and Mitchell Gee, who had suffered a flat right rear in the turn four kerfuffle, past the chequered flag.

The top eight qualifiers took to the track for three Shootout events, with Luke Oldfield, Jamie Veal, Andrew Scheuerle and Lachlan McHugh first up in the Bronze Shootout. Luke Oldfield was the quickest of the lot, stopping the clock at 12.045 seconds, with Lachlan McHugh (12.088) second quickest. Both Oldfield and McHugh would transfer to the Silver Shootout while Andrew Scheuerle (12.210) and Jamie Veal (12.331) were eliminated from the event. All four drivers completed their fastest lap on the last qualifying lap.

Kerry Madsen and Carson Macedo joined Luke Oldfield and Lachlan McHugh on track for the Silver Shootout. After three qualifying laps it was current Australian Champion, and defending Australian Open Champion, Kerry Madsen who held the top spot, stopping the clock at a blistering 11.735 seconds, a staggering 0.346 seconds quicker than Lachlan McHugh (12.081) in second. Madsen and McHugh would transfer to the Gold Shootout, while Carson Macedo, who missed a transfer by just two thousandths of a second after stopping the clock at 12.083 seconds. Luke Oldfield finished fourth in the Silver Shootout.

The Gold Shootout rolled onto the track with Kerry Madsen and Lachlan McHugh being joined by James McFadden and Donny Schatz for three more qualifying laps. Kerry Madsen again dominated, his 11.718 second lap enough to earn him pole position for the main race, while James McFadden would share the front row for the start of the A-Main after going second quickest and stopping the clock at 11.883 seconds. Lachlan McHugh (12.081, identical to his time in the Silver Shootout and six thousandths of a second quicker than his Bronze Shootout time) and Donny Schatz (12.194) rounded out the finishers in the Gold Shootout.

Sixteen cars lined up for the start of the B-Main event, with Bryan Mann and Jack Lee from the front row. Mann got a great start on the bottom and managed to get his nose in front, but Lee was too quick on the high side and managed to secure the lead by the time they exited turn two. Mitchell Gee settled into third but was under pressure from Allan Woods, while at the back of the field Andrew Liebke tried to find his way underneath Jayden Peacock and Chris Harrison. Richard Morgan and Cody Maroske had a brilliant race amongst themselves for much of the race, the pair exchanging positions several times as the laps wore away. Andrew Corbet and Jayden Peacock had a thrilling battle for a number of laps, while Andrew Liebke chased down Jason Pryde. Morgan and Maroske soon caught Dave Whell and the trio really put on a spectacular show for the fans and they argued over the final transfer position to the A-Main. The 20-lap affair ran from flag-to-flag without incident, and with all sixteen starters making it to the chequered flag, with Jack Lee taking the win ahead of Bryan Mann, Logan Schuchart, Mitchell Gee and Allan Woods, with Dave Whell securing the sixth and final transfer to the main race. Cody Maroske crossed the line in an impressive seventh and led Brayden Willmington, Richard Morgan, Dylan Menz, Andrew Corbet, Andrew Liebke, Jason Pryde, Chris Harrison, Jayden Peacock and James Grady home.

A Star-studded field of twenty cars rolled out for the fifty-lap A-Main event, with a $20,000 payday for the winner. Defending Australian Open Champion Kerry Madsen elected to start from the outside of the front row with James McFadden alongside and Lachlan McHugh and Donny Schatz filling the second row of the starting grid. McFadden and Madsen raced side-by-side into turn one but it was Madsen who took control of the race, leaving McFadden in second and Schatz in third. Further back in the field Peter Lack tried to race up the inside of Andrew Scheuerle while David Murcott tried to race up the inside of Brent Kratzmann just as Darren Jensen tried to get underneath Murcott. Jensen ended up looping the Q75 racer on the edge of the infield in turn one and loosing a lot of ground, but rejoined the race at the rear of the field without causing a stoppage. Lack made it past Scheuerle, Jamie Veal and Luke Oldfield and set his focus on Carson Macedo, only for Oldfield to fight back hard and race back past Lack in turn one to regain his position. Brent Kratzmann and David Murcott had a thrilling battle mid-field, the pair exchanging positions several times, while Peter Lack tried to defend his position from Jamie Veal and Andrew Scheuerle. Logan Schuchart was on the move, making impressive progress through the field in the first five laps, with Daniel Harding trying to follow him through. The only stoppage of the race came eight laps in when Harding spun the W12 racer in turn four.

Kerry Madsen led the restart from James McFadden and Donny Schatz but the mid field battle between Luke Oldfield, Peter Lack, Jamie Veal and Andrew Scheuerle was captivating, while Logan Schuchart continued his calculated drive closer to the front of the field. Veal ran the bottom and had a big look underneath Lack, but Scheuerle was on the top side and managed to get ahead of Veal, while Logan Schuchart and Lucas Wolfe raced wheel-to-wheel behind them. Veal unexpectedly pulled out of the race while Brant Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee argued over track position. Gee hit a rut in turn four, allowing Kratzmann to get away a little, while Jack Lee capitalized and made his way underneath Gee. Daniel Harding and Dave Whell came together in turn four, the pair becoming tangled and spinning onto the infield shortly before turn one. As the pair moved down they were able to separate their cars, both rejoining the track in the middle of the back straight. Harding slowed to a stop on the very edge of the infield in turn three, while Whell rejoined the race and completed a couple more laps before pulled out of the race and parking on the infield in turn three. Meanwhile, Schatz had displaced McFadden from second and was closing in on Madsen in the race lead, the pair seemingly effortlessly weaving their way through lapped traffic, with Schatz stealing the lead from Madsen with just over thirty laps left to run. Mitchell Gee found his way past Brent Kratzmann and set out after David Murcott, Logan Schuchart, Lucas Wolfe, Peter Lack and Andrew Scheuerle. Luke Oldfield was all over the back of Lachlan McHugh, the pair holding nothing back and putting on a spectacular show for the crowd. Oldfield slammed the back straight wall hard with his right rear as they approached turn three and instead of slowing down seemed to use the wall for added momentum. Unfortunately for Oldfield less than a lap later the right rear tyre on the Q17 racer was completely flat and he faded quickly. Oldfield persisted for several laps before trying to pull out of the race and onto the safety of the infield. While Oldfield tried to make his way from the circuit in turn two, he was unaware that the race leaders, and several other competitors were in an intense battle right behind him. When Mitchell Gee drifted higher to avoid Oldfield, Donny Schatz got momentarily caught behind him and a small gap opened mid track. Kerry Madsen didn’t hesitate and quickly raced through the gap, straight underneath Schatz to regain the lead with about sixteen laps left to run. Schatz stayed with him, challenging Madsen at almost every turn, but Madsen continued to prevail and soon managed to get a couple of lapped cars between himself and the eight-time World of Outlaws Champion. Schatz soon had James McFadden to worry about, the two-time former Australian Champion closing in quickly in lapped traffic and stealing second when Schatz ran a fraction too high in turn four. With less than ten laps to run Schatz took to the high line and began to challenge McFadden for position, while Logan Schuchart made his way underneath Andrew Scheuerle. Kerry Madsen lapped up to and including eighth place as he raced to his second consecutive Sprintcar Australian Open win, while Donny Schatz got around James McFadden in the final corner to steal second within sight of the chequered flag. James McFadden was forced to settle for third with Carson Macedo in fourth and our own Lachlan McHugh rounding out the top five. Lucas Wolfe finished sixth while Logan Schuchart crossed the line in seventh after a spectacular run and originally transferring from the B-Main. Schuchart was the last car on the leading lap, with Andrew Scheuerle, Mitchell Gee and David Murcott completing the top ten finishers. Peter Lack crossed the line in eleventh and led Brent Kratzmann, Darren Jensen, Jack Lee and Allan Woods past the chequered flag. Luke Oldfield, Dave Whell, Daniel Harding, Jamie Veal and Bryan Mann all failed to finish the event.

It has been a massive fortnight of Sprintcar racing here in South East Queensland and we cannot thank all the drivers, teams, family, friends, supporters, fans, volunteers and sponsors enough for what has been a truly exceptional couple of weeks of racing. It has been an absolute blast and it could not have happened without everyone involved.

For most us at Sprintcars Queensland there are now a number of weeks off, while some of us will venture south for any number of huge Sprintcar Racing events being hosted by the Southern states. It all starts with the Origin of Speed on Thursday Night, followed by the Scott Darley Challenge, Presidents Cup, Kings Challenge, the 45th Lucas Oils Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic and then, finally, the 55th Australian Sprintcar Title.

Our next race meeting here in South East Queensland will be Saturday 04 February 2017 at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba for the Ultimate Footy Fan Night featuring the Kratzmann Caravans Firecracker 50. After that we will return the AusDeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday 18 February 2017 for another round of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship. To anyone travelling south for the up-coming events over the next couple weeks, we wish you safe travels and good luck and, for any Sprintcars Queensland teams competing, plenty of success. See you all track side!


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