Kicking Up The Dirt - East Coast Logistics Series - Round 9
Joanne White posted Tuesday January 2, 2018.
It seems to have became normal for us this season but Mother Nature once again played a huge part in last nights running of Round Nine of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series at Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway. Qualifying was just wrapping up and light rain began to fall across the venue, the track receiving just the very edge of a nasty storm which side-swiped the speedway. After a short rain delay, Archerfield Speedway promoter John Kelly graded the track to bring it back into a usable condition, while once again adjusting the Sprintcar format to run akin to the World of Outlaws format. Logan Schuchart, back after motor issues curtailed his last Archerfield Speedway outing, was again phenomenal in the Motorguard Motorsport USA1 racer, and, after winning his heat event and the top-eight Dash, went on to lead every lap of the A-Main race. Schuchart was unstoppable out in front and while Donny Schatz came from ninth to challenge for control of the race two thirds of the way through the 35-lap journey, Schuchart stood his ground. Schatz uncharacteristically spun the USA15 racer to a stop and was forced to the rear of the field with ten laps left to run. Schatz managed to climb back as high as eighth place in those final eleven laps, and Logan Schuchart was unchallenged for the rest of the race before taking the second win of this Australian trip. Joining him on the podium was Kaiden Manders and American Lucas Wolfe, who had started from position ten only to be relegated to the rear of the field after being involved in an opening lap incident. It was a sensational drive from Wolfe to come from the rear of the nineteen-car field and secure a podium, and it will certainly be interesting to see what he can do if he starts towards the front. Mark Pholi was the best of the locals, coming home a very solid fourth, while Allan Woods rounded out the top five after another very consistent run. Mitchell Gee had an inspiring run in the Q36 Titan Garages and Carports racer, initially starting from position ten in the B-Main and coming ever so close to earning a transfer, before electing to use his provisional to start the A-Main from position nineteen. Gee managed to make his way up to a very impressive sixth by the fall of the chequered flag.
Qualifying got underway on a very dry and slick track and once again it was the first group on the track for qualifying who set an unbeatable benchmark. Steve Greer locked in a 12.650 second lap to secure quick time, while Steven White was second quickest with a 12.712 second lap, narrowly beating Andrew Corbet who stopped the clock at 12.767 seconds. Kaiden Manders and Mark Pholi rounded out the fastest five and were the only other drivers to make it inside the 12-second bracket, while Allan Woods, Cody Maroske, Stewart Craig, Mitch Gowland and Bryan Mann rounded out the top ten qualifiers. The top twenty-three drivers were separated by less than one second, while deep in the qualifying order Luke Oldfield beat Andrew Scheuerle by just one thousandth of a second. While light rain soon fell over the speedway and instigated a change in the format, had there still been an inversion for the start of the heats, Mitchell Gee, Lucas Wolfe, Brock Dean, Brent Kratzmann, Dylan Menz, Steve Rowell and Dave Whell were among the drivers who would have failed to make the inversion, each driver having been in a later group for qualifying and struggling with trying track conditions.
With the format changed to the World of Outlaws format we were reduced to just four heats once again, with the fastest qualifiers starting from the front, and only the top four finishers making it directly into the A-Main. Steve Greer and Mark Pholi shared the front row for the start of heat one, with Pholi getting a brilliant start on the high line and quickly securing the race lead. Donny Schatz quickly settled into third and started putting the pressure on Greer as he searched for a way into second, while Andrew Scheuerle and Brock Dean used the high line on the start to make their way around Kristy Bonsey and Mitch Gowland. Mitchell Gee had some phenomenal speed in the Q36 racer and after a poor qualifying result was determined to make up lost ground. With less than half a lap completed Gee had raced underneath Bonsey in turn one before getting through on the inside of both Gowland and Dean in the second corner and setting out after Scheuerle and Schatz. Dean briefly challenged Gee for position but Gee soon pulled away and started searching for a way past Scheuerle, while Greer came under increasing pressure from Donny Schatz as they argued over second. Mark Pholi was very comfortable in the race lead, though when he got caught behind lapped traffic both Greer and Schatz started closing in. In the end though it was Mark Pholi who got the win, while Steve Greer managed to hold off Donny Schatz and Andrew Scheuerle to finish second. Schatz and Scheuerle were next across the line, the pair earning their places in the A-Main, while Mitchell Gee crossed the line in fifth and led Brock Dean, Mitch Gowland, Dave Whell and Kristy Bonsey across the line.
Heat two saw Steven White from pole position with Allan Woods alongside, while Bryan Mann and Nelson Reddacliff filled the second row. White and Woods race side-by-side down the main straight went the lights went green, but Woods was too quick on the top and quickly secured the race lead. White settled into second while behind him Mann got the better of Reddacliff on the bottom, while Peter Lack worked the top side, racing around Reddacliff with only half a lap completed, before challenging Mann for third. It was a great battle unfolding between the pair but a mechanical issue on board the Q5 racer of Lack saw him suddenly slow before limping from the race circuit. Lucas Wolfe happily took his place in his battle with Mann, the American soon on the tail of the Q16 racer and putting all kinds of pressure on Mann as they fought over third and fourth. Mann and Wolfe also began closing the gap to White, with Mann wasting no time at all in racing around the outside of White to secure second. White managed to keep the hard-charging American at bay for half a lap further before Wolfe made it look easy as he too raced around the top side and relegated White back to fourth. Wolfe closed in on Mann once more and began challenging for second, while Brent Kratzmann began closing in on Steven White. Allan Woods easily got the win, untroubled for the lead, with Bryan Mann home in second ahead of Lucas Wolfe. Steven White crossed the line in fourth to earn the final transfer to the feature for the heat, leading Brent Kratzmann, Karl Hoffmans, Nelson Reddacliff and Liam Atkinson across the line. Peter Lack did not finish the event.
Andrew Corbet started heat three from pole position with young gun Cody Maroske alongside. Corbet managed to secure the lead in advance of Maroske when the lights went green, with Brodie Tulloch settling into third ahead of Darren Jensen while deeper in the field Bryan Zelinski and Simon Jupe argued over the minor positions, allowing Dylan Menz to slip through on the inside and advance two positions on the opening lap of the race. Lynton Jeffrey raced through on the inside of Brodie Tulloch, leaving Tulloch to try and defend his position from Menz, while Jensen, who had already displaced Tulloch from third, began searching for a way past Maroske. Jensen was persistent and relentless, but patiently waited for the timing to be right before racing underneath Maroske as they exited turn two with only a handful of laps remaining. Maroske came back hard, searching high and low for a way back past Jensen, but the race was soon brought back under caution when Bryan Zelinski spun the NQ71 racer to a stop in turn four. Corbet led the restart from Jensen and Maroske and while Lynton Jeffrey had a massive look underneath Maroske as they approached turn three, behind them Simon Jupe looped the Q49 racer in turn two, leaving Zelinski nowhere to go. Corbet again led the restart from Jensen and Maroske, with Jeffrey still looking to advance from fourth. Jensen was all over the back of Corbet, searching high and low for a way through, while both Jeffrey and Tulloch were able to capitalise on a mistake from Maroske in turn two that saw him surrender several positions. Maroske fought Tulloch all the way to the line, racing underneath the Q43 racer in turn three of the final lap, only to get the exit of turn four wrong and allow Tulloch back though as they approached the chequered flag. Andrew Corbet secured the win ahead of Darren Jensen and Lynton Jeffrey, with Brodie Tulloch across the line in fourth to secure his spot in the A-Main. Cody Maroske finished fifth ahead of Dylan Menz, Simon Jupe and Bryan Zelinski.
Kaiden Manders started the fourth and final heat from pole position with Stewart Craig alongside. Manders secured the lead ahead of Craig, while Logan Schuchart and Adam Butler fought over third and fourth. Luke Oldfield started the event from position five and quickly began searching for a way closer to the front, initially darting to the top side to try and get around Butler and Schuchart before switching back to the bottom and diving underneath Schuchart as they rounded turn two. Still committed to the bottom Oldfield had Butler in his sights, all while Butler was looking for a way past Craig, with Oldfield making his way underneath Butler in turn four before keeping the momentum going and getting past Craig as they completed the first lap of the race. Schuchart too, committed to the bottom, made his way past both Butler and Craig in quick succession, before turning his attention to Oldfield. Schuchart returned to the high line and quickly chipped away at the gap Oldfield had created, spending just a couple of laps closing the gap before powering around the outside of Oldfield and immediately setting out after Manders and the race lead. Putting the car wherever he needed to, Schuchart soon caught Manders, swiftly swapping back to the bottom and racing beautifully underneath the Q83 racer to steal the lead. Mid-field Craig and Butler were coming under increasing pressure from Callum Walker, the trio putting on a great show as they negotiated over the minor places. Logan Schuchart was first to greet the chequered flag, with Kaiden Manders, Luke Oldfield and Stewart Craig all earning spots in the A-Main after filling the first four finishing spots in heat four. Adam Butler, Callum Walker, Paul Rooks and Tim Ford rounded out the finishers.
Bryan Mann and Steve Greer led the field to the green for the six-lap Dash event, with Mann easily securing the lead while Logan Schuchart raced up the inside of Greer to settle into second. Allan Woods quickly moved ahead of Andrew Corbet to lock into third, while Corbet came under immense pressure from Kaiden Manders. Mark Pholi has really stepped up his racing recently and has been ultra-competitive of late, especially in the past few race meetings, and made it look easy as he piloted the Q14 racer around the Archerfield circuit. Pholi raced underneath Manders as they rounded turn two, only for Manders to quickly return serve as the pair navigated turn three. Half a lap later and Manders found his way past Corbet, leaving Corbet with both Pholi and Darren Jensen on his tail. Woods raced spectacularly around the outside of Greer, while at the front of the field the battle between Mann and Schuchart was starting to heat up. Mann held onto the lead for several laps before Schuchart got through on the bottom, and while Mann tried to fight back there was little he could do. Logan Schuchart got the win, earning pole position for the start of the A-Main, while Bryan Mann crossed the line in second and led Allan Woods, Kaiden Manders, Steve Greer, Mark Pholi, Andrew Corbet and Darren Jensen home.
A huge field of eighteen cars took to the track for the 15-lap B-main event, with Cody Maroske and Mitch Gowland to lead them away. Maroske got the jump and secured the lead in advance of Gowland, while Nelson Reddacliff and Adam Butler came together coming out of turn two, and Kristy Bonsey capitalised on their mistake and raced up the inside to secure third. Peter Lack made his way from eighth to fourth by the end of the first lap, on a mission to make it inside the top two, while Mitchell Gee and Nelson Reddacliff exchanged positions a couple of times and Brent Kratzmann made his way underneath Karl Hoffmans and Callum Walker. Kratzmann had a big but unsuccessful look under Gee before Gee tried to race around Simon Jupe. Just ahead of them Butler and Reddacliff continued their battle and come together once more as they headed down the back straight. Reddacliff almost came together with Jupe as well, but damage suffered to the front end of the Q85 racer saw Reddacliff spin to a stop exiting turn three. Maroske led the restart from Gowland and Lack with Bonsey doing a remarkable job in fourth. When the race resumed Lack was all over the back of Gowland but it was hard not to watch Gee as he took to the high line and raced around Jupe before setting his sights on Bonsey. Kratzmann challenged Butler for the minor positions, with the pair soon catching the tail of Jupe, while behind them Brock Dean and Dave Whell closed in. Dean raced his way underneath Kratzmann, with Whell looking to follow him though, only for Kratzmann to charge back hard straight between the pair and back onto the tail of Butler. The battle between Kratzmann, Dean and Whell lasted several laps, only halted by a caution for the spun car of Liam Atkinson in turn three. Maroske led the restart from Lack and Gowland, with Mitchell Gee up to an impressive fourth with five laps still to run. Gee took to the high line to try and get past Gowland, while Kratzmann also ventured to the topside as he searched for a way around Butler. The race however promptly brought back under caution when an incident in turn two saw Brock Dean, Paul Rooks and Dave Whell involved, with Whell inverting the Q4 racer. Maroske again led the restart from Lack and Gowland and while both Gee and Kratzmann again took to the higher line, Peter Lack committed to the bottom and raced underneath Maroske to steal the lead. Tim Ford brought the race under caution a few laps later when he spun the Q70 racer in turn three, leaving Lack to lead the restart with two laps to run. Mitchell Gee took the green from fourth but quickly raced underneath Gowland to steal third and set his sights on Maroske and the final transfer to the A-Main. Gee held nothing back and searched high and low for a way past when, with less than a lap left to run, chaos unfolded behind them with Kratzmann, Hoffmans, Jupe, Walker and Zelinski all involved. Hoffmans was the only car able to restart the event. It was a green-white-chequer two-lap dash to the finish with Lack again leading the restart, but all eyes were on Maroske and Gee as the fought over the last transfer position. Gee again threw everything he had at finding a way past Maroske but one last look on the bottom saw Gee spin the Q36 racer in the final corner. Peter Lack got the win ahead of Cody Maroske, the pair earning a start in the feature event, with Mitch Gowland finishing third ahead of Kristy Bonsey, Adam Butler, Liam Atkinson, Tim Ford, Karl Hoffmans and Mitchell Gee. Simon Jupe, Brent Kratzmann, Callum Walker, Bryan Zelinski, Brock Dean, Dave Whell, Paul Rooks and Nelson Reddacliff all failed to finish a very action-packed B-Main. Mitchell Gee elected to use his provisional, an option available to each of our East Coast Logistics Series drivers, once only, over the course of the series, to start nineteenth in the A-Main.
It was an impressive field of nineteen cars that rolled onto the track for the start of the 35-lap A-Main race, and they sure did not disappoint. Logan Schuchart and Bryan Man led them to the green with Schuchart getting a sensational start and quickly securing the race lead while Allan Woods raced straight past Mann to secure second. Andrew Corbet and Steve Greer raced up the inside of Mark Pholi with Donny Schatz right on their tail, while Lynton Jeffrey raced up the inside of Darren Jensen just as Lucas Wolfe went around the top side. Schatz made his way under Pholi in turn two before racing up the inside of Corbet, but disaster struck behind them when Jensen rode the right rear of Jeffrey entering turn three. As Jensen headed towards the fence, Jeffrey came together with Wolfe, who had being trying to get through on the inside to escape the carnage, leaving Wolfe stranded in the middle of turn three facing the oncoming field. The rest of the field took evasive action, with Andrew Scheuerle and Luke Oldfield managing to squeeze around the topside of Wolfe, while Stewart Craig tried unsuccessfully to get through on the bottom. Steven White and Peter Lack were already committed to the high side, and while White managed to slip through between the still crashing Jensen and the now stranded Wolfe, the completely luckless Lack clipped Jensen on his way through and inverted the Q5 racer. All drivers were unscathed in the incident, with Jensen the only one unable to restart.
A full restart followed with Logan Schuchart again getting a brilliant start and securing the lead while Allan Woods again got the better of Bryan Mann, with Mann quickly surrendering another position to Kaiden Manders. Donny Schatz raced straight up the inside of Luke Oldfield, Andrew Corbet and Mark Pholi to advance three positions before the first corner, with Steve Greer next in his crosshairs. Manders, with Mann right on his tail, was looking for a way underneath Woods, while deeper in the field Lynton Jeffrey and Steven White raced side-by-side until Jeffrey emerged in front and started searching for a way past Oldfield, Corbet and Pholi. Andrew Scheuerle made his way underneath White and Corbet, with Lucas Wolfe and Mitchell Gee following a few laps later, while Oldfield ran around the outside of Woods, with Scheuerle closing in fast. Schatz and Pholi relegated Steve Greer a couple of positions further back, with Schatz closing in on Mann, while Oldfield and Scheuerle had their own battle unfolding mid-field as they fought over track position while trying to find a way past Jeffrey. Pholi had a big look on the inside of Schatz as Schatz tried to get underneath Mann, while Jeffrey and Wolfe joined Oldfield and Scheuerle fighting over the minor positions. Schatz finally cleared Mann, leaving Mann to try and defend his position from a very much in-form Mark Pholi, with Pholi spending only a couple of laps searching for a way through before making his move. Scheuerle had managed to open a small margin over Oldfield, Wolfe and Jeffrey, and was all over the back of Greer, all the while closing in on Bryan Mann. Mann faded quickly on the topside, with both Greer and Scheuerle quickly finding their way through, while Oldfield and Wolfe traded places several times on the tail of Jeffrey. Wolfe had a brilliant run on the bottom and, coming out of turn four, raced exquisitely up the inside of both Oldfield and Jeffrey before getting by the inside of Mann half a lap later. Mitchell Gee was on a charge from the back of the field and, once he made his way past Steven White, joined the battle for the minor positions, challenging Oldfield for position for several laps but not quite getting the job done. Steven White began searching for a way past Bryan Mann, with race leader Schuchart coming up behind as he weaved his way through the back markers. White and Mann raced wheel-to-wheel for several laps, with Mann ultimately managing to hang on to his position, but the battle slowed Schuchart enough that Schatz, who had made his way into second, was now on his tail. The race was however quickly brought under caution when Luke Oldfield spun the Q17 racer in turn four with eleven laps left to run.
Logan Schuchart led the restart from Donny Schatz and Allan Woods, with Lucas Wolfe up to seventh and Mitchell Gee sitting in tenth. On the restart neither Schuchart or Schatz held back, the pair wheel-to-wheel as they fought for control of the race, and while Schatz pushed hard on the inside, Schuchart stood his ground, maintaining the advantage while Schatz very uncharacteristically spun the USA15 racer to a stop in turn two. Schatz restarted at the rear of the field with ten laps left on the board.
When the race resumed once more it was Logan Schuchart who led the field to the green, with Allan Woods in second ahead of Mark Pholi and Kaiden Manders. Manders immediately took to the high line, boldly trying to race around both Pholi and Woods, while both Lucas Wolfe and Mitchell Gee also favoured the topside in their efforts to get to the front. Gee battled with Bryan Mann for several laps before securing the advantage, while Donny Schatz quickly climbed his way back through the field and Steven White and Cody Maroske had a thrilling battle amongst themselves as they raced two abreast for several laps, exchanging positions several times as they edged closer to the chequered flag. Logan Schuchart got the win with Kaiden Manders home in second and Lucas Wolfe having an inspirational drive from the rear of the field to finish an impressive third. Mark Pholi got the better of Allan Woods in the closing stages of the race to come home in fourth, the best of the locals last night, with Allan Woods rounding out the top five. Mitchell Gee made great use of his provisional start and managed to climb into sixth to lead Andrew Scheuerle across the line. Donny Schatz made his way back to eighth in just ten laps, with Bryan Mann and Lynton Jeffrey rounding out the top ten. Brodie Tulloch was next across the line ahead of Steven White, Cody Maroske, Andrew Corbet, Luke Oldfield, Steve Greer, Stewart Craig and Peter Lack. Darren Jensen was the only driver in the nineteen-car field who did not finish the 35-lap journey.
We now get tonight off to give teams a small chance to re-group before we return to Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway tomorrow night, Wednesday 03 January 2018, where we will be joined by World Series Sprintcars for Round 6 of the travelling series. Can anyone beat our American guests? Will Donny Schatz or Logan Schuchart get another win on board, or will Lucas Wolfe continue his climb towards the top podium step? Can any of our locals out-perform the American stars and the World Series Sprintcars drivers? Come on out to Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway tomorrow night, Wednesday 03 January 2018, and see all the action for yourself. It is going to a MASSIVE night of Sprintcar racing!
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