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Kicking Up The Dirt - USC Round 1 - Carnival of Power
Joanne White posted Sunday September 16, 2018.

It has been a long off-season but the 2018-2019 race season finally kicked off last night with a brilliant night of racing at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba for the Carnival of Power and Round 1 of the USC Queensland Championship. Mother Nature gave us a perfect day to start the season and over 30 Sprintcars rolled into the high banks of the Toowoomba venue to put on a thrilling show for the large crowd in attendance. A brief, and very unexpected, rain delay halted proceedings for an hour after the heats concluded, making for an extremely fast track for the main events. Robbie Farr and Brent Kratzmann led the early stages of the A-Main, with Farr in control but Kratzmann repeatedly catching him in lapped traffic to challenge for the lead. With about a dozen laps left to run Steven Lines started his run towards the front, taking to high side to get around Kratzmann in heavy lapped traffic. Lines set his sights on Farr and, with just three laps to run, again used the lapped traffic to his advantage, slipping underneath Farr to take control. Farr of course fought back hard, but it was Steven Lines who got the win ahead of Robbie Farr, while Lachlan McHugh challenged Brent Kratzmann coming out of the final corner. McHugh and Kratzmann were side-by-side as they crossed the line, with Kratzmann hanging on to finish third. Lachlan McHugh, just 0.064 seconds behind Kratzmann, crossed the line in fourth with Andrew Scheuerle rounding out the top five.

Qualifying got underway with Dave Whell initially setting the benchmark at 11.614 seconds. Unfortunately for Whell his quick time would not stand for long, with Brent Kratzmann turning a very quick 11.291 second lap in the second group of qualifying. Kratzmann held the top spot until Dylan Menz, back after perhaps the shortest retirement in the history of the sport, hit the track and stopped the clock at 11.290, beating Kratzmann by just 0.001 seconds. Robbie Farr and Lachlan McHugh moved to the top of the qualifying order after their turn on the track, with Farr going quickest of the 32-car field, stopping the clock at 11.232 seconds. McHugh (11.244) was second quickest ahead of Menz, Kratzmann and Peter Lack (11.347). The quickest 23 cars all recorded times in the 11-second bracket, while the top 28 were separated by less than one second.

Heat one started with Andrew Corbet and Kevin Titman from the front row, with Jayden Peacock and Andrew Wright close behind and Andrew Scheuerle and Robbie Farr coming from the tail of the field. Farr immediately started making his way through the field when the race got underway, settling into second after just a few laps, setting his sights on the race lead. Kevin Titman got the win ahead of Robbie Farr, the pair a few car lengths ahead of Jayden Peacock who came home in third. Andrew Scheuerle crossed the line in fourth and led Andrew Wright, Andrew Corbet, Dave Whell, Tim Farrell, Karl Hoffmans and Shane Matthews across the line. Mark Pholi did not finish the event. The top five place getters all recording laps inside the 11-second bracket over the course of the race.

Heat two started with Bryan Zelinski from pole position with Adam Butler alongside and an incredibly strong field coming from behind. Butler led the field once the lights went green, while Mitchell Gee quickly found his way into second as Zelinski faded a little. Peter Lack took a nasty roll only one lap in to bring the race to a stop, and while Lack was, thankfully, able to walk away, he and his team soon made the difficult decision to withdraw from the rest of the meeting. The Q5 car had suffered some damage in the crash and team will have a big week ahead of them to be ready for Archerfield Speedway next weekend. The race resumed with Butler to lead them away ahead of Gee and Glen Sutherland. Sutherland quickly raced underneath Gee while Lachlan McHugh made his way underneath Zelinski and started chasing down the front runners. Sutherland caught Butler quickly and began challenging for the lead, relentless in his efforts to find a way past, while McHugh and Gee argued over the minor places. McHugh had a massive look on the inside of Gee but could not quite make it work, while back at the front Butler managed to open a small margin on Sutherland. A yellow light caution for the spun car of Libby Ellis left the field with an intense two-lap dash to the chequered flag. Butler led the restart from Sutherland, Gee and McHugh. Sutherland again challenged Butler for the lead, and McHugh again tried to dive underneath Gee, but neither Sutherland nor McHugh were able to advance. Adam Butler got the win ahead Glen Sutherland and Mitchell Gee, with Lachlan McHugh, Paul Rooks, Michael Saller, Scott Genrich, Bryan Zelinski, Geoff Davey and Libby Ellis rounding out the finishers. Peter Lack was unable to finish the race.

Brent Aprile and Nathan Black shared the front row for the start of heat three, with Aprile getting the initial jump when the lights went green. Tony Wynne had a brilliant run, immediately taking to the bottom and having a massive look underneath both Aprile and Black, only for officials to bring the race under caution. When the race resumed it was again Aprile who got the better start, while Black took to the high line and began challenging for the lead. Black switched to the bottom and had a look underneath Aprile but could not quite get the job done, while behind them Steven Lines slid beautifully underneath Allan Woods and into third, setting his sights on the leaders ahead of him. Lines wasted no time in catching the tail of Black, before slipping underneath the #37 racer and moving to the high line to challenge Aprile for the lead. Deeper in the field Tony Wynne and Allan Woods argued over minor places, while Brent Kratzmann and Cody Maroske had a close battle. Kratzmann raced underneath Woods, with Maroske following moments later, but it was Steven Lines, who had moved ahead of Aprile with just a couple of laps left to run, who took the win ahead of Brent Aprile, Nathan Black, Tony Wynne, Brent Kratzmann, Cody Maroske, Allan Woods, Dylan Menz, Brett Minett and Mitch Gowland. Unfortunately for third placed Black a post race incident saw him make heavy contact with the turn four wall, after the chequered flag, inverting the #37, while Brent Kratzmann and the rest of the still slowing field somehow managed to avoid the incident as it unfolded in front of them. Black walked away from the crash but his night was, sadly, prematurely over.

Heat four got underway with Karl Hoffmans from pole position and Brent Aprile alongside. Aprile got the jump when the green flag flew and quickly settled into the race lead, but the race was promptly brought to a stop when Mitchell Gee inverted the Q36 racer in spectacular fashion in turn one. Kevin Titman and Robbie Farr had been searching for a way past Paul Rooks, with Titman on the bottom and Farr on top, as Gee was running the top-side searching for his own way around the trio. Contact between the right rear of Farr and the left front of Gee launched Gee into the fence in a less than ideal start to his season. Gee was quick the exit the car, unscathed in the wreck, but was clearly unimpressed with the situation. Sadly for Gee, as much as he and his dedicated crew wanted to get the car back trackside, the crash spelt the end of his night of competition. A full restart followed with Aprile again getting a great start and securing the lead ahead of Hoffmans, while Robbie Farr slipped straight underneath Dave Whell to move into third. Kevin Titman raced past Whell but soon got a little too sideways in turn four, leaving Whell with nowhere to go. Whell tagged the back of the Q59 racer of Titman before coming to a stop and brought the race under caution,. Aprile led the restart from Hoffmans, Farr, Titman, Dylan Menz and Paul Rooks. Farr wasted no time getting the better of Hoffmans when the lights went green, quickly moving into second and setting out after Aprile, while Aprile opened a small lead. Dylan Menz began challenging Kevin Titman for positions mid-field, with Menz quickly securing the advantage. Titman swiftly returned serve, unwilling to surrender his position without a fight, the pair edging closer to the tail of Hoffmans with each passing lap. Titman however looped the Q59 coming out of turn four, coming to a stop just far enough infield that officials left the green lights on until Geoff Davey spun the NQ74 racer in turn four a couple of laps later. A green-white-chequer two-lap run to the finish saw Farr unable to catch Aprile, with Brent Aprile taking the win ahead of Robbie Farr and Karl Hoffmans. Dylan Menz crossed the line fourth ahead of Paul Rooks, Dave Whell, Geoff Davey and Libby Ellis. Kevin Titman and Mitchell Gee both failed to finish the event.

Michael Saller and Allan Woods shared the front row for the start of heat five, with Jayden Peacock and Tony Wynne close behind on the second row of the grid. Saller led the field to the first corner, with Peacock quick to move into second, but the race was quickly brought under caution, officials unhappy with the start. Saller was relegated to the second row for the restart, leaving Peacock from pole position alongside Woods, with Woods then securing the lead when the green flag flew. Peacock settled into second ahead of Saller, though Saller immediately came under pressure from a determined Tony Wynne. Wynne raced underneath Saller, while at the front of the field Peacock tried to close the gap to Woods. With just two laps completed Saller spun the N56 racer just in front of the back-half of the field, with both Andrew Scheuerle and Lachlan McHugh doing a remarkable job to avoid contact. Woods led the restart from Peacock, Wynne, Scheuerle and McHugh with eight laps still to run. Woods got a brilliant start and opened a comfortable lead almost immediately, while Andrew Scheuerle raced his way past Tony Wynne, only for Wynne to fire straight back to regain his position before promptly starting to pull a couple of car lengths ahead of Scheuerle. McHugh closed in on the back of Scheuerle, while at the front of the field Woods and Peacock approached lapped traffic. Peacock is not one to hesitate when an opportunity presents itself, and when Woods got momentarily caught behind a lapped car, Peacock raced through on the bottom and took control of the race with only a few laps remaining. Moments later Peacock made an uncharacteristic mistake and tagged the back of the lapped car of Tim Farrell. Farrell ended up up-side-down, while Peacock somehow managed to keep the Q77 racer moving. Tony Wynne had a fire onboard the NQ8 racer as he slowed to a stop when the red lights came on for Farrell, and was quick to exit the car. Both Wynne and Farrell were unscathed but unable to continue the event, with Peacock relegated to the rear of the field for his part in the incident. Allan Woods inherited the lead for the restart and was unstoppable as he raced to victory ahead of Andrew Scheuerle and Lachlan McHugh. Andrew Wright finished fourth while Jayden Peacock managed to get the better of Michael Saller as they crossed line, just two hundredths of a second separating the pair. Peacock came home in fifth ahead of Saller, with Scott Genrich rounding out the finishers. Tony Wynne, Tim Farrell and Shane Matthews all failed to finish the action-packed heat event.

The final heat of the night saw team-mates Bryan Zelinski and Andrew Corbet share the front row for the start, with Mark Pholi and Adam Butler right behind. Zelinski and Corbet both got great starts, racing side-by-side towards the first corner, but it was Corbet who took control of the race. Butler and Pholi traded places, while Brent Kratzmann had a brilliant run from the back of the field, racing underneath Butler just moments before Butler spun the Q10 racer in turn four. Kratzmann showed incredible pace and immediately started putting all kinds of pressure on the back of Pholi, but with Butler stranded in turn four, there was little Brett Minett could do, and heavy contact between the two almost ended in disaster for Minett. Mitch Gowland spun to avoid the chaos unfolding in front of him, and Butler, Minett and Gowland all restarted at the rear of the field when the race got back under way. Corbet led the restart from Zelinski, Pholi and Kratzmann, with Kratzmann wasting no time at all racing underneath Pholi moments after the race resumed. Cody Maroske and Glen Sutherland had a close battle deeper in the field, the pair quickly catching Pholi. Sutherland looked to go underneath Pholi, only to make contact with Maroske and send Maroske spinning into the path of a very unlucky Lines. Contact between Maroske and Lines was unavoidable and the race was brought back under caution. Corbet again led Zelinski to the restart, with Kratzmann in third this time around. Kratzmann again used the restart to his advantage, racing beautifully underneath Zelinski, having moved from eighth to second in just a couple of laps, and set his sights on Corbet, while behind them Sutherland chased Pholi before making contact with the left rear of the Q14 racer. Lines was lucky to avoid becoming involved, while Gowland and Maroske were not so fortunate. Corbet again led the restart, still with seven laps to run, but Kratzmann was strong and determined on the bottom. Lines made his way into third, with Butler following a couple of laps later, but with four laps to go it was hard not to watch Kratzmann as he slid underneath Corbet as they raced through turn one. Lines got underneath Corbet a lap later, but it Brent Kratzmann who took the win ahead of Steven Lines and Andrew Corbet. Brett Minett finished fourth and led Adam Butler, Glen Sutherland, Bryan Zelinski and Mitch Gowland across the line. Mark Pholi and Cody Maroske did not finish the event.

A brief rain delay followed, because apparently there is nothing quite like the start of a speedway season to bring on a little unexpected moisture. We were delayed for an hour or so after the surprisingly heavy downpour, with track staff doing an incredible job as always to bring the track back to a condition conducive to racing.

Robbie Farr was highest points scorer for the evening going into the Dash event, but drew position four in the pre-Dash draw, inverting the top four for the start of the event. Steven Lines started from pole position with Brent Kratzmann alongside and Lachlan McHugh and Robbie Farr close behind. Kratzmann got a brilliant start and quickly secured the race lead before opening a small margin on his rivals. Lines settled into second while Dylan Menz and Farr raced side-by-side as they fought over third. Farr soon got the better of Menz, leaving Menz to defend his position from a hard-charging Andrew Scheuerle, but out in front Kratzmann was untouchable. Brent Kratzmann easily took the win, earning pole position for the A-Main, with Steven Lines holding off a very hard-charging Robbie Farr to secure second and locking in a front row start alongside Kratzmann for the main race. Farr, less than two hundredths of a second behind Lines, finished third ahead of Dylan Menz (who clocked the fastest lap (11.266) of the race), Andrew Scheuerle, Lachlan McHugh, Glen Sutherland and Scott Genrich.

Eleven cars took to the track for the twelve-lap B-Main event, with Andrew Corbet and Tony Wynne to lead them to the green. Corbet got the better start and quickly secured the race lead, leaving Wynne in second ahead of Mark Pholi. Pholi had a massive look underneath Wynne, and contact between the two could have so easily ended in disaster, but the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Libby Ellis. Corbet, Wynne and Pholi led the restart but all eyes were on Michael Saller, who sat in the fourth and final transfer position, and Karl Hoffmans, running in fifth but putting on a breath-taking show as he challenged Saller for the opportunity to start in the A-Main. Hoffmans was absolutely relentless, and each time Saller managed to get a car length or two ahead, Hoffmans reeled him back in, as Brett Minett closed in behind. Andrew Corbet got the win, and turned the fastest lap of the night – an 11.118, ahead of Mark Pholi and Tony Wynne, with Michael Saller managing to hang on to fourth and secure the last transfer to the A-Main. Karl Hoffmans finished fifth ahead of Brett Minett, Geoff Davey, Bryan Zelinski, Mitch Gowland and Shane Matthews. Libby Ellis did not finish the event.

Brent Kratzmann and Steven Lines shared the front row for the start of the A-Main, with Lines getting a great start and quickly securing lead, while Kratzmann immediately challenged on the bottom. Kratzmann however was forced to settle for second but the race was almost immediately brought under caution Tony Wynne and Michael Saller came together on the start after sharing the tenth row of the starting line up. Both Wynne and Saller inverted their cars and while neither driver was injured, they were both out the race.

A full restart followed and this time it was Brent Kratzmann who led the field into turn one. Robbie Farr was his usual brilliant self and did not hesitate to race through on the bottom, getting underneath Kratzmann and taking the lead by the end of the second corner of the race. Kratzmann sat in second, comfortably leading Lines, while Lines found himself under pressure from Andrew Scheuerle. Mark Pholi came to a stop in turn two after contact with Andrew Corbet and brought the race back under caution. Unfortunately neither Pholi nor Corbet were able to restart, thus eliminating both drivers from the event. This meant, along with Saller and Wynne, all four transfers from the B-Main were out of the race before two laps were completed.

Robbie Farr led the restart from Brent Kratzmann, Steven Lines, Andrew Scheuerle, Lachlan McHugh and Dylan Menz with twenty-nine laps to run. Farr and Kratzmann pulled a little ahead of Lines, while McHugh and Scheuerle resumed what would quickly become a fierce race-long battle. Andrew Wright and Allan Woods battled deep in the field, with Wright having a quick but unsuccessful look around the outside of the Q28 racer, while Cody Maroske raced underneath Kevin Titman. Farr entered lapped traffic in just five laps and with many cars running the top, the race leader was forced to the bottom to make his way past the back markers. Kratzmann was exceptional in traffic, and while Farr pulled away each time he had a little slice of clear track in front of him, Kratzmann repeatedly closed the gap as they made their way through the lapped cars. Kratzmann challenged Farr for the lead on several thrilling occasions, and while Farr continued to maintain his lead, Kratzmann was single-minded and relentless. Kratzmann had another massive look on the inside of Farr in lapped traffic, while Lines sat patiently in third, waiting to time his run to the front just right. With fourteen laps left to run Kratzmann again tried to slide underneath Farr, only to find Lines stepping up the pressure from behind. Lines took to the high side to get around Kratzmann in heavy lapped traffic with twelve laps left to run, and set his sights on Farr. Scheuerle and McHugh continued their battle, while also searching for a way through the lapped traffic, with McHugh having a big look on the inside of Scheuerle and taking the advantage, only for Scheuerle to race back around the top to regain his position. McHugh slid straight back under Scheuerle moments later and while Scheuerle tried to return serve once more he could not quite make it happen. With just four laps left to run Lines started searching for a way past Farr. He timed his run to perfection, racing underneath Farr in lapped traffic with three laps to run. Farr of course fought back but there was no stopping Steven Lines as he raced to victory in Round 1 of the Queensland USC for season 2018-2019. Robbie Farr crossed the line in second while Brent Kratzmann hung on to finish an impressive third despite a late challenge from Lachlan McHugh in the final corner. McHugh finished fourth ahead of Andrew Scheuerle while Dylan Menz finished sixth and Brent Aprile, back after some time on the sidelines, finished a very respectable seventh. Allan Woods was next across the line ahead of Glen Sutherland, Cody Maroske, Kevin Titman, Dave Whell, Scott Genrich and Adam Butler. Paul Rooks, Andrew Wright, Mark Pholi, Andrew Corbet, Michael Saller and Tony Wynne all failed to finish the event.

Sprintcars return to Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway next weekend, on Saturday 22 September 2018, for the first round of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series. It will be another massive night of Sprintcar racing as we help Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway officially open their huge 2018-2019 race season, so get yourself trackside and see all the action for yourself.

 

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15/12 Hi-Tec Oils Speedway Toowoomba
26/12 Archerfield Speedway
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