Kicking Up The Dirt - Australian Sprintcar Open - Night 1
Joanne White posted Saturday January 5, 2019.
It was a rough night out at Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night for night one of the Australian Sprintcar Open and round six of World Series Sprintcars, with trying track conditions for most of the night, thanks in large part to the deluge of rain the track received Thursday night and early Friday morning. It was an 'elbow up' kind of race track event in qualifying, with large ruts littering the track and catching some surprising victims as the night wore on. Archerfield Speedway Promoter John Kelly worked tirelessly all night to improve track conditions, pausing the program on a few occasions to run a few more laps with the grader, with track conditions finally starting to improve a little once the preliminary mains hit the track. Kerry Madsen, James McFadden, Brooke Tatnell and Peter Lack led the field in B-Main, the fact that these four were even in the B-Main tells how unique track conditions were last night, but it was young Rusty Hickman who picked up the win in the Preliminary A-Main. Jamie Veal crossed the line in second while James McFadden had a brilliant drive from the back of the field after winning the B-Main to claim third. Donny Schatz and Jessie Attard rounded out the top five, while Steven Lines was the first Queensland car home in sixth and Lachlan McHugh was the best of the local drivers in twelfth. Luke Oldfield had very comfortably led nineteen-laps of the twenty-five lap affair with a significant margin on his rivals, but mechanical issues on board the Q17 racer saw him fade rapidly in the last six laps of the race, surrendering the lead to Hickman and then dropping back a few positions each lap after that. The Oldfield Motorsport team have blamed a power steering problem, which had plagued the Q17 racer for the entire race, for hindering their progress.
Carson Macedo was the first of the thirty-eight car field to hit the track in qualifying, setting the bench mark at 12.558 seconds, only to be quickly usurped by Logan Schuchart who lowered the mark to 12.459 seconds on a rough and bumpy track. Rusty Hickman slipped into the lead when he stopped the clock at 12.369 seconds, only for Luke Oldfield to then clock a 12.341 second lap on his first qualifying lap before lowering his own time to 12.288 seconds, much to the delight of the large crowd in attendance. Jye O'Keefe ended up topping the leader board at the conclusion of qualifying, stopping the clock at 12.059 seconds with Jessie Attard (12.199) second quickest ahead of Oldfield, Hickman and Andrew Corbet (12.371). Corbet beat Jack Lee by just 0.004 seconds, while Carson Macedo and Randy Morgan recorded identical times despite being first and twenty-seventh on the track. The top twenty-eight cars were separated by less than one second while just 1.574 seconds separated the entire thirty-eight-car field.
Heat one started with Mitchell Wormall and Brent Aprile sharing the front row, and while the pair raced wheel-to-wheel into the first two corners, it was Aprile who managed to emerge in front as they raced out of turn two. Behind them Kevin Titman was trying to get around the high side of Danny Reidy but clipped the wall coming out of the second corner. Titman faded over the next lap before retreating to the inside edge of the track where he circulated slowly for the rest of the race in order to secure finishing points. Mid-field Jye O'Keefe put all kinds of pressure on Randy Morgan, while at the tail of the field Tim Farrell and Mitch Gowland were embroiled in their own intense battle as they fought over the minor positions. Brent Aprile went on to take the win ahead of Mitchell Wormall, with Danny Reidy securing third ahead of Steven Lines, Brad Keller and Jamie Veal. Jye O'Keefe finished seventh, while Randy Morgan was next across the line leading home Jack Lee, Darren Jensen, Tim Farrell, Mitch Gowland and Kevin Titman.
The second heat of the night saw Tony Wynne and Peter Lack lead the field to the green, and while Wynne lead the way to the first corner, it was Lack who powered around the top side and secured the lead as they raced through the first turn. Jason Pryde got around Wynne as they navigated the second corner, while behind them Kerry Madsen got underneath Lachlan McHugh, while Jessie Attard challenged both Carson Macedo and Lachlan McHugh. Attard got underneath Macedo a lap later, with Logan Schuchart quick to follow, and while Schuchart challenged Attard for his position, Danny Porter was under fire from Kerry Madsen. The race was however soon brought under caution when Andrew Corbet became the first of many drivers to get up-side-down. Corbet inverted the Q78 racer all on his own in turn three, bringing the race to a stop and while he was able to get the racer restarted, albeit with a very crumpled main wing, he was promptly given the mechanical defect flag, relegating him to the infield but allowing him to still receive heat race points for the event. Lack led the restart from Pryde and Wynne, while Madsen quickly raced underneath Porter only moments after taking the green for a very short-lived stint in fourth, with Porter almost immediately regaining the position. McHugh surrendered a position to Attard on the start, with Schuchart also looking for a way past the Q23 racer, while behind them Brent Kratzmann managed to get underneath Carson Macedo. Macedo fought back to regain his position a lap later, while Dave Whell and Sean Rose battled at the rear of the field. Peter Lack had opened a sizable lead and went on to take a very comfortable win ahead of Jason Pryde and Tony Wynne. Danny Porter finished fourth ahead of Kerry Madsen and Jessie Attard with Lachlan McHugh home in seventh. Logan Schuchart was next across the line and led Carson Macedo, Brent Kratzmann, Dave Whell and Sean Rose past the chequered flag, with Andrew Corbet rounding out the field.
Queensland young guns Ryan McNamara and Mitchell Gee led the field to the green for the start of heat three, with Gee quickly securing the lead in advance of Jock Goodyer, who raced around McNamara as they rounded turns one and two. Unfortunately chaos unfolded behind them when Andrew Scheuerle and Brooke Tatnell came together while they were both trying to find a way underneath Jayden Peacock in turn two. The right rear of Scheuerle climbed over the left front of Tatnell, launching the Q25 racer up-side-down and leaving the pair of #17 racers, James McFadden and Luke Oldfield, nowhere to go. Scheuerle was unscathed in the incident but unable to restart the event, while both McFadden and Oldfield restarted at the rear with damaged front wings. A full restart followed with Gee again securing the lead ahead of Goodyer and McNamara, only for McNamara to surrender third to a hard-charging Jayden Peacock. Donny Schatz, who also sustained a damaged front wing in the earlier stoppage, took to the high line and made it look easy as he raced around Rusty Hickman and Brooke Tatnell as they rounded turns one and two, setting his sights on McNamara and Peacock, while Oldfield also committed to the high side, making his way around Michael Saller, with McFadden in hot pursuit. McFadden raced underneath Oldfield as they rounded turn one, only for Oldfield to return the favour one lap later. Oldfield quickly made his way past Hickman, creating a small buffer between himself and McFadden, and set his focus on Brooke Tatnell. Hickman slid beautifully underneath Oldfield as they raced through turn three, only for Oldfield to fire straight back underneath Hickman on the following corner before making his way past Tatnell soon after. Oldfield had incredible car speed and had pulled several car lengths ahead of Tatnell and Hickman in just half a lap but there was no stopping Mitchell Gee out in front as he raced past the back markers to take the win ahead of Jock Goodyer and Jayden Peacock. Ryan McNamara finished third ahead of Donny Schatz, Luke Oldfield, Brooke Tatnell, Rusty Hickman, James McFadden, Michael Saller and Clem Hoffmans. Andrew Scheuerle was the only casualty of the race, exiting the competition before completing a lap.
Kevin Titman and Danny Porter shared the front row for the start of heat four, but it was Titman who led the way when the green flag flew, with Danny Reidy, from position three, quickly following on the low line to secure second ahead of Porter. Deeper in the field Randy Morgan tried to run the high line, but surrendered positions to both Carson Macedo and Jack Lee, with Donny Schatz starting to turn on the charm as he began climbing his way through the field, getting past Morgan, before trading places with Lee a couple of times and then setting out after Macedo. The race however was soon brought to a stop when Tim Farrell up-ended the NQ10 racer in turn four. While Farrell walked away from the wreck he was unable to continue the race and would not return to the track for the rest of the night. Titman, who had a very healthy lead before the stoppage, led the restart from Reidy and Porter and while Titman again started opening an unassailable lead, the battle for the minor places raged fiercely. Kerry Madsen, Brooke Tatnell, Carson Macedo and Donny Schatz had a great battle mid-field while Jye O'Keefe and Randy Morgan negotiated over positions towards the tail of the field. Kevin Titman got the win ahead of Danny Reidy and Danny Porter, with Kerry Madsen next across the line in advance of Brooke Tatnell, Carson Macedo, Donny Schatz, Jack Lee, Darren Jensen, Randy Morgan, Jye O'Keefe and Mitch Gowland. Tim Farrell did not finish the race.
Heat five started with Andrew Scheuerle from pole position with Mitchell Wormall alongside. Scheuerle led the way into the first corner, with Wormall challenging on the high side and Jayden Peacock sitting in third, while deeper in the field Luke Oldfield took to the high line as he tried to make his way forward. Oldfield made his way around Jamie Veal, Logan Schuchart and James McFadden in quick succession, at one stage going three wide in turn two with both McFadden and Schuchart on his inside, before turning his attention to Lachlan McHugh. While Oldfield challenged McHugh for mid-field positions, Brent Kratzmann had a look underneath McFadden as the pair rounded turns three and four, before securing the advantage when McFadden ran too high in turn one and clipped the wall. McFadden fought back hard but contact with Kratzmann in turn two left the W17 racer stranded in turn two and brought the race under caution. Scheuerle led the restart with eight laps still to run and Mitchell Wormall and Jayden Peacock close behind. Peacock quickly made his way underneath Wormall when the race resumed while Brent Aprile ran the low line while trying to defend his position as Oldfield charged around the top side. Wormall inverted the W97 racer in spectacular fashion in turn three, leaving the still luckless Brent Aprile nowhere to go, the NQ42 racer making heavy contact with the up-turned Wormall car. Fortunately both drivers walked away from the wreck, but neither were able to restart the race. Scheuerle led the restart from Peacock and Peter Lack, with Lack coming under pressure from Oldfield and McHugh. Oldfield raced around Lack as they navigated turn four and turned his attention to Peacock, while further back in the field Kratzmann and McFadden resumed their battle, with Kratzmann leading the way for several laps before McFadden got through on the bottom. Oldfield closed in on Peacock, carrying impressive speed but could not quite get close enough to make a move before the conclusion of the race. Andrew Scheuerle got a much needed win ahead of Jayden Peacock and Luke Oldfield, with Lachlan McHugh home in fourth ahead of Peter Lack, Jamie Veal, Logan Schuchart, James McFadden, Brent Kratzmann, Dave Whell and Sean Rose. Mitchell Wormall and Brent Aprile did not finish the event.
The final heat of the night saw Ryan McNamara and Tony Wynne share the front row and lead the field to the green, with McNamara securing the lead and Brad Keller, from position three, slipping into second. The race was quickly brought to a stop though when Mitchell Gee, who was looking to have a big run around the outside of Wynne and Keller, rode the rear wheel of Keller and launched the Q36 into the turn two fence in spectacular fashion. It was a huge crash and thankfully Gee walked away from the wreck, but his night was over, while Keller suffered a flat right rear tyre and was given the mechanical defect flag before the race resumed. A full restart followed with McNamara and Wynne racing side-by-side into the first corner, but it was the action in the mid-field that brought the race to another stop. Steven Lines and Andrew Corbet came together as they took the green, with Rusty Hickman also making contact with Corbet before Corbet inverted the Q78 racer for the second time in as many races, leaving Clem Hoffmans nowhere to go. Neither Corbet nor Hoffmans were able to restart the event. McNamara and Wynne led the now depleted field around for a third attempt at a start with McNamara again securing the lead ahead of Wynne. Wynne surrendered second to Jock Goodyer as they raced through turn two, while behind them Steven Lines made contact with Jason Pryde, damaging the front end of the W14 racer and leaving Pryde to try and limp the stricken racer from the circuit, with Jessie Attard and Rusty Hickman also making contact as they tried to avoid Lines and Pryde. McNamara led the way and was unchallenged in the race lead while Goodyer held down a solid second ahead of Lines. Jessie Attard closed in on Tony Wynne, searching for a way through before racing underneath the NQ8 racer as they navigated the final corner. Ryan McNamara got the win ahead of Jock Goodyer and Steven Lines, with Jessie Attard home in fourth ahead of Tony Wynne and Michael Saller. Rusty Hickman spun the V40 racer entering turn four on the final lap and was classified as seventh ahead of Jason Pryde, Andrew Corbet, Clem Hoffmans, Brad Keller and Mitchell Gee.
Andrew Scheuerle and Brent Kratzmann both withdrew from the Preliminary B-main event before hitting the track, leaving just sixteen contenders in the fifteen-lap affair to do battle for four transfer positions. Watching the field line up with Kerry Madsen and James McFadden on the front row and Brooke Tatnell and Peter Lack filling row two, it was a line up that could have easily been mistaken for an A-Main event on any other night. It is a testament to the trying track conditions all night, and the calibre of drivers in the field, that a quartet this strong could be leading the B-Main field and with only the top four finishers set to transfer to the A-Main it was going to difficult for anyone to get past the top four. McFadden secured the lead when the green flag flew, with Madsen settling into second in advance of Tatnell and Lack. Lack challenged Tatnell for third but could not quite find a way past, while mid-field Randy Morgan took to the high line trying to find a way past Andrew Corbet. Kevin Titman joined the battle, slipping underneath Morgan and having a big but unsuccessful look underneath Corbet moments later. Titman spent a lap or two waiting for the right opportunity before racing underneath both Corbet and McNamara as the trio raced down the main straight, Titman looking exceptionally quick as he began chasing after Danny Porter and beginning an impressive charge from deep in the field. The race was brought under caution when McNamara almost spun the Q88 racer in turn two, and while McNamara was able to keep the car going, he was relegated to the rear of the field as the primary cause of the stoppage. McFadden, Madsen, Tatnell and Lack led the restart while Kevin Titman had advanced to fifth. Corbet and Keller made their way underneath Porter when the race resumed, while Titman challenged Lack for the final transfer position. James McFadden went on to take the win ahead of Kerry Madsen and Brooke Tatnell with Peter Lack crossing the line in fourth and securing his spot in the Preliminary A-Main. Kevin Titman finished fifth and led Andrew Corbet, Brad Keller, Brent Aprile, Danny Porter, Randy Morgan, Michael Saller, Jason Pryde, Tony Wynne and Ryan McNamara across the line. Darren Jensen pulled out of the event after completing just six laps.
Eighteen cars rolled onto the track for a truly epic A-Main event, with Queenslander Luke Oldfield from pole position and Jessie Attard alongside. Oldfield got the jump when the lights went green, quickly securing the lead ahead of Attard and Jye O'Keefe, but chaos unfolded behind the leaders that ended with Jack Lee, Brooke Tatnell and Danny Reidy stopped in turn two, while Jayden Peacock was also involved but managed to keep moving. Lee was unable to restart the event, while Danny Reidy got some fresh rubber on the #5 racer and took to the restart from the rear of the field.
Luke Oldfield again led the way when the race resumed, with Jessie Attard in second. Rusty Hickman this time managed to secure third while Jamie Veal and Steven Lines began searching for a way past Jye O'Keefe, and James McFadden began an impressive charge from the rear of the field. McFadden made his way past Carson Macedo and Lachlan McHugh in quick succession, and while McHugh was able to briefly regain the advantage, as the pair raced either side of Jock Goodyer, McFadden was too quick on the top and soon moved back ahead of McHugh. Donny Schatz was on the move after starting mid-field, attempting to race underneath Jamie Veal and Steven Lines, as they rounded turn four three abreast. Veal was the first of the trio out of turn one, with Line and Schatz close behind, and while Schatz patiently bided his time, he soon raced underneath Lines and turned his attention to Veal, leaving Lines to try and defend his position from a very much in-form and determined McFadden. While the rest of the field squabbled over the minor places Oldfield had opened a significant lead on second placed Attard and was rapidly closing in on lapped traffic. Attard was under increasing pressure from Hickman, the pair really beginning to close in on Oldfield as the laps wore away and the lap speed of the Q17 racer began to drop. Hickman raced beautifully underneath Attard as they rounded turns three and four to move into second and began challenging Oldfield half a lap later. Oldfield was clearly struggling, a long and stoppage free race on a difficult track with power steering issues in the car was starting to take its toll and while Oldfield managed to hold off Hickman for a few laps, with just six laps left to run Oldfield surrendered the lead and faded fast from there. Jamie Veal and James McFadden made their way through, with Jessie Attard and Donny Schatz following soon after. Peter Lack and Lachlan McHugh had a great battle in the final few laps of the race, but it was teenager Rusty Hickman who got the win ahead of Jamie Veal and James McFadden. Donny Schatz finished fourth, a solid effort that will no doubt set him up as a serious contender in the final night of competition tonight, with Jessie Attard rounding out the top five. Steven Lines finished sixth and led Kerry Madsen, Logan Schuchart, Brooke Tatnell, Jye O'Keefe, Carson Macedo, Lachlan McHugh, Peter Lack, Jock Goodyer, Danny Reidy and Luke Oldfield across the line. Jayden Peacock and Jack Lee both failed to finish the event.
It was a huge night of Sprintcar racing last night in difficult track conditions that proved tricky for most, but with another massive night of action to come tonight, and, in all likelihood, vastly different track conditions, you will not want to miss a moment of the action. It all concludes tonight at Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway, the weekend set to culminate in a thrilling 50-lap A-Main event that pays the winner $20,000 to win. Come on out and join us, see all the action for yourself, cheer on your favourite, and remember to pop down to the pits after the race meeting to meet the drivers and see the cars up close. See you trackside!
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