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Kicking Up The Dirt - Australian Sprintcar Open - Night 1
Joanne White posted Saturday January 11, 2020.

The Titan Garages Australian Sprintcar Open kicked off at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway last night with a stellar thirty-two car field. Donny Schatz again proved unstoppable, getting the win in the twenty-five lap Preliminary A-Main event, leading Kerry Madsen and early leader Lachlan McHugh across the line. James McFadden and Jock Goodyer rounded out the top five, while Andrew Scheuerle, Luke Oldfield, Jack Lee, Kalib Henry and Shaun Dobson all secured a top ten result.

Lachlan McHugh went quickest in the qualifying session, stopping the clock at 11.733 seconds and earning the top spot, with Jock Goodyer (11.788) second ahead of Jack Lee (11.839). Kalib Henry (11.894) and Kevin Titman (12.025) rounded out the fastest five in qualifying, while the top thirty qualifiers were separated by just 0.775 seconds. Jai Stephenson had ongoing and persistent mechanical dramas onboard the NS45 racer and did not complete his qualifying laps.

Mitchell Gee started from pole position in heat one, with Brooke Tatnell alongside and while they raced side-by-side into the first corner, it was Tatnell who powered around the top side and into the race lead. Gee settled into second while Jason Pryde and Brock Hallett fought over third, while a little further back in the field Luke Oldfield got underneath Ryan McNamara. McNamara fought back half a lap later, successfully regaining his position before finding his way past Pryde, with Pryde and Oldfield quickly challenging McNamara for position once more, the trio three-wide as they exited turn four. The race was promptly brought under caution when Rusty Hickman spun the V40 racer in turn four, with Tatnell to lead them back to green light conditions with eight laps left to run. A fierce mid field battle between Oldfield and Andrew Scheuerle saw the pair exchange positions back and forth several times, as they tried to find a way past Pryde, only for Lachlan McHugh to soon join them, slipping underneath Scheuerle as Oldfield got underneath Pryde. Oldfield closed in on the back of McNamara as the laps wore on but could not quite get close enough to make another move. Brooke Tatnell went on to take the win ahead of Mitchell Gee and Brock Hallett. Ryan McNamara crossed the line in fourth ahead of Luke Oldfield, Andrew Scheuerle, Rusty Hickman, Jason Pryde, Karl Hoffmans and Kristy Bonsey.

Randy Morgan and Glen Sutherland shared the front row for the start of heat two, with David Murcott and Bryan Mann from the second row. The leading pair raced two abreast into the first corner before Sutherland emerged in front and secured the lead, leaving Morgan in second ahead of Murcott and Mann. Kevin Titman had a big run on the bottom through the opening corners as he searched for a way underneath Mark Pholi and Jock Goodyer, and while he was able to displace Pholi, Goodyer fought back to maintain his position. Cody Maroske and James McFadden had a close battle mid-field until McFadden was able to get underneath the Q5 racer as they rounded turn two, and turned his attention to Lucas Wolfe. Glen Sutherland went on to take the win ahead of Randy Morgan and David Murcott, with Bryan Mann, Lucas Wolfe, James McFadden, Cody Maroske, Jock Goodyer, Kevin Titman and Mark Pholi rounding out the finishers. Jai Stephenson finally got the NS45 racer running, but pulled out of the event in a cloud of smoke with only four laps completed, his mechanical woes not yet over.

Queenslanders Adam Butler and Tim Farrell led the heat three field to the green flag, with Shaun Dobson and Callum Walker right behind them. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Butler to have jumped the start, and while the second attempted start was better it was still Butler who was able to secure the lead ahead of Farrell. Walker took to the high side, displacing Farrell with only half a lap completed, and set out after Butler, while Farrell came under pressure from both Dobson and Donny Schatz. Schatz got underneath Farrell as they completed the first few laps. While behind them Kerry Madsen got the better of Andrew Corbet, and, towards the rear of the field, Brent Kratzmann and Jack Lee fought over minor positions while searching for a way past Corbet. Schatz got underneath Dobson before racing around Walker a couple of laps later, before moving into the race lead with five and a half laps still to run. Deep in the field Kratzmann was all over he back of Corbet, searching for a way past the Q78 racer but to no avail, while behind them Kalib Henry searched high and low for a way past Jack Lee, the pair putting on a spectacular show for race fans as they negotiated over positions at the rear of the field. Donny Schatz went on to take the win ahead of Adam Butler and Callum Walker, with Shaun Dobson, Kerry Madsen, Tim Farrell, Andrew Corbet, Brent Kratzmann, Jack Lee and Kalib Henry rounding out the finishers.

Tim Farrell got the jump on the start of heat four after starting from pole position, and while fellow front row starter Brock Hallett settled into second and started challenging Farrell for control of the race, the race was soon brought under caution for the spun car of Rusty Hickman in turn two. A full restart followed with Farrell again getting the jump on the start, with Hallett again settling into second and starting to challenge Farrell for the race lead. Luke Oldfield raced up the inside of Mark Pholi and had a look underneath Glen Sutherland, getting past both Sutherland and Callum Walker as they raced down the back straight for the first time. Oldfield set about closing in on Dobson, while out in front Farrell was doing an exceptional job to hold off the advances of a very hard-charging and determined Hallett. Andrew Scheuerle, with Lachlan McHugh on his tail, searched for a way past Walker, while Shaun Dobson caught and displaced Hallett and turned his attention to Farrell and the race lead. Dobson committed to the high side, and while Farrell did everything he could to hang on to the lead, Dobson was too quick, the VA21 racer taking control of the race just a couple of laps before the chequered flag. Shaun Dobson went on to take the win ahead of Tim Farrell and Brock Hallett, with Luke Oldfield, Glen Sutherland, Andrew Scheuerle, Lachlan McHugh, Mark Pholi, Callum Walker, Rusty Hickman and Kristy Bonsey rounding out the finishers.

Heat five started with Jason Pryde and Adam Butler from the front row, with David Murcott and Karl Hoffmans right behind them. Pryde and Butler raced wheel-to-wheel into the first corner, with Pryde emerging in front as they navigated their way through turn one, only for Butler to slip though on the inside as they rounded turn two and take control of the race. Ryan McNamara had a look up the inside of Murcott and Hoffmans on the start, but could not quite find a way through, but did get the better of Hoffmans in turn two, before looking underneath Murcott in turn three. When McNamara ran wide moments later James McFadden and Cody Maroske both slipped through on the inside, leaving McNamara with Kerry Madsen on his tail. Madsen made his way around McNamara, and then Maroske soon after, while Kevin Titman got underneath Jock Goodyer and started challenging McNamara for position. At the front of the field Adam Butler was doing a magnificent job out in front, maintaining a small but comfortable margin for most of the race, but with two laps left to run McFadden and Madsen stepped up the pace, the W17 of McFadden racing around the high side of Butler and into the race lead with just one and half circulations left to complete. James McFadden went on to take the win ahead of Kerry Madsen, who displaced Butler on the final lap, with Adam Butler coming home a strong third. Jason Pryde, David Murcott, Jock Goodyer, Ryan McNamara, Kevin Titman, Cody Maroske, Karl Hoffmans and Jai Stephenson rounded out the finishers.

The final heat of the night saw Queenslanders Mitchell Gee and Randy Morgan share the front row for the start with Gee getting the better jump when the green flag flew and quickly securing the race lead. Morgan settled into second ahead of Corbet, but Corbet quickly surrendered positions to Bryan Mann, who had a remarkable run on the bottom, and Brooke Tatnell, who raced around the top-side. Donny Schatz started making his way forward, getting around Lucas Wolfe on the opening lap of the race before turning his attention to Andrew Corbet. Mann and Tatnell had a fierce battle for second as they tried to close the gap race leader Gee had opened, while Schatz swiftly made his way past both Corbet and Morgan, leaving the pair with hard-charging Brent Kratzmann on their tail. Schatz got past Tatnell and began challenging Mann, while Kratzmann managed to get underneath Morgan and began searching for a way past Corbet. Mitchell Gee went on to take the win ahead of Donny Schatz and Bryan Mann, with Brooke Tatnell home in fourth ahead of Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Corbet, Kalib Henry, Randy Morgan, Jack Lee and Lucas Wolfe.

The Preliminary B-Main event started with Mitchell Gee and Mark Pholi from the front row, with Gee quick to secure the lead when the lights went green. Unfortunately though the race was quickly brought to a stop when Andrew Corbet and Ryan McNamara come together on the main straight as they took the green. McNamara rolled the Q88 in spectacular fashion into turn one, and while he was able to walk away from the crash unscathed, his night was over. Team McNamara have also stated this morning that unfortunately there is enough damage to the car that they will miss the Australian Open finale tonight. Corbet suffered front-end damage in the incident and was unable to restart the event. A full restart followed with Gee getting the better start again and securing the lead in advance of Pholi, while Bryan Mann and Brock Hallett made short work of getting underneath Pholi. Adam Butler made his way past Pholi and Hallett, while David Murcott tried to advance from mid-field into a transfer position. Cody Maroske and Lucas Wolfe had a close battle for a few laps, with Wolfe securing the advantage before making his way past Jason Pryde and turning his attention to Tim Farrell. Mann and Hallett battled for second, with Murcott and Butler fighting over the final transfer spot, but it was Mitchell Gee who got the win at the end of the fifteen-lap affair. Gee secured his spot at the back of the Preliminary A-Main field, with Brock Hallett, Bryan Mann and David Murcott also transferring. Adam Butler crossed the line in fifth and led Lucas Wolfe, Glen Sutherland, Tim Farrell, Jason Pryde, Cody Maroske, Randy Morgan, Karl Hoffmans, Kristy Bonsey and Jai Stephenson across the line. Mark Pholi, Ryan McNamara, Andrew Corbet and Callum Walker did not finish the event.

Eighteen cars rolled onto the track for the twenty-five-lap Preliminary A-Main event, with young guns Lachlan McHugh and Jock Goodyer to lead them to the green, with Kerry Madsen, Donny Schatz, James McFadden and Andrew Scheuerle directly behind them. McHugh got the jump on the start and secured the lead with Schatz and Madsen both displacing Goodyer on the opening lap. Luke Oldfield and Brent Kratzmann searched for a way past Jack Lee and Kalib Henry. Deeper in the field Kevin Titman took to the high line as he battled for position with Shaun Dobson and Brooke Tatnell, while at the front of the field Donny Schatz was edging ever so slightly closer to McHugh and the race lead, and McFadden was putting all kinds of pressure on Goodyer. Schatz took to the high line and made it look easy as he raced around the high-side of McHugh, spending a couple of laps getting the job done, but moving into the race lead with sixteen laps still to run. McHugh of course fought back, challenging on the low side of Schatz for several laps before the U15 racer was able to settle into the lead and begin opening a margin on the rest of the field. Rusty Hickman and Bryan Mann had a thrilling battle towards the rear of the field, racing side-by-side as Schatz approached to try and put them a lap down. Schatz got momentarily caught behind the duo, giving McHugh and Madsen a chance to close in, but once Schatz cleared the lapped traffic he left McHugh, Madsen and McFadden to negotiate over second. Madsen got underneath McHugh as they rounded turn three, managing to get the W2 racer a fraction in front, only for McHugh to fire back around the high side through turn four and regain the advantage for several more laps. Madsen timed his run perfectly racing underneath McHugh as the race drew to a close, but it was Donny Schatz who again got the win, making it five feature race victories from five race nights so far on this Australian trip. Kerry Madsen finished second ahead of Lachlan McHugh, while James McFadden and Jock Goodyer rounded out the top five. Andrew Scheuerle finished sixth ahead of Luke Oldfield, Jack Lee, Kalib Henry, Shaun Dobson, Brooke Tatnell, Brent Kratzmann, David Murcott, Rusty Hickman, Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman. Brock Hallett and Mitchell Gee did not finish the event, withdrawing to the infield in the first half of the event.

Sprintcars return to Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway tonight for the final night of competition in the Titan Garages Sprintcar Australian Open. Donny Schatz will be looking to get his tenth win in this prestigious event, but the weekend is set to conclude with a 50-lap A-main event and it is still something anyone could win. There is a lot of tough competition here for Schatz, so come on out to Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway tonight see all the action as it unfolds. Come and cheer on your favourite and don't forget to pop down to the pits after the racing has finished, meet the drivers and crews, see the cars up close, and pick up some merchandise. See you trackside!


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