Sunday December 31, 2017 Archerfield Speedway
On a night that saw some tweaking to the race format in an effort to stay ahead of impending rain that was moving towards the venue, World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz was unstoppable in the 35-lap Sprintcar feature race at Ausdek patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 30), leading home Andrew Scheuerle and Brent Kratzman to win round nine of the East Coast Logistics Track championship. Scheuerle led the opening moments of the race after qualifying on pole position, but he was unable to counter when Schatz slipped underneath through turn two on lap five to take control.
In round three of the Super Sedan Summer Slam, Queensland champion Matt Pascoe continued his remarkable run of success this season to secure his second feature race win in 24 hours and his fifth for the season. Whilst Pascoe faced little resistance in leading all 40 laps, the action behind was intense from the outset with Sean Black and Jarrod Harper embroiled in a great scrap for the minor placings that ultimately saw Black prevail as Harper found himself edged out of third by Darren Kane in a frantic finish.
With rain forecast for later in the evening, promoter John Kelly opted for a change of format akin to the model used on the World of Outlaws tour whereby each driver contests one heat race, with the first four finishers in each heat transferring into the feature race field, the rest left to traverse the B and C Mains to secure their spot. The move proved a masterstroke and saw the completion of the race meeting before 9.30pm.
As always, time trial qualifying got things underway and, in stark contrast to the setbacks he endured at this point in proceedings just two nights earlier, it was Callum Walker (11.930) who emerged with KRE Fast Time, the only driver to go under 12 seconds. Scheuerle (12.093) and Kratzmann (12.131) were next quickest, followed by the American trio of Lucas Wolfe (12.157), Logan Schuchart (12.181) and Schatz (12.185).
The opening heat saw Luke Oldfield advance from position three to assume the lead on lap six, leading home Walker, Mark Pholi and Paul Rooks.
With Scheuerle taking out heat two from the front row, Schatz slotted into second spot and remained there to the chequer, with Jayden Peacock and Cody Maroske also booking a spot in the big show.
Kratzmann cruised home to win heat three in advance of Peter Lack, Allan Woods and Steven Rowell.
Wolfe enjoyed a inauspicious start to his Australian campaign when he was penalised for jumping the start in heat four, gifting US-based Lynton Jeffrey pole position. In his first race at Archerfield, Jeffrey took maximum advantage of his good fortune to lead home Brock Dean, Wolfe and Kaiden Manders.
Bryan Zelinski downed Adam Butler and Mitch Gowland in the C Main, while Dave Whell was untroubled in winning the B Main. In what was perhaps the drive of the night, Darren Jensen stormed from deep in the field to snatch the final transfer into the feature with a thrilling last gasp lunge under Dylan Menz.
Scheuerle got the initial jump to get the feature race underway, only for the race to be halted when Walker, who had been bounced around like a pinball in the first turn, found himself stranded in the same spot a lap later. Upon resumption, Scheuerle led away again from Schatz and the two leaders ran together, with Scheuerle sitting mid-track and Schatz higher still, until the latter made his move with an inside run through turn two that took him to the front. Once in control, Schatz was unstoppable and only saw his lead diminish courtesy of restarts, the first of which came when Oldfield and Jeffrey tangled in a dispute over fourth spot. With Jeffrey out and Oldfield banished to the back, Kratzmann moved to third and held it to the end. In the wake of his B Main heroics, Jensen was on the charge again and had climbed into the top ten from 18th when contact with Peacock ended his run and halted proceedings. When Manders flipped out in turn one with just two laps to go, the race was declared with Schatz the winner from Scheuerle, Kratzmann, Lack, Wolfe and Woods, with Pholi, Dean, a recovering Oldfield and Walker rounding out the top ten ahead of Steve Rowell.
The opening Super Sedan heat saw Wayne Randall prevail in a close affair, leading Kane and Gavin Northfield to the line.
Heat two saw a good win for NSWs Darren Anning ahead of Dale Christensen and Tasmanian Adam Beechey, with Black besting Pascoe and Harper to win heat three.
Harper chased down Matt Williams to win heat four, with Lachlan Onley finishing in third spot.
Ryan Alexander took out heat five over Pascoe, who made good use of the multi-groove track to advance from sixth, with Black third home.
The final heat saw Steve Jordan outgun round two runner-up Michael Nicola, with Ian Brims third on this occasion.
From the drop of the green in the 40-lap feature race, Pascoe shot to the front and remained firmly planted in the prime position. The gap fluctuated at times due to a couple of stoppages, but Pascoe never looked under serious threat, perhaps partly because Black spent the entire race fending off the advances of Harper, who found speed on the outside but just couldn�t execute a pass to completion, ultimately leaving him vulnerable to Kane�s advances. The three drivers raced close, hard and clean but Black could not be budged. Three laps from home, Kane slipped ahead of Harper to clinch third, with Jordan and Alexander now also in the mix. Pascoe cruised home to defeat Black, Kane, Harper, Jordan and Alexander, with Onley, Wayne Randall, Anning and Nicola completing the first ten ahead of Northfield and Justin Randall. Next best were Sam Roza and Daryl Moon, leaving Kyall Fisher Bob McCosker and Brims, who spun himself out of a much better result on the final lap, as the remaining finishers.
Steve Price won a hard fought AMCA Nationals feature race win, fending off the best efforts of Steve Potts to secure the result, with Matt Hardy annexing third spot. Wayne Simpson secured fourth, while a late-race restart triggered a flurry of positional changes that resulted in Russ Hardy leapfrogging Jim Knight and Lewis Gamble for fifth.
With misty rain falling on a slippery black track surface, Lightning Sprint competitors did a great job to complete their 20-lap feature race without interruption. Danny Stone shot to the front early and set the others the task of chasing him down, a mission that proved too much. Keith Blatch bagged a second-place finish behind Stone, with Kurt Wilson, Aaron Kelly and Kirsty Kelly the best of the rest.
The Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans were down in numbers, leaving Jason Walsh largely untroubled in taking out the feature race over Matthew Hannigan, Daniel Wright, Troy Price and Michael Laver.