World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz delivered a dominant display to win round six of World Series Sprintcars at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Wednesday night (January 3). In a race that saw American drivers fill three of the top six spots, Schatz was a class above the rest on this occasion, leading every circulation after qualifying on pole position for the 30-lap feature event. Continuing the form that carried him onto the podium just two nights earlier, Lucas Wolfe advanced from position five to finish in second spot ahead of Tasmania’s Shaun Dobson, while Luke Oldfield finished best of the locals in fourth. Australian champion Kerry Madsen advanced from position nine to finish fifth and extend his series lead, with Logan Schuchart snaring sixth ahead of the first of the contracted drivers in James McFadden. Next best was Jamie Veal ahead of Dave Murcott, with Carson Macedo collecting a hard earned top ten result having advanced through the C and B mains.
Callum Walker (11.740) set the early benchmark in qualifying and held sway at the top of the timesheets until Brad Keller upped the ante with a best lap of 11.700, which looked as though it would be enough until Schatz hit the track and wasted no time in recording an 11.585 on his first timed lap. However, as he has done here so many times before, Oldfield delivered something special and clocked an 11.557 to emerge with Revolution Racegear Fast Time. Jye O’Keefe timed fifth fastest, followed by Sam Walsh, McFadden, Jason Pryde, Bryan Mann and Kaiden Manders.
McFadden surged from seventh to win the opening heat race, while Oldfield covered even more territory in advancing from tenth to finish second ahead of Darren Jensen and Lachlan McHugh.
Starting tenth in heat two, Schatz had raced to second after just four laps of racing and then pounced to pinch the lead from Mitchell Wormall immediately after a restart on lap five. Wormall remained more than seven seconds clear of third-placed Jason Pryde with another West Aussie in Kaiden Manders fourth.
In a race that saw Madsen inexplicably spin himself out of reckoning, heat three went to Dominic Scelzi over Michael Saller and Schuchart, who relegated Andrew Scheuerle on the final lap.
Kevin Titman clocked a much needed win in heat four, leading home Darren Mollenoyux and Wolfe, who advanced from the back row.
Oldfield surged again in heat five, this time making it all the way to the front from ninth, with Mitchell Gee and Glen Sutherland filling the minor placings.
In the battle of youth at the front of the field in heat six, Wormall prevailed over McHugh, with Jensen keeping Macedo, McFadden and Schatz at bay for third.
Heat seven, which was interrupted by an incident in turn three that resulted in both Murcott and Dylan Menz finishing upside down, saw Schuchart execute another last gasp pass, this time edging Saller in the sprint to the chequer by just 0.086. Titman trailed in third ahead of Peter Lack and Wolfe.
In the final heat race it was Maroske who prevailed over Scelzi, Veal and Daniel Harding.
Maroske was back on track for the C Main and looked a likely winner until succumbing to Macedo on the final lap. With only two transfer spots into the B Main, there was plenty of desperation on display, with Nelson Reddacliff riding out a heavy wreck in turn one.
Macedo would continue his charge in the B Main, storming through the field to finish second behind Scheuerle, taking Harding, Walsh, Scelzi and Lack with them into the feature race. Manders saw his feature race aspirations fizzle when he tagged the man straight wall after contact with Pryde, whose subsequent spin on lap 10 cruelled his chances.
Launching away from pole position, Schatz quickly distanced himself from the field in the feature race, leaving Dobson and Oldfield to argue over the minor placings through the early stages. As the laps wound down, Wolfe made it a three-way scrap and eventually skipped clear to clinch the runner-up position, with Dobson’s determination to remain high on the track ultimately reaping the reward of third place ahead of Oldfield. Just as it looked as though the race would run without interruption, McHugh looped in turn two on lap 26 to bring Schatz back to the pack and offer Wolfe a sniff of victory. It was not to be however as Schatz was untroubled over the final four laps to collect the second win of his 2017/2018 Australian campaign. Madsen made ground through the second half of the race to wind up fifth, while Schuchart looked on the path to an even higher finish before fading late to settle on sixth, with McFadden finishing where he started. Veal backslid from fourth to eighth, with Murcott making a small gain to snare ninth ahead of Macedo, who climbed from 16th. Harding, Walker, Scelzi and Keller were next in line, followed by Scheuerle, Mann, McHugh and O’Keefe, with only Walsh and Lack failing to finish.
In round five of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, Scott Farmer extended his series lead with an emphatic win in the 20-lap feature event. Having qualified on pole position, Palmer led throughout to finish ahead of Darren Dillon, whose scrap with Adam Wallis was a battle of contrasts; Dillon glued to the pole line while Wallis explored up high. Wallis moved ahead of Dillon on lap six, only to lose the spot again on lap 15 to finish third. Mark George fared fourth ahead of Brad Harrison, Reid Mackay and Nathan Mathers, with Brad Young, Cal Whatmore and Kristy Bonsey rounding out the top ten.
Heat winners were Farmer, Dillon, Harrison and Mathers, with Darren Vine the best of the rest with runner-up results in both outings.
A rough and tumble Compact Speedcar feature race produced a thrilling finish when Wayne Corbett slipped underneath Dave Collins on the final lap to clinch the win. James Barton finished third in advance of Glenn Wright, Richard Treanor and Bernie Clarke, while Jim Kennedy, Jayden OToole and Dave Swan were the only others to go the distance. Separate incidents on lap four saw Steve Swingler, Matt ONeill, Tim Farrell, Graeme Flynn and Barry Gibbes exit proceedings.
Treaner triumphed in the first two heats before a last corner shuffle in the final heat saw Vine victorious over Gibbes and Wright, the latter having led from the opening lap.
Following heat wins to Terry Leerentveld, Kyle Honour and Australian titleholder Aaron Prosser, it was the national champ who prevailed in the feature race, leading home Leerentveld, Klinton Hancey, Will Butler and Steve Collins.
Racing continues at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway this Friday and Saturday nights (January 5 & 6) with the World Series Sprintcar Australian Open, culminating with the 50-lap, $20 000-to-win feature race. Lightning Sprints will contest their Queensland championship on Friday evening, with Modlites and Formula 500 Juniors also on the program, while Saturday night will include Formula 500s, AMCA Nationals and Wingless Sprints.