Another healthy crowd gathered to the Supercheap Auto Archerfield Speedway last night to see American imports Donny Schatz and Jason Sides take on Queensland’s best Sprintcar drivers on their home turf.
North Dakotan Donny Schatz made his intentions clear straight out of the trailer when he beat Tennessee native Jason Sides by just under two-hundredths of a second to qualify fastest in time trials. Schatz stopped the clock with an 11.501 lap averaging 125 kilometres an hour. David Muir was the fastest Australian, circulating third quickest.
Heat one of the night and Schatz drove from the rear of the field to finish third behind Paul Morris who was elated with his win and Terry Bracken in second.
Jason Sides had a similar view in Heat two, starting from the rear, he moved forward enough to cross the line in fourth place with Melissa Boyes the convincing victor ahead of David Whell and Paul Rooks.
In Heat three Luke Oldfield made the trip over the border count with a speedy finish clocking the fastest lap time in heat racing on the night - 11.850 seconds - ahead of second generation driver Brad Ayers and third generation racer Ben Hilder.
Schatz returned with another faultless drive to win Heat four ahead of Anthony Lambert and Paul Morris. Danny Reidy and James Grady clashed resulting Reidy upside down. His hard working crew went about some make-shift repairs to the #5 machine and with the support of a vocal crowd, were able to get back out on track in time to finish the race; albeit with a very crumpled top wing.
The carnage continued in Heat number five with Stephen Greer and Kevin Titman coming together across the start line. Titman entered into a countless number of barrel rolls and end-for-ends, ultimately landing on top of Greer. Both drivers walked away from the crash, Titman’s machine terminal, Greer returned for the B-main only to retire due to complications mid-race. With the track cleared and the field settled down it was Luke Oldfield that scored his second heat win of the night ahead of Jason Sides and Steven Rowell.
The final heat of the night saw David Whell drive well to a close, race win ahead of Mick Sauer and Melissa Boyes.
The Lucas Oil Dash was over in a flash, the finishing order read Jason Sides, Donny Schatz, Luke Oldfield, David Muir, Andrew Scheuerle, Steven Rowell, Paul Rooks and Mark Pholi. This would also be the first four rows of the 35 lap Feature race.
The B-Main was to determine the last two rows of the grid and it was a spinning affair but when the checkers fell it was Peter Lack (returning after a huge crash Boxing Night) who put a win on the board for his team ahead of Anthony Lambert, Paul Morris and Dan Murray; all transferring through to the main event.
The crowd sat up out of their seats as eighteen Sprintcars were started for the 35 lap KRE Race Engines Feature race. Jason Sides jumped from pole to lead for the first lap but a wheelstand in turn two on the second lap, forced him out of the gas momentarily, allowing Schatz to fly by into first place. Sides took another lap to regain momentum allowing Scheuerle to take second place. Muir was right behind Sides and running the high line. For the next eight laps the top order stayed the same, Schatz caught lapped traffic on lap-6. Oldfield was on a charge with a gutsy and determined drive, now joining the Muir/Sides battle. Lap ten and Melissa Boyes spun in turn one bringing on the first yellow light.
25 laps remained as the green flag was shown for the first restart and Schatz cleared the field ahead of Scheuerle. Four laps would be counted before the stoppage came about from Pholi and Hilder coming together in turn one. During that stint the Muir, Oldfield and Reidy scrum had the crowd to their feet with some wheel to wheel racing.
The next restart was short lived with Paul Morris upside down before a lap could be counted. Then the next attempt lasted one lap more with Lambert spinning in turn one, affecting a regroup of the field for a fourth restart.
Green light and this time all were away safely. Schatz continued to drive in a commanding lead, Scheuerle following and Sides still in the chase. Behind them Muir appeared to be in trouble, Oldfield passed him round the top and an attacking Reidy shot through as well. As that was happening Sides pulled the slide job of the night on Scheuerle to reclaim second position.
With fifteen laps to go Ben Hilder got upside down coming off turn 2, stopping the field completely. The battle for the minors continued upon restart with Reidy and Oldfield continuing their battle, swapping position many times. Muir retired after 5 laps with a miss in the motor just as Peter Lack spun in turn two.
Eleven laps remained on the board as they rolled around for the final restart. Schatz raced on to win his 30th main event for 2013 ahead of Jason Sides who finished the night well in second place. Luke Oldfield claimed third, he moved past Scheuerle in the dying stages of the 35 lap race and was catching Sides at a convincing rate.
The Midget cars staged Round 4 of the Polar Ice Series and Round 2 winner Matt Smith repeated this performance but this time driving Jason Gray’s #7 car which he intends to race for the Australian Title later this month at Archerfield. Smith drove away from the field ahead of Brett Thomas flew up from Melbourne to compete (a racy interlude to his holidays) and made the trip worthwhile by securing second place on the podium but only just. A hard-charging Dwayne Kingshott was closing in and almost caught Thomas on the finish line. He too was looking to make his trip worthwhile having traversed the continent from West Australia to drive the #89 car of Michael Kendall who is currently racing in New Zealand.
Mick Sweeney won the Open Sedan Feature in a close battle through lapped traffic ahead of Bob Ware and Gary Wemyss whilst David Tookey again showed them how by taking out the FordvHoldenvSigma feature race in his Ford.
The crowd enjoyed a great fireworks show and the very unique double-decker race. Twice now this novelty event has been run but there remains just won winner. The event’s inceptor Tiger Willis, a mainstay at Archerfield, showed his style and took victory again this year; most entertaining.
Join us on January 1 when the Sprintcars return for USA Night 3 and Round 8 of the KRE Race Engines Series. It’s a massive night of racing ahead, the V8 Dirt Modifieds will roar into the New Year along with Compact Speedcars, Stock Cars, the Brisbane Sedans, the SSA Juniors, another huge fireworks show and a win-it-or-bin-it crazy Demolition Derby.
Avoid the queues and purchase your tickets online at brisbanespeedway.com.au online purchases also entitle you to early entry. Pit gates open at 3pm; spectator gates 4pm (3.30pm for online sales). There’ll be pre-program racing from approx 4.30 and the main program will commence at 6pm. Check the website for ticket prices. See you there!Congratulations to the podium finishers for USA Night 2/KRE Race Engines Sprint Car Series Round 7 L-R: 3RD #17 Luke Oldfield, 1ST #USA15 Donny Schatz, 2ND #USA7 Jason SidesCongratulations also to the podium finishers for USA Night 2/Polar Ice Midget Car Series Round 4 L-R: 2ND #69 Brett Thomas, 1ST #7 Matt Smith, 3RD #89 Dayne Kingshott