Australian Open Action Starts Tonight
Author : Archerfield Speedway
Tonight is the night. All of the action over the last few weeks has been leading up to this; the 2018 Performance Wholesale Australian Sprintcar Open gets underway tonight (Friday, January 5) at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway, concluding tomorrow night with the 50-lap feature race. The event, which also doubles as round seven of World Series Sprintcars has attracted 45 of the very best Sprintcar drivers from Australia and overseas chasing the $20 000 first prize. A quintet of (very) quick Americans are on a quest to snatch the cash from the hands of the Aussie aces in what will be another epic edition of Queensland’s biggest Sprintcar race.
The last four Sprintcar feature races at Archerfield have been won by American stars, with 9-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz and fellow WoO ace Logan Schuchart winning two apiece. Even the presence of Australian champion Kerry Madsen, former two-time national champ and three-time WSS champion James McFadden and 2015/2016 WSS champion Jamie Veal could stop the American domination during Wednesday nights World Series round, with Schatz and Pennsylvania-based racer Lucas Wolfe finishing first and second in the feature race. It was Tasmanian Shaun Dobson and local favourite Luke Oldfield who proved the best of the Aussie contingent on that occasion, finishing fourth and fifth respectively ahead of Madsen, Schuchart, McFadden, Veal and another former national champ in David Murcott.
Californian Carson Macedo was spectacular on Wednesday, charging through the C and B Mains and then surging forward in the feature race to finish 10th, while fellow statesider Dominic Scelzi finished 12th, the pair separated by West Australian WSS regular Daniel Harding and local teenager Callum Walker. Rounding out the field on Wednesday were former track champions Andrew Scheuerle, Bryan Mann, a couple of young guns in Lachlan McHugh and Jye OKeefe, Sydney top gun Sam Walsh and Toowoombas Peter Lack.
So will the 2010 Australian Open trophy land in the lap of one of these drivers, or will somebody else emerge from the pack to secure the cash and the acclaim. After a series of frustrations at recent events, can Mitchell Gee finally enjoy the good fortune that is a necessary ingredient for success? Will it be South Australias Brad Keller or one of the Victorians in Darren Mollenoyux or Tim Van Ginniken who rise to the challenge? Perhaps it will be Steven Lines who, having missed Wednesdays event, will sneak under the radar and snatch the prize. After all, it is unlikely that the former WSS champion is making the journey from South Australia simply to make up the numbers.
Whatever the outcome, two things are certain. The racing will be sensational and whoever holds the Australian Open trophy aloft at the completion of 50 frantic laps will have earned their moment in the spotlight. Can Madsen defend his Australian Open crown or will Schatz finish his latest down under campaign with yet another win in the event? The only way to find out is to be at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway tonight and tomorrow night.
Of course, in addition to the world class Sprintcar action, there will be a huge support program that includes the Stockmans Civil & Plant Queensland Lightning Sprint Championship and Modlites on Friday night, with AMCA Nationals, Formula 500s and Wingless Sprints on Saturday.
The state Lightning Sprint title looms as perhaps their most competitive event of the season, which is to be expected, with defending champ Wayne Iacono to take on Australian titleholder Kurt Wilson and former winners of the event in Keith Blatch and Sean Iacono. Fresh from a feature race win at Archerfield on December 30, NSWs Danny Stone is also a contender, as are siblings Aaron and Kirsty Kelly and another NSW-based racer in Peter Styles, who has several feature race wins to his credit this season.
In what will be the culmination of a busy couple of weeks for Modlite competitors with several events at Archerfield and elsewhere, look for Australian champ Aaron Prosser, newly crowned Queensland champion Klinton Hancey and the man who has held both titles in Terry Leerentveld to be at the forefront of the action. It was Prosser who won the previous event here just two nights ago from Leerentveld and Hancey, with Kyle Honour and another former state champ in Will Butler also in the mix on that occasion.
On Saturday night, Australian Formula 500 champion Liam Williams returns from racing in America to take on partner Kristin Brown, who blitzed the field at the previous event, in round three of the Ian Boettcher Race Parts Stampede Series. Round one winner Kurt Wilson will also be looking for further success, while Tristan Johnson and Nick Hodges have been on the pace in both rounds and should again feature prominently in the results.
Round six of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship will see previous round winner Steve Price again take on Steve Potts, Matt Hardy and former national champ Shane McKinnell, along with Nathan Durston, Michael Mason and Thomas Vickery and another 10 drivers seeking to shine in the big stage.
Brant Chandler, Brian Dixon, Cody OConnell and Brad Keiler are amongst the dozen nominations for round six of the Ian Boettcher race Parts Wingless Sprint Club Championship, with OConnell bringing some good form into the event, having won their most recent feature event in Maryborough.
Gates open both nights at 4.00pm, with online ticketholders gaining early entry from 3.30pm. Early racing gets underway from 5.00pm and the main program will kick off from 6.00pm. Sprintcar time trials tonight will commence at 5.30pm.
Tickets can be purchased in advance from the track website at www.brisbanespeedway.com.au, with online ticketholders securing early entry to the grounds from 3.30pm.
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