Another feature race at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway and another win to Donny Schatz, with the World of Outlaws champion wrapping up his 2018/2019 tour with victory in round seven of World Series Sprintcars on Wednesday night (January 9), presented by Performance Wholesale. Whilst the timesheets suggest a close result, Schatz always looked comfortable at the front of the field, even when Jamie Veal closed in over the concluding stages. Despite Veals best efforts, Schatz held firm to win his fourth feature race from five starts, with local favourite Luke Oldfield finishing in third spot. Australian champ Kerry Madsen finished fourth to emerge as the new series leader, with Peter Lack completing the first five.
In an ominous sign of what was to come, Schatz topped qualifying with a best lap of 11.354, edging out Oldfield (11.424) to clinch Revolution Racegear Quick Time. Jack Lee (11.439) was next best, followed by Brad Keller (11.457) and Brooke Tatnell (11.467), with Jock Goodyer, James McFadden, Mitchell Wormall and Andrew Scheuerle next best ahead of Veal.
Having topped time trials at the previous round, Jye OKeeffe could time no better than 24th on this occasion and just squeezed into the inversion to start the opening heat from pole position. Needless to say, he went on to take the race ahead of Danny Porter and Rusty Hickman, while WoO star Logan Schuchart saw his hopes for a strong result (or any result at all) evaporate when he detonated an engine.
Heat two saw Lachlan McHugh hold on to defeat Madsen and Lines, while heat three went to Carson Macedo in advance of Lack and Tim Farrell.
OKeeffe doubled up to take out an action-packed heat four, this time over Lack and McFadden. An overly ambitious passing move from Jock Goodyer saw the young Tasmanian finish upside down after riding over Mitchell Wormall, while both Andrew Corbett and Ryan McNamara were forced out with flat tyres.
Jessie Attard proved one hurdle too many for Oldfield in heat five, the young Sydneysider holding on to win as Oldfield stormed from eighth to finish second ahead of Brent Kratzmann. After a disappointing run in qualifying, McHughs recovery suffered a setback when he was helped into a spin by Jason Pryde and, although the Gold Coast-based youngster charged hard and climbed back to fifth, the incident ultimately saw him miss direct qualification into the feature race.
Macedo bagged a double with victory in the final heat, leading home Steven Lines and Jack Lee in a race that featured the biggest incident of the night when Tim Farrell flipped out through turn three, contacting Porter and leaving the Territorian with a flat tyre and no front wing but a determination to persevere regardless.
The B Main served as a reminder of the fearlessness of youth as Goodyer, Hickman and Attard became embroiled in a great dice for the minor placings behind McHugh. With three laps remaining, Attard surged past Goodyer and Hickman to snatch second, only to find himself back in fourth spot on the following lap as the trio showed scant regard for the fact they were already safely ensconced in a transfer position.
The opening round of the Pole Shootout saw Veal and Keller advance, leaving Tatnell and Lines to share row four. The second round produced an identical outcome when Veal and Kellor outpaced McFadden and Lee to earn a shot at Schatz and Oldfield in the final clash. Much to the delight of the local fans, Oldfield prevailed to secure pole position for the 35-lap feature race, to be joined on the front row by Schatz, with Veal and Keller to occupy row two.
Oldfield blasted out of the blocks to lead the feature race field field away, although the first interruption came after just two laps when Scheuerle stopped in turn one. Veal shot to the front on lap three and held the position through the next restart on lap five following an incident in the back straight that left Kratzmann and Pryde parked against the inside wall. Back underway and Schatz had grown tired of following the leaders and moved to the front. The margin fluctuated as lapped traffic became a factor, with several of the backmarkers seemingly determined to take on the race leader. Veal closed the gap considerably in the closing stages but there was no stopping Schatz as he cruised home to cap off another memorable Aussie tour. After being squeezed for room by McFadden through turn four that resulted in the latter advancing to third, Oldfield reclaimed the position when McFadden exited on lap 31. Madsen and Lack came next, followed by Tatnell, Keller, Lee and McHugh, who put in another barnstorming run from near the back of the field to emerge ninth at the flag, Mitchell Wormall rounded out the top ten ahead of Macedo, Scheuerle, Hickman, Attard and Lines, with Goodyer and O'Keefe the remaining finishers.
Sam Gollschewsky won two Modlite heat races but had no answer for Terry Leerentveld in the feature race. Leerentveld, who was also a heat winner, finished more than 2.5 seconds ahead of Gollschewsy, with a similar margin back to third-placed Chris Were, who also tasted victory in the heats. Scott Lehfeldt, Kyle Honour and Jac Carnall were the best of the rest.
The Compact Speedcar feature race saw Nick Gannon finish in first spot ahead of Dave Collins, Wayne Corbett, Trent Usher and Mitchell Rooke. Heat wins went to Glenn Wright (2) and Cody Maroske, but neither had much to offer in the feature race.
The next event at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is the Prelude to the Title on Wednesday, January 23, with the Australian Sprintcar Championship to follow on January 26 and 27.
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