After just over a month with no racing locally, the stars of Sprintcars Queensland were keen to get back track side at Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night where they were set to contest Round 10 of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series. While the day saw beautiful blue skies, the sun shining with a typical Queensland heat, the clouds rolled in during qualifying and we endured yet another rain delay. With only two bouts of rain on the radar we waited the weather out and Archerfield Speedway Promoter John Kelly jumped straight into prepping the track. Having lost a couple of hours we were forced to alter our format, once again adopting the Outlaws format, with Luke Oldfield finally managing to get a win on the board this season. Oldfield led every lap of the main event after starting from pole position, but Andrew Scheuerle stepped up the pace in the closing laps, challenging hard in lapped traffic but ultimately forced to settle for second. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third, edging ever closer to the leaders as they navigated lapped traffic, with Callum Walker home in fourth. Peter Lack crossed the line an impressive fifth, after initially starting the B-Main from position seven before securing a transfer and weaving his way through the field to salvage a top five finish.
Qualifying got underway with the field split into three heat groups. Luke Oldfield set the pace early, locking in an 11.993 second lap for the first qualifying group, with Peter Lack and Mick Sauer rounding out the quickest three. Callum Walker was quickest of the second group, stopping the clock at 11.805 seconds, which, ultimately proved too quick for the rest of the field, with Walker securing the quickest overall time. Mitchell Gee and Brent Kratzmann rounded out the fastest three of group two. Andrew Scheuerle topped the leader board in the final heat group to hit the track for qualifying, stopping the clock at 11.915 seconds, ahead of Ben Hilder and Geoff Ensign. Oldfield, Walker and Scheuerle were the only cars to break into the 11-second bracket, while Steve Greer up-tuned the Q84 racer during his qualifying run. Brad Ayers failed to record a time, mechanical gremlins plaguing the NQ11 racer all night, and while Nelson Reddacliff completed his qualifying run, some mechanical issue on board the Q85 racer saw him elect to withdraw from the race meeting.
The rain hit after qualifying was completed and after a lengthy delay while we waited for the rain to clear and re-prep the track, we were finally able to get underway. With so much time lost we switched to the Outlaws format, with the fastest from each qualifying group starting from the front of the heats and the top five finishers of each of the three heats earning automatic starts in the main event.
It was ten past eight before the first heat hit the track, with Luke Oldfield and Peter Lack to lead the field to the green. Lack got the jump on the start and quickly secured the lead, with Oldfield in hot pursuit. Allan Woods settled into second in advance of Mick Sauer and Andrew Corbet, but with only one lap completed Lack and Oldfield were already starting open a sizable lead over the rest of the field. Within just three laps the leaders had caught the tail end of the field and were beginning to weave their way through lapped traffic. Kevin Britten tried to find a way past Karl Hoffmans, while coming under fire from Dale Shilleto, with Kristy Bonsey soon joining the battle for the minor positions. Shilleto was looking for a way past on the inside of Britten in turn four but ended up sideways in front of Bonsey, leaving the Q42 racer with nowhere to go. Despite collecting the Q51 racer of Shilleto, Bonsey managed to keep her car moving, while the leaders managed to avoid the incident as it unfolded right in front of them. Shilleto however stopped on the track and brought the race under caution. Lack led the restart from Oldfield, Woods and Sauer with six laps left to run, with Lack and Oldfield again immediately pulling away from the field. Britten resumed his battle with Hoffmans, this time with Bonsey on his tail and looking for a way through, while Woods closed in on the leaders as they again began to make their way past the back markers. Lack looked unstoppable out in front but Oldfield was quick and had one last look on the outside of Lack as they rounded the final corner. Unfortunately for Lack a lapped car spun right in front of him, leaving him nowhere to go, the Q5 racer ending up stopped in turn four within sight on the chequered flag. The race restarted with a two lap dash to the chequered flag, Oldfield inheriting the race lead, and the win, with Lack back at the rear of the field and desperate to make up as much ground as possible in the final two laps. Luke Oldfield got the win ahead of Allan Woods and Mick Sauer, with Dave Whell home in third and leading Andrew Corbet, Karl Hoffmans, Kevin Britten, Peter Lack, Kristy Bonsey and Kris Jennings home. Dale Shilleto did not finish the event.
Heat two saw young guns Callum Walker and Mitchell Gee share the front row with Brent Kratzmann and Anthony Lambert close behind. Gee got the jump when the lights went green and settled into the lead in advance of Walker, Lambert and Kratzmann, while Brett Minett and Stewart Craig fought over mid-field positions as they took the green. Minett quickly pulled ahead of Craig, while Brendon Claridge and Nathan McFarlane raced either side of Steve Greer. Claridge ran the bottom, with McFarlane up top, the pair then looking to race underneath Craig all before they made it into turn one. McFarlane led the mid-field battle out of turn two, but unfortunately the race was quickly brought under caution when Claridge spun the Q31 racer. A full restart followed with Walker this time getting the better start when the lights went green and leading the field into turn one. Gee was exceptionally quick on the top side and made it look easy as he raced around the outside of Walker to secure the lead as they made their way through the opening turns, with Walker left to settle for second but defending his position from Kratzmann and Lambert. Brett Minett and Mark Pholi clashed wheels a couple of time on the opening lap, the pair exchanging mid-field positions a number of times before Minett secured the advantage, leaving Pholi to defend his position from Stewart Craig. Three laps into the race Pholi ran too wide in turn two, allowing Craig to slip through and opening the door for Brock Dean as well. As Pholi tried to recover coming out of turn two and heading down the back straight, contact with Dean launched the Q14 of Pholi high into the catch fence. It was a huge crash, with Pholi making very heavy contact with the light pole in front of the pit hill, parts of the main wing ripping off as he cartwheeled into the fence. Fortunately Mark was able to walk away from the wreck, with reports this morning that he is sore but otherwise fine. Brent Kratzmann suffered a fire on board the Q2 racer during the stoppage for Pholi, and while Kratzmann was quick to exit the car, he was unable to continue the race. Gee led the restart from Walker, with Lambert inheriting third with the departure of Kratzmann. Minett challenged Lambert for third, having a big look on the inside of the Q90 racer as they rounded turn four, all while Stewart Craig closed in quickly. Brock Dean soon joined the mid-field battle, he and Craig exchanging positions several times as the laps wore on, while at the front of the field Walker had a look on the inside of Gee as they began making their way past lapped traffic. Mitchell Gee took the win with Callum Walker home in second and Anthony Lambert crossing the line in third. Brett Minett was fourth home and led Brock Dean, Stewart Craig, Nathan McFarlane, Steve Greer, Brendon Claridge and Liam Atkinson across the line. Brent Kratzmann and Mark Pholi did not finish the event.
Andrew Scheuerle and Ben Hilder shared the front row for the start of heat three, with Geoff Ensign and Cody Maroske from the second row. Scheuerle and Hilder raced side-by-side into turn one, with Hilder on the topside securing the advantage as they rounded the first corner. Scheuerle settled into second while Maroske sat in third. Travis Woods raced underneath Ensign to take fourth in the second corner, but lost his position to Ensign just a lap later. The race was brought under caution with just two laps completed when Phill Foster climbed over the left rear of Andrew Marks, causing Marks to spin in turn one. Hilder led the restart from Scheuerle and Maroske, but the race was brought under caution once more when Travis Woods spun the NQ28 racer in turn four just one lap into the restart. Hilder again led the field to the green, looking extremely comfortable out in front, despite the Q25 of Scheuerle on his tail. Ensign began looking for a way underneath Maroske while Jason King and Andrew Marks battled deep in the field and Travis Woods tried to climb his way forward after restarting at the rear of the field. Woods made up several positions before again spinning the NQ28 racer and being forced to the infield for the final two laps. Ben Hilder went on to take the win, withstanding the immense pressure from Andrew Scheuerle as they raced closer to the chequered flag, with Scheuerle forced to settle for second. Geoff Ensign crossed the line in third and led Cody Maroske, Phill Foster, Dan Murray, Mitch Gowland, Jason King, Andrew Marks and Randy Morgan home. Travis Woods did not finish the race, while the mechanical demons in the NQ11 racer of Brad Ayers prevented Ayers from turning a single lap.
Several cars withdrew from the C-Main event before it started, leaving just four cars. With the field so depleted the C-Main was abandoned and all four scheduled starters were added to the rear of the B-Main field.
With the C-Main cancelled we went straight into the Dash event, with Luke Oldfield and Mitchell Gee from the front row for the start. Oldfield got a magnificent start when the green flag flew and made it look effortless as he took control of the race and started opening a small lead over Gee. Allan Woods and Andrew Scheuerle began searching for a way past Callum Walker, with Walker soon pulling slightly ahead as he chased after Ben Hilder, leaving Woods and Scheuerle to their own battle. Scheuerle raced beautifully underneath Woods as they rounded turn two, with Walker then uncharacteristically spinning the Q33 racer to a stop in turn four. Oldfield led the restart and was untouchable out in front, going on to take the win and earn pole position for the A-Main race. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in second and led Ben Hilder, Andrew Scheuerle, Callum Walker and Allan Woods home.
Sixteen cars lined up for the start of the fifteen-lap B-Main event, with Dan Murray and Stewart Craig to lead them away. Murray got the jump on the start and quickly secured the lead, opening a very comfortable margin over his rivals while Craig succumbed to the advances of Karl Hoffmans, the Q9 racer forced to settle for third as Hoffmans raced around the outside. Peter Lack, who started back in seventh, quickly made his way underneath Mitch Gowland before setting his sights on Nathan McFarlane, while deeper in the field Brendon Claridge made his way underneath Andrew Marks. Dale Shilleto and Kristy Bonsey fought over the minor positions, with Bonsey having a brilliant run on the bottom, racing underneath Shilleto in turn four just as Shilleto raced underneath Marks. The trio were three wide through the corner but it was Bonsey on the bottom who emerged in front, setting her sights on Claridge. The race was however quickly brought under caution when Stewart Craig spun to a stop exiting turn one. Murray led the restart from Hoffmans, Kevin Britten and McFarlane, with Lack sitting in fifth. Claridge got the better of Steve Greer, leaving Greer to defend his position from Bonsey, while Claridge turned his attention to Jason King. Shilleto ran too wide in turn one, opening the door for Marks, who quickly slipped underneath the Q51 racer and set out after Bonsey. Unfortunately the race was brought to another stop when Marks got a little sideways in turn four, leaving Shilleto nowhere to go. Contact between the pair saw Shilleto gently invert the beautifully presented #51 racer, with Brent Kratzmann also involved, his run of bad luck continuing when he was left nowhere to go and was unable to avoid the incident in front of him. Unfortunately both Kratzmann and Shilleto were unable to restart the race. With twelve laps still to run Murray again led the restart from Hoffmans, with Lack now up to third. Another yellow light stoppage came just one lap later, this time for Brendon Claridge and Steve Greer who had come together in turn two, with Murray again leading the restart. Nathan McFarlane and Kristy Bonsey both pulled to the infield after completing just six laps, McFarlane circulating slowly on the top side before making his way towards the infield, almost resulting in disaster for the leaders who were quickly approaching. The race was brought under caution again, with Murray to lead the restart and Lack now up to second with eight laps left to run. Lack wasted no time at all and quickly made his way around Murray to take control of the race, leading for a couple of laps before the race was again brought to a stop, this time for Jason King who had inverted the NQ69 racer after coming together with a fellow competitor. Lack led the restart with five laps to run and opened a sizable margin the moment the lights went green. Murray was comfortable in second while Kevin Britten held down third ahead of Mitch Gowland. Deeper in the field Andrew Marks raced his way underneath Steve Greer and Brendon Claridge, only for Claridge to fire straight back and regain his position half a lap later. The pair set out after Kris Jennings, with Marks racing back underneath Claridge a couple of laps later. Claridge fought back again and had one last look underneath Marks as they crossed the line, but Marks managed to hang on to ninth by a tiny 0.087 seconds. Peter Lack got the win in the eventful B-Main, with Dan Murray home in second and Mitch Gowland eventually getting the better of Kevin Britten to secure third and snare the final transfer to the A-Main. Britten crossed the line in fourth and led Karl Hoffmans, Stewart Craig, Randy Morgan, Kris Jennings, Andrew Marks, Brendon Claridge and Steve Greer home. Jason King, Nathan McFarlane, Kristy Bonsey, Dale Shilleto and Brent Kratzmann all failed to finish the event.
Luke Oldfield and Mitchell Gee led the field to the green for the start of the A-Main event, with Oldfield quickly securing the race lead. Gee settled into second ahead of Andrew Scheuerle and Ben Hilder, but Scheuerle immediately gave chase, his sights firmly on the Q36 racer of Gee. Deep in the field Peter Lack, having just transferred from the B-Main, made impressive progress on the top side, racing around his rivals as he spectacularly made up lost ground. Lack was on a mission to get to the front and was not wasting laps as he quickly made his way past his rivals, while behind him Brent Kratzmann, who had used his series provisional to start the race, was starting to weave his way through the back markers, racing underneath both Dan Murray and Mitch Gowland before looking for a way around Phill Foster. Brett Minett slammed the wall hard coming out of turn two whilst attempting to race around the outside of Dave Whell and Brock Dean, and was very lucky not to rolled the Q94 racer, giving Whell, Kratzmann, Gowland and Murray all the opportunity to get through on the bottom. Andrew Corbet and Mick Sauer fought over positions mid-field but with just four laps completed Brock Dean spun the Q8 racer in turn four and brought the race under caution.
Luke Oldfield led the restart from Mitchell Gee, Andrew Scheuerle and Allan Woods, but all eyes were on Peter Lack who had advanced to seventh in just four laps. Callum Walker raced straight underneath Woods when the race resumed, just as behind him Lack did the same to Ben Hilder, while Kratzmann made his way past Dave Whell before turning his attention to Anthony Lambert and Andrew Corbet. Hilder regained his position from Lack for a short while, even having a bold look on the inside of Woods, but Lack raced hard on the high line to get back past Hilder and focus on Woods. Mid-field Lambert was successfully holding both Corbet and Kratzmann at bay, while Dean and Whell raced wheel-to-wheel and the leaders started making their way through lapped traffic. Kratzmann, who had climbed as high as twelfth, spun the Q2 racer in turn four, with Oldfield fast approaching. Oldfield was on the high side, attempting to get past a lapped car, when he came across the stranded car of Kratzmann. Left with nowhere to go his options were limited and Oldfield spun the Q17 in an effort to avoid impact with Kratzmann, somehow managing to keep the car in motion despite slight contact with Kratzmann and almost coming to a stop.
Luke Oldfield led the restart, with Andrew Scheuerle now up to second ahead of Mitchell Gee with eighteen laps left to run. Peter Lack and Callum Walker negotiated over fourth and fifth, while behind them Ben Hilder and Allan Woods raced side-by-side as they fought over position just outside the top five. Lack was relentless on the back of Walker, but Walker remained focused and determined, and soon started to open a small margin on Lack. From the rear of the field Brent Kratzmann started to weave his way back through the field trying to make up lost ground, while the mid-field battle between Lambert and Foster resumed right where it left off. Oldfield began to carefully make his way through lapped traffic, knowing just how costly a mistake could be. Scheuerle and Gee were never far behind but when Oldfield got momentarily caught behind a lap car his lead dissipated and Scheuerle began to challenge for control of the race. Even so, Luke Oldfield finally managed to get a win on the board this season, extending his championship lead in the process, with Andrew Scheuerle home in second and Mitchell Gee having another solid run to cross the line in third. Callum Walker came home in fourth having successfully defended his position from a very hard charging Peter Lack. Lack crossed the line in fifth, a truly sensational effort to come from the middle of the B-Main field to a top five result in the main race. Allan Woods came home in sixth and led Geoff Ensign, Ben Hilder, Anthony Lambert, Dan Murray, Mick Sauer, Brent Kratzmann, Mitch Gowland and Phill Foster across the line. Brock Dean, Dave Whell, Andrew Corbet, Brett Minett and Cody Maroske all failed to finish the event.
Sprintcars Queensland return to the high banks of Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba next Saturday night, 17 February 2018 for Round Four of the Queensland Ultimate Sprintcar Championship and the Pitstop 50. It is set to be a HUGE night of Sprintcar racing so come on out, see the action for yourself and cheer on your favourite driver. Or, if you can't make it trackside, go to clayperview.com and, for a small fee, live stream the racing wherever you are (and still cheer on your favourite driver of course). See you trackside!