• Despite somewhat questionable weather yesterday morning, the skies cleared into a beautiful afternoon, just perfect for a huge night of Sprintcar racing. Thirty-six Sprintcars rolled into Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night for Round 13 of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series and while the competition was fierce all night, at the end of the 30-lap A-Main event, it was Michael Saller who stood atop the podium. Saller, the only NSW registered driver in the field, started the feature event on the outside of pole-sitter Lachlan McHugh and quickly secured the lead. He withstood several challenges as the race wore on, even briefly surrendering the lead to Mitchell Gee late in the race, but Saller proved too good on the night and claimed top honours, with Mitchell Gee home in second, while Cody Maroske crossed the line in third, having taken the final podium position from Bryan Mann in the closing stages of the race. Mann finished fourth while Andrew Scheuerle made his way into fifth by the fall of the chequered flag after having started back in thirteenth. Peter Lack had a phenomenal drive from the rear of the field, crossing the line in sixth, after starting nineteenth, and salvaging some points on what was surely a trying night for the entire GW Racing Mega Fuels sponsored team. Lachlan McHugh, who initially ran second for several laps, was unable to finish the event after contact with a fellow competitor, while Luke Oldfield was relegated to the rear of the field only a few laps in after contact with Bryan Mann and was only able to climb his way back eighth by the fall of the chequered flag.

    Qualifying got under way and while Mitchell Gee set the early benchmark with an 11.717 second lap, the track got faster as qualifying progressed, with Gee dropping back to tenth quickest at the completion of qualifying. Bryan Mann secured Quick Time, stopping the clock at 11.375 seconds, with Dan Murray, in the final group to qualify, going second quickest with an 11.419 second lap. Mick Sauer, Cody Maroske and Kevin Titman rounded out the fastest five, while the top nineteen cars all dipped into the 11-second bracket. Brent Kratzmann and Randy Morgan recorded identical times, both locking in an 11.876 second lap, while less than one second separated the top twenty-nine drivers, in the 30-car Open Sprintcar field. Peter Lack suffered mechanical issues in the Q5 racer and pulled out of his qualifying run before turning a quick lap, leaving him with a very ordinary qualifying result that would significantly effect his whole night. While the Development Series Sprintcars don’t contest qualifying, Peter Campbell was the quickest of the group in their hot lapping session, ahead of Liam Atkinson and Jason King.

    Qualifying was followed by a special tribute to Rob Kyle, car owner of the Q8 Sprintcar, who sadly lost his battle with cancer just over a week ago. Rob has been passionately involved in Sprintcars in Queensland for several decades, and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Drivers, crews, volunteers, staff, family, friends and fans gathered trackside, lining the edge of the track last night for a minute of silence before Rob’s daughter, and former Sprintcar racer, Melissa Boyes strapped into his car, which these days is piloted by Brock Dean. Boyes carried the Australian Flag for the playing of our National Anthem before handing the driving duties back to Dean for the competitive part of the night.

    Heat racing action got underway with the Development Series cars first to hit the track. Peter Campbell and Liam Atkinson led the field to the green, the pair racing side-by-side into the first corner, only for Campbell to emerge in front and lead the field into turn two. Atkinson settled into second ahead of Jason King, and while Campbell managed to pull away a little, Atkinson and King closed the gap considerably when Campbell hit lapped traffic. While Campbell made his way past the back markers, Atkinson got momentarily caught, giving King the only invitation he needed to slip through on the inside of both Atkinson and the lapped car as they raced down the main straight. Peter Campbell went on to take the win ahead of Jason King, Liam Atkinson, Nathan Black, Aleesha Woods and Libby Ellis.

    Andrew Marks started heat one of the open Sprintcars from pole position with Scott Genrich alongside. Marks got a great start on the pole line but Genrich was quick on the top side, quickly powering ahead of the Q96 racer and securing the lead by the time they entered turn one. Andrew Corbet, from position three, raced around Marks as they navigated turn one, settling into second and setting out after Genrich, leaving Marks to defend his position from the rest of the oncoming field. Brent Kratzmann and Brock Dean both tried to race up the inside of Randy Morgan as they rounded first couple of corners, but Morgan hung on to fourth in a brilliant run on the top side. Kratzmann got the better of Dean, leaving Dean to battle with Michael Saller, while Kratzmann continued to put pressure on Morgan, having several big looks on the inside of the Q54 racer before finally getting the job as they raced down the back straight a few laps into the event. Kratzmann started trying to close the gap to Marks while behind him Saller had got the better of Dean and was now challenging Morgan, while Dean was under fire from Peter Lack and Bryan Mann. Scott Genrich got the win ahead of Andrew Corbet, while Andrew Marks crossed the line in third and led Brent Kratzmann and Randy Morgan to the chequered flag. Michael Saller and Peter Lack crossed the line side-by-side, with Saller securing sixth by just five hundredths of a second. Peter Lack finished seventh ahead of Brock Dean, Kris Jennings and Bryan Mann.

    Heat two started with Bryan Zelinski and Brad Ayers from the front row, with Luke Oldfield and Allan Woods close behind. Ayers got a magnificent start on the top side and quickly secured the race lead while Woods was quick to follow on the high line, quickly displacing Zelinski and taking second for himself, chasing after Ayers and leaving Zelinski with Oldfield on his tail. Zelinski drove a strong race, but, within just a couple of laps, a determined Oldfield made his way through on the bottom, taking third as they rounded turn four with only a few laps completed. Kevin Titman chased Ben Hilder, the pair soon catching Zelinski as they fought over mid-field positions, with Titman absolutely relentless as he searched for a way past Hilder. Hilder, to his credit, drove a strong race, withstanding the pressure from Titman for a number of laps, closing the door when the Q59 had a couple of looks on the inside for a way past, but in the end Titman managed to find his way through. At the front of the field Oldfield had not only caught Allan Woods, but had taken second for himself, and had his sights set firmly on race leader Ayers. Desperate to make up for a somewhat ordinary qualifying run, compared to his normal qualifying runs, Oldfield spent the last few laps of the race systematically closing the gap to Ayers. With one lap left to run Oldfield started challenging for the lead, searching the top side before diving underneath Ayers as they rounded the final corner. The pair raced side-by-side across the line, with Luke Oldfield declared the winner. Brad Ayers finished second and led Allan Woods, Bryan Zelinski, Kevin Titman, Ben Hilder, Dan Murray and Dale Shilleto across the line. Anthony Lambert and Mark Pholi both suffered mechanical issues and did not finish the event.

    Heat three saw Andrew Scheuerle start from pole position, after a less than ideal qualifying run, with Mitch Gowland alongside. Scheuerle got a great start on the bottom and quickly secured the lead, opening a sizable margin almost immediately, while Gowland held down second ahead of Dave Whell, while at the rear of the field Mick Sauer almost came to disaster after contact with another competitor, leaving him to circulate slowly on the pole line until he was given the mechanical defect flag a few laps in and pulled out of the event. Lachlan McHugh made his way ahead of Mitchell Gee on the start, while Dave Whell and Jayden Peacock argued over the minor places. McHugh began searching for a way past Whell and Peacock, almost surrendering his position to Gee as Gee fought to regain his position. McHugh raced up the inside of Peacock, the pair circulating wheel-to-wheel for almost a lap before McHugh pulled ahead and turn his attention to Whell, while Peacock and Gee continued to fight over the minor places, with Cody Maroske closing in fast. McHugh was all over the back of Whell, searching high and low for a way past, even getting his nose in front for the briefest of moments on a couple of occasions, but Whell was not prepared to surrender the spot. Andrew Scheuerle got the win ahead of Mitch Gowland, with Lachlan McHugh eventually getting the better of Whell and crossed the line in third. Dave Whell finished fourth and led Jayden Peacock, Mitchell Gee, Cody Maroske, Kevin Britten and Karl Hoffmans across the line. Mick Sauer did not finish the event.

    The second of the Development series heats saw Libby Ellis and Aleesha Woods share the front row for the start and lead the field to the green. Woods got a great start and quickly shot into the race lead, with Jason King, from position four, following on the high line to move ahead of Ellis as they raced towards the first corner. King promptly raced underneath Woods as they rounded the first corner, taking control of the race and leaving Woods to battle with Peter Campbell and Liam Atkinson. While Atkinson looked to go around the outside of Woods, Campbell raced underneath, taking second and setting out after King. Atkinson swiftly switched to the bottom and raced underneath Woods, while Nathan Black found his way past a couple of laps later. Jason King went on to take the win ahead of Peter Campbell, Liam Atkinson, Nathan Black, Aleesha Woods and Libby Ellis.

    Bryan Zelinski and Andrew Scheuerle led the field to the green for the start of heat four, with Scheuerle again getting a brilliant start and securing the lead by the time they had exited turn one. Zelinski held down second but soon surrendered the position as both Dave Whell and Allan Woods came charging through. Whell settled into second but as Woods tried to make his way underneath Zelinski the NQ71 racer fought back on the high side and managed to stay ahead of Woods. Mick Sauer soon began challenging Woods and Zelinski for position, while deeper in the field Lachlan McHugh worked the top side as he searched for a way around Ben Hilder, while Dan Murray challenged on the bottom. McHugh eventually made his way ahead of both Murray and Hilder and began negotiating with Mick Sauer over the minor places, eventually getting the job done before chasing at Woods. McHugh spent the final couple of laps putting all kinds of pressure on Woods, but Woods was determined to hang on to third and valiantly defended his position until the race was over. Andrew Scheuerle got the win, almost half a lap ahead of second placed Dave Whell, while Allan Woods crossed the line in third and led Lachlan McHugh, Mick Sauer, Ben Hilder, Dan Murray, Bryan Zelinski and Anthony Lambert across the line.

    Heat Five started with Andrew Marks from pole position with Mark Pholi scheduled to start from position two. Unfortunately for Pholi, ongoing mechanical issues saw him unable to start the event, elevating Randy Morgan to the front row. Marks got the better start when the lights went green and led the field into turn one, only for Morgan to power around the outside and into the race lead by the time the pair exited turn two. Marks held down second but quickly found Jayden Peacock on his tail, while behind them Luke Oldfield was trying to secure the advantage over Brock Dean. Once Oldfield made his way in front of Dean he set out after Marks and Peacock, sliding beautifully underneath Peacock, who was trying the high line in an effort to get in front of Marks, as they rounded turn four. Oldfield raced around Marks half a lap later, with Peacock quick to follow, leaving Marks with the trio of Brock Dean, Kevin Titman and Michael Saller on his tail. Whilst Saller and Titman traded places and put on a show for race fans, Dean made his way underneath Marks, with Marks fading further as Saller raced underneath, just as Titman powered boldly around the top. Oldfield spent several laps closing the gap to race leader Morgan, before making it look all too easy as he raced around the Q54 racer and into the lead with just one lap left to run. Luke Oldfield got the win ahead of Randy Morgan with Jayden Peacock home in third. Brock Dean crossed the line in fourth and led Michael Saller, Kevin Titman, Andrew Marks, Kris Jennings and Karl Hoffmans home.

    Mitch Gowland and Brad Ayers lined up alongside each other for the start of heat six, with Gowland initially getting the jump on the start before Ayers fought back on the top side. Ayers moved into the race lead while Gowland hung on to second, while behind them Mitchell Gee was making impressive progress in the Titan Garages Q36 racer, working the low line and trying to find a way underneath Scott Genrich and Andrew Corbet. Gee made his way past both cars in less than a lap. But the race was quickly brought to a stop when Genrich upturned the Q18 racer after contact with another competitor. Genrich walked away from the crash but was unable to restart the race. A full restart followed with Gowland this time leading the way and Ayers settling into second. Gee quickly got the better of Corbet, while Brent Kratzmann was brilliant on the bottom, racing underneath Bryan Mann and Andrew Corbet as they rounded turn two, with Peter Lack in hot pursuit. Kratzmann and Lack set out after Ayers, who had just surrendered second to Gee, while Cody Maroske tried to find a way underneath Mann and Corbet. Kratzmann and Lack held nothing back, the pair putting on a spectacular show for the fans, with Lack determined and unwavering while Kratzmann remained focused and consistent, maintaining the advantage over Lack for a number of laps. Lack did eventually make his move, racing around the top-side, before setting out after Ayers and Gowland. Mitchell Gee secured the win, having worked his way to the front after starting back in sixth, while Brad Ayers secured second after racing up the inside of Mitch Gowland with just half a lap left to run. Mitch Gowland finished third ahead of Peter Lack, Brent Kratzmann, Cody Maroske, Bryan Mann, Andrew Corbet and Kevin Britten. Scott Genrich did not finish the event.

    The development Series feature event saw Peter Campbell start from pole position with Jason King alongside. Campbell got a great start and quickly secured the lead in advance of King and Liam Atkinson, with Nathan Black close behind. Black raced around the outside of Atkinson and into third, with his sights set firmly on King and the final transfer to the Open Sprintcar B-Main. Black was running the high side as he tried to find a way around King, but got the exit of turn three wrong and ran too wide entering turn four, allowing Atkinson to slip through, moments before King spun the NQ69 racer coming out of turn four. Campbell led the restart from Atkinson and Aleesha Woods, with King at the rear of the field behind Libby Ellis. King spent a couple of laps making his way in front of Ellis, before closing in on Woods, and while King was strong and persistent on the low line, he could not find a way past Woods. Peter Campbell took the win with Liam Atkinson home in second, the pair both earning a transfer to the back of the B-Main event. Aleesha Woods crossed the line in third ahead of Jason King and Libby Ellis while Nathan Black pulled out of the event during the early race caution.

    The top eight qualifiers took to the track for the eight-lap dash event, with Lachlan McHugh from pole position and Michael Saller alongside him on the front row. McHugh got the jump on the start and while Saller tried to fight back on the high side coming out of turn two, there was no stopping McHugh as he took control of the race. Kevin Titman settled into a comfortable third ahead of Bryan Mann, though Mann almost immediately came under pressure from a hard-charging Mitchell Gee. Mann and Gee raced side-by-side, with Gee eventually moving ahead, while behind them Luke Oldfield and Cody Maroske traded blows as they fought over the minor places. Lachlan McHugh went on to take the win ahead of Michael Saller, Kevin Titman, Mitchell Gee, Bryan Mann, Luke Oldfield, Cody Maroske and Dan Murray.

    Fourteen cars took to the track for the fifteen-lap B-Main event, with Dave Whell and Brad Ayers to lead them away. Whell quickly secured the lead when the lights went green, with Ayers in second ahead of Jayden Peacock and Mitch Gowland, while behind them Andrew Marks tried to defend his position from Bryan Zelinski. Zelinski was working the bottom, while Marks ran the top-side, fighting back and trying to maintain his position, all with Peter Lack coming on exceptionally strong and following Marks on the high line. Marks bicycled the Q96 racer in turn three, slowing slightly and getting a fraction sideways as he tried to straighten the car. Lack did everything he could to avoid the Q96 racer, slipping up the inside but making contact with the left front of Marks with his own right rear. Lack bounced into turn four but somehow managed to not only keep the car upright but also kept it moving, while Marks, whose front end had been torn from the car, was left stranded on the track entering turn four, with Anthony Lambert also involved. A full restart followed with Whell again getting a brilliant start and quickly securing the lead ahead of Ayers and Peacock, while Mitch Gowland and Andrew Corbet fought over the final transfer position. Peter Lack tried to make his way forward from deep in the field, displacing Kevin Britten before turning his attention to Gowland. After just a couple of laps Lack raced through underneath Gowland as they rounded turn one, only to spin the Q5 racer moments later before being collected by Bryan Zelinski. Unfortunately neither Lack nor Zelinski were able to restart the event. Whell led the restart from Peacock and Ayers, with Corbet sitting in fourth. Peacock started challenging Whell for control of the race, eventually taking the lead for himself, but it was deeper in the field where the action was unfolding. Kevin Britten got the better of Mitch Gowland, while Kris Jennings raced side-by-side with Liam Atkinson behind them. Jennings soon got the better of Atkinson and set out after Britten, taking to the high line to try to find a way past as he edged closer to making the transfer to the A-Main. Unfortunately for Jennings he got too high coming down the back straight, his right rear wheel clouting the wall before making heavy head on contact with the wall entering turn three. Jennings walked away from the wreck but would take no further part in the race. With just three laps left to run it was Peacock who led them back to the green, with Whell and Ayers comfortable in second and third respectively, and the battle over fourth still fierce as Andrew Corbet and Kevin Britten fought over the last transfer to the A-Main. Jayden Peacock got the win ahead of Dave Whell and Brad Ayers, with Kevin Britten getting the better of Andrew Corbet in those final few laps of the race. Corbet crossed the line in fifth ahead of Mitch Gowland, Karl Hoffmans and Liam Atkinson. Kris Jennings, Peter Lack, Bryan Zelinski, Anthony Lambert, Andrew Marks and Peter Campbell all failed to finish the event.

    Lachlan McHugh and Michael Saller led the field to the green for the start of the thirty-lap A-Main event, with Saller quick to secure the lead and leaving McHugh to settle for second ahead of Kevin Titman and Mitchell Gee. Gee immediately began challenging Titman for third, while behind them Bryan Mann secured the advantage over Luke Oldfield only for Oldfield to fight back and put all kinds of pressure on the back of Mann, whilst also defending his position from Cody Maroske. Deep in the field Brent Kratzmann ran around the outside of Andrew Scheuerle, then stuck to the top side as he tried to find a way past Randy Morgan and Allan Woods, who were themselves negotiating over minor positions. Woods made his way past Morgan, with Kratzmann quick to follow, the pair soon catching the tail of Mick Sauer and starting to look for a way through. Unfortunately Kratzmann looped the Q2 moments later, and while he was able to keep the car moving, he did loose a lot of ground. The race was quickly brought under caution though when Brock Dean and Allan Woods came together in turn one and while Woods restarted at the rear for the field with Kratzmann, Dean was unable to continue the race.

    Michael Saller led the restart from Lachlan McHugh, Kevin Titman and Mitchell Gee with twenty-eight laps still to run and Bryan Mann and Luke Oldfield fighting over fifth. The battle between Oldfield and Mann began to intensify as soon as the race resumed though, with Oldfield racing underneath Mann as they rounded turn three and four before setting his sights on Gee. Mann however was not prepared to surrender a position without a fight and stayed with the pair as they rounded the next corner. Slight contact between Mann and Oldfield in turn two was enough to turn Oldfield around, the Q17 racer coming excruciatingly close to tipping over before Oldfield was somehow able to get the car back on all four wheels. Oldfield restarted the event from the rear, with twenty-seven laps remaining and a fierce determination to get back to the front.

    Michael Saller again led the restart from Lachlan McHugh, Kevin Titman, Mitchell Gee and Bryan Mann, while mid-field Andrew Scheuerle was making steady progress towards the front. Scheuerle chased Mick Sauer, both well inside the top ten, while further back Peter Lack and Brent Kratzmann both took to the high line in an effort to make their way forward, while Luke Oldfield preferred the bottom. With Scheuerle all over the back of Sauer, working the high line as he tried to make his way in front, Lachlan McHugh began to challenge Saller for control of the race. Unfortunately things did not work out the way the young Gold Coast based racer would have liked, and the Q23 racer ended up with front end damage that prematurely ended his race.

    With twenty-one laps still to run, Michael Saller again led the restart, this time with Kevin Titman in second. Mitchell Gee sat in third but immediately came under immense pressure from Bryan Mann, while Cody Maroske stayed within striking distance and ready to move if the right opportunity presented itself. Luke Oldfield and Brent Kratzmann continued to battle towards the rear of the field, the pair trying to find a way past the duo of Allan Woods and Dave Whell who were racing wheel-to-wheel and arguing over the minor places. Oldfield tried to race between Whell and Woods, but the gap was not quite big enough, while Kratzmann took to the bottom and raced underneath Woods before turning his attention to Whell. Back at the front of the field Mann and Gee were stealing the show, the pair exchanging slide job after slide job, several times a lap until Mann secured the advantage a number of laps later. Mann generated a small margin over Gee but it was short-lived as Gee re-grouped and came back at Mann more determined than ever. Gee raced back underneath Mann and while Mann gave chase, he could not catch the Q36 racer. Meanwhile, Andrew Scheuerle had made his way a little further forward and was chasing down Cody Maroske, who was closing in on Mann. Luke Oldfield was making his way through the field, while Peter Lack made his way past Dan Murray and set his sights on Jayden Peacock. Brad Ayers spun to a stop in turn four with twelve laps left to run and brought the race back under caution.

    Michael Saller led the restart once more, with Kevin Titman holding down second but immediately coming under fire from Mitchell Gee. Gee raced up the inside of Titman as they rounded turn two, and while Titman fought back on the top side, he clipped the wall coming out of turn two and spectacularly inverted the immaculately presented Q59 racer. Titman walked away from the wreck but was unable to restart the event.

    Still with twelve laps to run Michael Saller led the restart, with Mitchell Gee now second ahead of Bryan Mann, Cody Maroske, Andrew Scheuerle, Jayden Peacock and Peter Lack, while Luke Oldfield was up to twelfth. Scheuerle was all over the back of Maroske when the lights went green, challenging hard on the bottom and trying to make his way forward, but Maroske was too quick on the top side and managed to hang on to the position. Scheuerle gave him plenty of racing room, but was far from done and within a couple of laps again challenged Maroske for position, this time racing around the outside of the Q22 racer, only for Maroske to fire straight back on the bottom. While the battle between Scheuerle and Maroske for the minor places was captivating, it was hard to ignore Peter Lack as he edged closer to the top five, or Luke Oldfield as he weaved his way through mid-field traffic. At the front of the field Saller entered lapped traffic and, with Gee closing in fast, the battle for the lead really started to heat up. Gee was brilliant on the bottom, getting his nose in front briefly as they raced ever closer to the chequered flag, but Michael Saller was too good on the top side and maintained the lead, taking the win and leaving Mitchell Gee to settle for a hard-fought and well-deserved second, while Cody Maroske got the better of Bryan Mann as the race drew to a close, stealing third and the final podium position. Bryan Mann finished fourth while the ever-consistent Andrew Scheuerle certainly worked hard to finish a very respectable fifth. Peter Lack had a truly inspiring drive to finish an impressive sixth, a significant feat from position nineteen in a very tough field, while Jayden Peacock finished seventh. Luke Oldfield crossed the line in eighth and led Kevin Britten, Mick Sauer, Randy Morgan, Dave Whell, Dan Murray, Brent Kratzmann and Brad Ayers across the line. Kevin Titman, Allan Woods, Lachlan McHugh and Brock Dean did not finish the event.

    Sprintcars Queensland return to Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba next Saturday night, 21 April 2018 for the final round of the Queensland Ultimate Sprintcar Championship. You will not want to miss a moment of the action so get yourself trackside next Saturday night, or tune in live (for a small fee) to www.clayperview.com to see all the action for yourself.
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