Upon the demise of World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz on lap 14, Luke Oldfield pounced almost immediately after the restart to wrest control of the race from Andrew Scheuerle before clearing away to win round eight of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 29). Scheuerle remained second at the fall of the chequer, while American ace Logan Schuchart found himself elevated to third when Brent Kratzmann crashed out on the final corner. Another late surge from Mitchell Gee saw him grab fourth at the flag, with Darren Jensen finishing fifth. Having started alongside Scheuerle on the front, Schatz was running second and under attack from Oldfield when he was sent into a flip through turn three by a lapped car.
There were no major surprises in the Super Sedan Summer Slam feature race as Darren Kane and Matt Pascoe were a class above the field, streaking away to finish first and second respectively in a race that produced few highlights beyond Sean Black’s gutsy outside running that carried him forward into what would eventually become fourth place behind Mark Pagel.
The AMCA Nationals feature race saw Steve Price again survive the persistent pestering of Nathan Durston to secure his second consecutive Archerfield success, leaving Steve Potts third ahead of Thomas Vickery and Tony Blanch.
A 37-car field fronted for Sprintcar qualifying and it was a very familiar story at the top of the timesheets as Oldfield emerged with KRE Quick Time, stopping the clock at 11.496 under a blazing sun. Having made the trek north after competing in Sydney the previous evening, Jessie Attard wasted no time in making his presence felt, clocking 11.723 to be second quickest ahead of Schuchart (11.778) and Schatz (11.793). Ben Hilder, Paul Rooks, Gee, Brock Dean and Andrew Corbet were next best, with Jensen rounding out the top ten as the likes of Scheuerle, Kratzmann and Peter Lack found themselves languishing in the bottom half of the top 20.
Kratzmann and Lack immediately set about improving their position, filling the first two spots in the opening heat ahead of Oldfield, who advanced from the outside of row four.
Clem Hoffmans led all the way from pole position to win heat two in advance of Dan Murray and Attard, with Titman likewise leading throughout from the front to take heat three ahead of Scheuerle and Brent Aprile.
Nelson Reddacliff led the opening stages of heat four until contact from Kratzmann in turn two sent him into a spin and subsequently out of the race. Emerging unscathed, Kratzmann inherited the lead and another win, leading Titman and Kristy Bonsey to the line.
Heat five saw Aprile outpace Jensen and Ryan McNamara before David Whell wrapped up the preliminaries with victory in the final heat over Scheuerle and Schatz.
It was Oldfield who emerged as the top qualifier, only to invert the entire field for the Spanloc Dash, punting himself to the back row and elevating Kratzmann and Scheuerle to the front for the 6-lap sprint. It was the latter who made the best of the opportunity, taking the race ahead of Schatz, Kratzmann and Oldfield, who managed to dispose of Hilder, Gee, Schuchart and Attard to regain some lost ground.
Kris Jennings and Adam Butler filled the top two spots in the C Main, with Trent Vardys charge from sixth to third leaving him one spot shy of making the transfer to the B Main.
Aprile set a cracking pace from the commencement of the B Main, only to spin himself out of contention and hand the lead to Lack, who went on to win from McNamara, Murray and Gowland. Looking to replicate his Boxing Night heroics, Brett Minett was again rounding up the field on the highline and had climbed to third before he whacked the wall and rode out a roll along the back straight.
The feature race got underway with Scheuerle leading Schatz through turn one and the order remained unchanged when an incident involving Attard, Corbet and Dean on lap three halted proceedings and put Corbet on the grass. Attard only lasted another three laps before a spin in the same spot brought an end to his race, with Scheuerle still in command from the ensuing restart. The next interruption came on lap 14 when Schatz fell victim to the perils of lapped traffic and was sent somersaulting through turn three. Schatz exiting elevated Oldfield into second and he wasted no time in disposing of Scheuerle once racing resumed. From here, OIdfield distanced himself from the field to secure his third feature race win for the season, with Scheuerle remaining second and Kratzmann seemingly secure in third until a final corner clash with the concrete cruelled his night and elevated Schuchart onto the podium. Gee finished fourth ahead of an under-the-radar Jensen, with Lack putting in a mighty drive from the back to surge into sixth. Titman, Bonsey, Hilder and McNamara rounded out the top ten, with Whell, Dean, Murray and Gowland the remaining finishers.
Super Sedan numbers were less than expected and were further reduced with several casualties in the heat races, the first of which saw Leigh Williams hold on to win from Pascoe and Fisher.
Black outpaced Kane and David Musch to win heat two and then Pascoe prevailed in heat three, downing Pagel and Wayne Randall.
The final heat was a scrappy affair that saw just five cars go the distance and it was Fisher who led the survivors to the line, with Darren Saunders and Darren Hawkings filling the minor placings.
The opening round of the Pole Shootout saw Black and Randall eliminated as Pagel and Musch advanced to the next stage. Pagel continued his progression to the final round, taking Kane with him for a showdown against Pascoe and Fisher. It was Kane who prevailed to secure pole position for the 40-lap feature event, to be joined on the front row by Pascoe.
Kane got the best of the start and led Pascoe through the opening moments of the feature before the first interruption came on lap two when Randall spun in turn four. Three laps later saw the race halted again when Randall, Saunders, Gavin Northfield and Nicholas O’Keefe tangled in turn three, leaving Randall a spectator with a flat tyre. After another restart on lap 11 to retrieve a stricken Bob McCosker from turn three, Kane and Pascoe were finally presented with an extended run that enabled them to clear away from third-placed Pagel. The only mover in the field was Black, whose highline heroics would ultimately see him rewarded with fourth place after starting eighth. The two leaders were a cut above the pack and whilst Pascoe would apply plenty of pressure at various times, he was unable to elicit an error from Kane that would bring a change of leadership. With nobody able to challenge the leading pair, a spin from Hawkings with nine laps remaining saw the race reduced to 35 laps as Kane and Pascoe led Pagel through four more circulations enroute to the chequer. Surging out of the final corner, Black outsprinted Fisher to snatch fourth, with Musch, Justin Randall, Tania Smith, Tony Brinkman and Williams rounding out the top ten.
As has been their wont this season, AMCA Nationals produced another thrilling feature race as Steve Price and Nathan Durston again locked horns at the front of the field. As was the case the last time, Price held firm to fend off everything Durston threw at him, leaving the state champ to rue another narrow loss. Steve Potts powered into third ahead of Thomas Vickery and Tony Blanch, who put in a sterling drive to slip into the top five after starting 17trh, relegating the likes of Matt Hardy and Shane McKinnell along the way.
Price, Potts, McKinnell and Kevin Stow won the heats, with Blanch taking out the B Main to clear the first rung in a climb that would ultimately take him much closer to the summit than he might have imagined.
Neil Crawford edged out Steve Bradford and Greg Town to win the Open Sedan B feature race, while Daniel Taylor piloted his mighty Monza to victory in the Open Sedan A feature, leading home Colin Kane and Daniel Mortimer.
The next event at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is on Tuesday, January 1 featuring round nine of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship and the Dirt Modified Paul Britten 44, plus Formula 500s, Fireworks and a Demolition Derby.