Schatz Beats the Rain & the Rest at Archerfield
BRISBANE, Aus. (December 30, 2017) – On a night that saw some tweaking to the race format in an effort to stay ahead of impending rain that was moving towards the venue, World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz was unstoppable in the 35-lap Sprintcar feature race at Ausdeck patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 30), leading home Andrew Scheuerle and Brent Kratzmann to win round nine of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship. Scheuerle led the opening moments of the race after qualifying on pole position, but he was unable to counter when Schatz slipped underneath through turn two on lap five to take control.
With rain forecast for later in the evening, promoter John Kelly opted for a change of format akin to the model used on the World of Outlaws tour whereby each driver contests one heat race, with the first four finishers in each heat transferring into the feature race field, the rest left to traverse the B and C Mains to secure their spot. The move proved a masterstroke and saw the completion of the race meeting before 9.30pm.
As always, time trial qualifying got things underway and, in stark contrast to the setbacks he endured at this point in proceedings just two nights earlier, it was Callum Walker (11.930) who emerged with KRE Fast Time, the only driver to go under 12 seconds. Scheuerle (12.093) and Kratzmann (12.131) were next quickest, followed by the American trio of Lucas Wolfe (12.157), Logan Schuchart (12.181) and Schatz (12.185).
The opening heat saw Luke Oldfield advance from position three to assume the lead on lap six, leading home Walker, Mark Pholi and Paul Rooks.
With Scheuerle taking out heat two from the front row, Schatz slotted into second spot and remained there to the chequer, with Jayden Peacock and Cody Maroske also booking a spot in the big show.
Kratzmann cruised home to win heat three in advance of Peter Lack, Allan Woods and Steven Rowell.
Wolfe enjoyed a inauspicious start to his Australian campaign when he was penalised for jumping the start in heat four, gifting US-based Lynton Jeffrey pole position. In his first race at Archerfield, Jeffrey took maximum advantage of his good fortune to lead home Brock Dean, Wolfe and Kaiden Manders.
Bryan Zelinski downed Adam Butler and Mitch Gowland in the C Main, while Dave Whell was untroubled in winning the B Main. In what was perhaps the drive of the night, Darren Jensen stormed from deep in the field to snatch the final transfer into the feature with a thrilling last gasp lunge under Dylan Menz.
Scheuerle got the initial jump to get the feature race underway, only for the race to be halted when Walker, who had been bounced around like a pinball in the first turn, found himself stranded in the same spot a lap later. Upon resumption, Scheuerle led away again from Schatz and the two leaders ran together – Scheuerle sitting mid-track and Schatz higher still – until the latter made his move with an inside run through turn two that took him to the front. Once in control, Schatz was unstoppable and only saw his lead diminish courtesy of restarts, the first of which came when Oldfield and Jeffrey tangled in a dispute over fourth spot. With Jeffrey out and Oldfield banished to the back, Kratzmann moved to third and held it to the end. In the wake of his B Main heroics, Jensen was on the charge again and had climbed into the top ten from 18th when contact with Peacock ended his run and halted proceedings. When Manders flipped out in turn one with just two laps to go, the race was declared with Schatz the winner from Scheuerle, Kratzmann, Lack, Wolfe and Woods, with Pholi, Dean, a recovering Oldfield and Walker rounding out the top ten ahead of Steve Rowell.
Feature Finish: 1. Donny Schatz, 2. Andrew Scheuerle, 3. Brent Kratzmann, 4. Peter Lock, 5. Lucas Wolfe, 6. Alan Woods, 7. Mark Pholi, 8. Brock Dean, 9. Luke Oldfield, 10. Kaiden Manders, 11. Dave Whell, 12. Callum Walker, 13. Steve Rowell, 14. Cody Maroske, 15. Jayden Peacock, 16. Darren Jensen, 17. Lynton Jeffrey, 18. Paul Rooks.