SCHATZ MAINTAINS PERFECT SCORE AT ARCHERFIELD
Ten-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz has bounced back from a mediocre qualifying effort to win night one of the Titan Garages Australian Sprintcar Open and claim five wins from five starts at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway this season.
Qualifying halfway down the 32 car field in 15th, Schatz pushed hard to win his first heat and placed second in the following heat tallying enough points to start the 25 lap preliminary main event from the second row alongside Krikke Motorsport’s Kerry Madsen.
The front row however was populated by a pair of emerging stars, with Revolution Racegear QuickTime winner Lockie McHugh qualifying on pole position alongside Tasmanian standout, Jock Goodyer in position two.
Schatz wasted no time in securing the second spot behind McHugh, but had to dig deep to stay ahead of Madsen who stole second momentarily, while remaining in touch with the Gold Coast raised 21-year-old who was unintimidated by either opponent.
Finally on lap nine however, Schatz made his move around the outside of the J&S Drilling #W60 and began to disappear until the final ten laps when traffic recreated a three way battle for the lead.
After disposing of the traffic, Schatz left the scene again while Madsen and McHugh continued to tussle for the runner up spot with the addition of James McFadden who re-joined the fray for the final five laps after a magnificent fight earlier with Goodyer.
Madsen wrestled the second spot off McHugh with just two laps to go however, and held on despite a desperate last corner lunge from the impressive young Queenslander who finished third by just two-tenths of a second. McFadden would finish a close fourth, garnering enough points to maintain his QSS World Series lead over Madsen by sixty-three points on completion of the caution-free twenty-five laps.
Parking the Raw Metal Corp #USA15 in Victory Lane for the fifth time this summer, Schatz was visibly impressed when asked of his thoughts on back-to-back battles with racers under twenty years of age.
“It’s crazy man, that’s awesome! That’s what this game is all about. I feel like us coming over here pushes them, and they start pushing us and that’s what the world revolves around in dirt track racing. He (McHugh) did a good job. The track was tricky. There was a top and bottom and you had to use the whole thing and he stayed right there. These young guys are catching up and they know what to do. Hopefully they don’t learn too many tricks and experience prevails, but that will probably change one day,” he said with a wry smile.
The 24th running of the Titan Garages Australian Open concludes tonight with a fifty-lap final, where Schatz is hunting his tenth win of the event to match his ten Knoxville Nationals and ten World of Outlaws championships. A win for Schatz would also equal the twenty-fifth victory for American tourists at Archerfield in World Series Sprintcars competition.
Livestreaming of the event is available at www.speedwayaustralia.tv
Photos courtesy of Matthew Paul Photography