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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Sprintcar Series - Round 1
Joanne White posted Sunday October 18, 2020.

Last night at Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane Cody Maroske finally broke through for his maiden Sprintcar A-Main, while ending the winning streak of Lachlan McHugh, who had been, until last night, undefeated in the four feature events already conducted this season. Maroske was exceptional in the Q5 racer, sitting in second behind Luke Oldfield for nearly half the race before quickly closing in on Oldfield in lapped traffic and stylishly sliding underneath Oldfield as they rounded turns one and two just moments after the pair raced around a pair of back markers. Maroske from there was flawless and unstoppable, maintaining a small but very comfortable lead and going on to take a very well deserved win while Luke Oldfield was left to settle for second, again, for the fifth time in as many races so far this season. Aaron Kelly, who initially challenged Maroske for second early in the race, closed in on Oldfield as they raced closer to the chequered flag but could not quite get close enough to make a move, with Kelly crossing the line in third to round out the podium in his best result thus far in the 2020-2021 race season. Callum Walker and Kevin Titman had a truly thrilling battle for fourth and fifth, with Walker eventually securing the advantage and bringing the Q33 racer home in fourth with Kevin Titman rounding out the top five.

Qualifying got underway with the field split into two flights. Lachlan McHugh secured the quickest time of both flights, leading flight one with a 11.518 second lap, with Mitchell Gee (11.743) and Kevin Titman (11.808) completing the fastest three of flight one, ahead of Andrew Corbet (11.829) and Kristy Bonsey (11.852). Fight two saw Dylan Menz secure the quickest lap, the Q46 racer stopping the clock at 11.654, with Luke Oldfield just 0.012 seconds slower with a 11.666 second lap. Darren Jensen (11.796) locked in third quickest in flight two ahead of Callum Walker (11.803), Aaron Kelly (11.855) and Cody Maroske (11.881). The Development Series cars joined us last night and while the format they run does not include qualifying, Jason King was the quickest in their hot lapping session.

The Development Series cars were the first to hit the track for the heat events, with Jason King and Brant Chandler leading the eight-car field to green light conditions. King got the jump and quickly settled into the race lead ahead of Chandler and Libby Ellis, while Zach Howell and Nicholas O'Keefe fought over the minor positions. King looped the NQ69 racer in turn four, and while he managed to keep the car moving and avoid a stoppage, he handed the lead to Chandler and faded back to third behind Ellis. Further back in the field Jeremy Gaundry made his way past both John White and Erin Vanderreyden and was closing in on those ahead when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of John White in turn four. Chandler led the restart from Ellis and King, while mid-field Gaundry resumed his climb through the field, his attention now on Zach Howell. Gaundry was quick on the top side and raced around Howell, only to spin the NQ77 racer moments later and bring the race back under caution. Chandler again led the restart from Ellis and King and while Chandler was unchallenged for control of the race, the battle for second was starting to heat up with Ellis under all kids of pressure from King. Brant Chandler got the win while Ellis and King crossed the line side-by-side. Jason King pinched second, just 0.143 second ahead of Libby Ellis in third. Nicholas O'Keefe finished fourth and led Zach Howell, Erin Vanderreyden, Jeremy Gaundry and John White home.

Heat one of the Open Sprintcars started with Allan Woods from pole position with Brock Dean alongside and Andrew Corbet and Kristy Bonsey sharing the second row. Woods was quick off the mark when the lights went green and moved into the race lead, leading the field into the first corner, and while Dean challenged on the high side through the first couple of corners it was Woods who took control of the race. Dean settled into second ahead of Bonsey, who had already displaced Corbet. At the tail of the field Dave Fanning raced underneath Taylor Prosser, while Lachlan McHugh got the better of Prosser on the high side before racing around Mitchell Gee, Kevin Titman and Andrew Corbet all before the end of the first lap. McHugh turned his attention to Bonsey, while Gee made his way underneath Corbet, only for Corbet to fire straight back half a lap later, the pair putting on a thrilling show as they negotiated over mid-field positions, with Kevin Titman soon joining them and searching for a way through. McHugh had displaced Bonsey and was putting all kinds of pressure on the Q8 of Dean, and while Dean was able to hold McHugh off for several laps ultimately there was no stopping McHugh as he raced past Dean and set out after Woods. Gee and Titman raced two abreast for several laps before Titman pulled ahead, but as the race started to draw to a close McHugh caught the tail of Woods. With the white flag in the air McHugh had a massive look on the inside of Woods, before switching to the high side coming out of the final corner and drag racing Woods to the line. They greeted the chequered flag side-by-side, with Lachlan McHugh stealing the win by just 0.168 seconds. Allan Woods was forced to settle for second ahead of Brock Dean and Kristy Bonsey, with Kevin Titman, Mitchell Gee, Andrew Corbet, Adam Butler, Dave Fanning and Taylor Prosser rounding out the finishers.

Heat two saw Mitch Gowland and Andrew Baumber share the front row with Cody Maroske and Aaron Kelly close behind. Gowland got the jump when the green flag flew and quickly settled into the race lead in advance of Maroske and Baumber. Maroske soon started challenging Gowland for control of the race, while Luke Oldfield started trying to advance and searched for a way past Darren Jensen. Oldfield was relentless but soon uncharacteristically spun the Q17 racer in turn two and brought the race under caution. Gowland led the restart from Maroske, Baumber and Kelly, with Maroske quickly diving underneath Gowland moments after the race resumed. From there Maroske was unstoppable and began opening a rather comfortable lead. Callum Walker and Darren Jensen negotiated over mid-field positions while Oldfield began to make his way forward from the rear of the field. Walker made his way past both Jensen, as Kelly found a way past Baumber, with Baumber soon surrendering a position to Walker as well. Baumber fought back, and he and Walker exchanged positions back and forth several times but it was Cody Maroske who got the win ahead of Mitch Gowland and Aaron Kelly. Callum Walker crossed the line in fourth and led Andrew Baumber, Darren Jensen, Luke Oldfield, Tim Farrell, Dylan Menz, Brad Ayers and Scott Genrich across the line.

The second of the Development Series heats started with Zach Howell and Libby Ellis from the front row. Howell got the jump when the lights went green and while Jason King initially challenged Ellis for second Ellis maintained the advantage and soon raced past Howell and into the race lead, while Brant Chandler made his way forward past both King and Howell and into second. Unfortunately for Ellis her hold on the lead was short-lived, the NQ73 racer spinning out of contention, and leaving Howell nowhere to go, coming out of turn four a few laps into the event. Chandler led the restart from King and Nicholas O'Keefe, while towards the rear of the field Erin Vanderreyden, John White and Zach Howell fought over minor positions as Ellis tried to make her way forward once more. At the front Chandler surrendered the lead to a hard-charging King, only for the #69 racer to again spin while leading, this time bringing the race under caution and handing control of the race back to Chandler. Chandler led the restart from O'Keefe and Jeremy Gaundry with four laps left to run. The midfield battle for minor places was intense but there was no stopping Brant Chandler out in front as he sailed to victory ahead of Nicholas O'Keefe and Jeremy Gaundry, with Libby Ellis, Erin Vanderreyden, John White, Jason King and Zach Howell rounding out the finishers.

Lachlan McHugh and Mitchell Gee shared the front row for the start of heat three of the open Sprintcars, with McHugh quick to secure the lead when the green flag flew. Gee challenged on the high side as they rounded the opening corners but could not quite get the job done, while Kevin Titman settled into third, ready to challenge Gee for second, and Allan Woods and Andrew Corbet argued over fourth and fifth. At the rear of the field Taylor Prosser, Brock Dean, Adam Butler and Dave Fanning had an intense battle as they each fought for the advantage, but the race was soon brought to a stop when Andrew Corbet tagged the wall coming out of turn two and inverted the beautifully presented Q78 racer on the back straight. McHugh led the restart from Titman and Gee. Gee briefly challenged Titman for second but was soon forced on the defensive as Allan Woods began challenging for position, applying relentless pressure on the Q65 racer of Gee before eventually managing to move ahead of his rival. Gee fought back of course, the pair racing two-wide for a number of laps, but every time Gee managed to get his nose in front Woods would power around the top side and take the advantage back. The race was brought to another stop moments later when Gee got airborne in turn one and crashed out of the event. Gee walked away from the wreck but sadly his night of racing was prematurely over. Lachlan McHugh led the restart with two laps left to run and went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Titman and Allan Woods. Kristy Bonsey managed to hang on to fourth despite a final corner challenge from Dave Fanning that saw the pair drag race side-by-side across the line. Bonsey crossed the line in fourth, just 0.058 seconds ahead of Dave Fanning in fifth. Adam Butler, Brock Dean and Taylor Prosser rounded out the finishers while both Mitchell Gee and Andrew Corbet did not finish the event.

The final heat of the night saw Dylan Menz and Luke Oldfield share the front row as they led the field to green light conditions, Menz secured the lead with Oldfield challenging in second, but Aaron Kelly was exceptional in the Q7 racer, working the low line and getting the better of Cody Maroske, Callum Walker and Darren Jensen in the first two corners, before slipping underneath Oldfield as they rounded turn three and turning his attention to Menz and the race lead. While Menz led as they completed the first lap, it was only moments later that Kelly slipped underneath the Q46 racer and into the lead, leaving Menz to try and defend his position from the hard-charging duo of Oldfield and Maroske. Oldfield slipped under Menz and into second, while Callum Walker got underneath Darren Jensen and began challenging Maroske for position. Maroske soon got under Menz, with Menz fading as Walker and Jensen also made their way a fraction closer to the front. Walker and Jensen had a thrilling battle for the minor places, while Mitch Gowland rode the wall in turn three but somehow managed to avoid disaster and continued the race. Oldfield closed in on Kelly as they neared the chequered flag, and while he tried to challenge Kelly for the win it was Aaron Kelly who was first to greet the chequered flag, with Luke Oldfield home in second ahead of Cody Maroske, Darren Jensen and Callum Walker. Tim Farrell finished sixth and led Dylan Menz, Brad Ayers, Andrew Baumber, Mitch Gowland and Scott Genrich across the line.

The Dash event was one of the most action-packed dashes we have seen in quite some time, with Cody Maroske and Aaron Kelly leading them to the green flag. Maroske secured the lead when the race got underway, with Kelly settling into second and McHugh searching the high line for a way past Kevin Titman and into third. Kelly got just a fraction crossed up in turn two, right in front of McHugh, the pair coming together with McHugh gently tipping the NQ7 racer over and out of the race. A full restart followed with Maroske again from pole position, and Kelly, with a flat right rear tyre, from position two. Maroske was quick to secure the lead while Kevin Titman moved into second as Kelly struggled with the flat tyre and began to fade. Luke Oldfield made his way past Callum Walker before getting underneath Allan Woods, and then quickly moving ahead of Kelly, leaving Woods and Kelly to battle over mid-field positions as Walker closed in. Woods clipped the back straight wall as he looked on the high side of Kelly, with the right rear tyre promptly deflating. Walker tangled with Woods as he tried to find a way past, the pair becoming tangled coming out of turn four, their cars locked together and brought the race under caution. Maroske led the restart from Titman and Oldfield, with Oldfield taking to the high line and, after several laps, managing to race around Titman and into second, and then carried the momentum on the high line to race spectacularly around Maroske and take control of the race. Luke Oldfield went on to take the win ahead of Cody Maroske and Kevin Titman, with Darren Jensen the only other finisher. Aaron Kelly, Callum Walker, Allan Woods and Lachlan McHugh all failed to finish the event.

Fourteen cars hit the track for the B-Main event, with the Development Series cars making up the last half of the field. Tim Farrell and Andrew Corbet led them to the green flag, with Farrell initially secured the lead, only for Corbet to charge through on the inside to take control of the race with just half a lap completed. Farrell fought back, with Adam Butler closing in fast behind them while Brad Ayres and Taylor Prosser negotiated over the final transfer position. Farrell was all over the back of Corbet, challenging hard for the race lead, the pair often two abreast as they put on a show for the fans. In the end though it was Tim Farrell who got the win with Taylor Prosser having an impressive drive in the Q91 racer to come home in second ahead of Adam Butler. Andrew Corbet secured the fourth and final transfer to the main race, with Brad Ayers fifth and narrowly missing out on a start in the feature event. Jason King crossed the line in sixth, and was the first of the Development Series cars home, and led Brant Chandler, Scott Genrich, Libby Ellis, Jeremy Gaundry, Erin Vanderreyden, Zach Howell and John White across the line. Nicholas O'Keefe did not finish the event.

Luke Oldfield and Cody Maroske led the eighteen-car field to the green flag for that start of the feature event, with Luke Oldfield quickly securing the race lead. Maroske slid underneath Oldfield as they rounded turn four for the first time and moved into the race lead, but mid-field drama unfolded with Allan Woods in the turn three wall, with Dylan Menz and Andrew Corbet also involved. Both Woods and Menz were unable to restart the race while Corbet restarted at the rear of the field.

A full restart followed with Luke Oldfield getting the better start and securing the lead once the green flag flew, with Cody Maroske second ahead of Darren Jensen. Jensen, under pressure from Aaron Kelly, raced underneath Maroske as they completed the first lap, only for Maroske to promptly return serve half a lap later to regain second. Lachlan McHugh was on his way forward, and together with Callum Walker and Kevin Titman, raced three-wide through turn three. Walker won that battle and emerged slightly ahead of both Titman and McHugh, with Titman maintaining a small advantage over a determined McHugh. Titman got just a fraction sideways in turn three, with McHugh spinning the NQ7 racer in an effort to avoid contact with Titman. McHugh lifted the front wheels high off the ground and pirouetted the NQ7 car on its tail tank, getting up-side-down for the second time last night. Titman managed to keep the car running, while the rest of the oncoming field tried to take evasive action. Unfortunately for Taylor Prosser he ended up in the turn three wall and crashed the Q91 racer out of the event. While the Prosser crew tried to replace the left rear tyre on the car to enable him to restart the event and the McHugh team did everything they could to get a fresh top wing on the NQ7 racer, both Prosser and McHugh would miss the race restart, bringing about a premature end to their races.

Luke Oldfield led the restart from Cody Maroske, Darren Jensen and Aaron Kelly with twenty-eight laps still to run. The race was brought under caution soon after the restart when Jensen slammed the wall and cut down high right rear tyre before slowing to a stop high on the track entering turn three.

With twenty-seven laps still on the board it was Luke Oldfield who led the field back to green light conditions, with Cody Maroske second ahead of Aaron Kelly and Callum Walker. Kelly started challenging Maroske for second, while the battle for fourth started heating up between Callum Walker and Kevin Titman. While Walker and Titman raced side-by-side for several laps, neither willing to surrender the advantage without a fight, Kelly was all over the back of Maroske, and, deeper in the field, Tim Farrell, Mitch Gowland, Adam Butler and Dave Fanning had a thrilling battle for mid-field positions. Oldfield had a very comfortable lead as he approached lapped traffic, but with the back markers in play Maroske soon closed in on the leader as they navigated their way through the field. Oldfield raced around a pair of back markers who were embroiled in their own battle for track position, but Maroske seemed to find something extra in the Q5 racer, following Oldfield around the lapped car before diving to the bottom and sliding exquisitely underneath the Q17 racer and into the race lead. Oldfield tried to fight back but Maroske soon opened a small lead, leaving Oldfield in second with Aaron Kelly closing in behind. From there Maroske just extended his lead lap by lap, weaving his way through the back markers and making everything look easy and while Oldfield did manage to close the gap a little as they raced closer to the chequered flag, he was unable to get close enough to make a move. Cody Maroske got the win, his first feature event win in Sprintcars, with Luke Oldfield forced to settle for another second. Aaron Kelly scored his first podium of the season with a solid third place, while Callum Walker and Kevin Titman rounded out the top five. Brock Dean ran a solid race and sat relatively unchallenged in sixth for most of the race, but a hard-charging Andrew Corbet managed to steal sixth from Dean as they crossed the line, with Corbet just 0.261 seconds ahead of Brock Dean in seventh. Adam Butler crossed the line in eighth and led Kristy Bonsey, Tim Farrell, Dave Fanning, Mitch Gowland and Andrew Baumber past the chequered flag. Darren Jensen, Lachlan McHugh, Taylor Prosser, Dylan Menz and Allan Woods all failed to finish the event.

Sprintcars Queensland will take next weekend off before returning to Archerfield Speedway the following weekend, on Saturday 31 October 2020 for another round of the Track Championship and a HUGE night of Sprintcar racing. See you then race fans!

 

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