James McFadden’s barnstorming run in World Series Sprintcars continued last night with a flag to flag $20,000 victory in the 50 lap Australian Open at Super Cheap Auto Archerfield Speedway.
In front of a huge parochial Queensland crowd McFadden, who lives in Brisbane, remained just out of the grasp of American Donny Schatz, Robbie Farr and initial second placed American Tim Kaeding (before he faded to fourth) to score an enormously popular victory in the #25 Totally Workwear Cool Chassis.
The win tonight was his third in row counting Friday night’s preliminary main event and the Warrnambool Speedweek finale on January 1.
“This car is perfect right now,” smiled the now $20,000 richer feature race winner, “Glen (Beaton) has done a fantastic job with the set-up over the last few nights and I can pretty well put it anywhere on the track. Thanks to John Kelly too tonight because the track was awesome to drive, you could run from the top to the bottom.”
The $20,000 payday came hot on the heels of a further approximate $30,000 in winnings during Speedweek for McFadden and came with the added satisfaction of beating the best driver on the planet – Donny Schatz in the #17 Prosser Toyota J&J.
“I knew Donny would be back there, he was always going to be, but thankfully we got through most of the traffic cleanly and there weren’t any hold ups. Fortunately I didn’t have to see too much of him.”
McFadden lapped up to 6th place in the 50-lap affair.
Schatz conceded on the podium that he’d simply been beaten by the better man on the night.
“I threw everything at him (McFadden) but he didn’t hardly make a mistake. I got close enough a couple times to think about making a pass but there’s a difference between thinking about a pass and actually making one. I can’t say enough about these Monte Motorsport guys in my team. I guarantee you they have worked harder than any teams here this week but I couldn’t get the race win they deserved. I’m sorry for that.”
Trailing home the lead duo was gritty former WSS champ Robbie Farr in the East Coast Pipeline #7 Maxim who showed some good car speed on the eve of the Australian Championship next weekend.
“Considering I put us in a huge, huge hole in qualifying last night this third place finish is a major comeback for us and I’m pleased I could get it for our boys. I always go well at this place (Archerfield) so it’s nice to get some runs on the board before the Aussie title next weekend.”
Fourth place across the line was Californian Tim Kaeding in the Krikke Motorsport #2 Cool Chassis after the second-generation throttle stomper originally started on pole for the 50 lap final by earlier winning the Vortex Wings Pole Shootout.
“We ran hard but I didn’t get the start I needed and James got away,” Kaeding lamented, “then Donny ran the bottom on us and Robbie got by too. I won’t say I’m thrilled that we didn’t win this deal but we’re getting closer and closer to the results we need. I need to thank Brendan, Shane and Pete for their hard work tonight and I hope I can get us a win real soon.”
David Murcott brought the Dave Horrell Motorsport #83 Eagle home in fifth ahead of American Shane Stewart in the Monster Energy J&J salvaging a fine top six after a weekend of mainly frustration.
Andrew Scheuerle came in seventh ahead of Americans Jason Johnson and Kyle Hirst and South Aussie Steven Lines rounded out the top ten.
“We just missed it tonight,” said Lines after the race, “we didn’t get to really improve our track position and it was a tough way to spend fifty laps. Full credit to James and Donny and Robbie, they had the track worked out and they were clearly the fastest guys out there.”
Just outside the top ten was Grant Anderson (coming from #15) in 11th, Danny Reidy in 12th, David Muir in 13th, Peter Lack 14th, Luke Dillon 15th, Bryan Mann 16th, Shaun Bradford 17th and Darren Jensen 18th.
Shaun Bradford actually rolled over in the Savannah Engineers #57 when David Murcott spun in turn four (causing everyone to check up and change lines) but the team rallied to change the top wing during the subsequent red light stoppage and return to the track for the restart, much to the delight of the crowd who roared their approval when the Maxim rolled back on to the track.
Brooke Tatnell was desperately unlucky to ride the right rear wheel of American Kyle Hirst in turn four and all but roll over the Steve Caunt Racing KPC, bringing on the yellows in the process one lap prior to Bradford’s flip.
The multiple WSS champion was sent to the infield for reported damage to the right front corner of the car but it would later appear the #9 was in fact OK to return to competition and Tatnell did just that.
Though he did resume when Shaun Bradford brought out the reds not one lap later, the steering box failed on the #9 and the disappointed defending Australian Champion had to watch from the infield.
“I’m very grateful to Steve and Deeann Caunt and this entire SCR Team for the opportunity they’ve given me to race in Australia,” Brooke explained, “I know we didn’t get them tonight but we’ve still got a bit of racing to do this month, including that Australian title next weekend.”
Only two cars did not complete the 50-lap affair, those being Jack Dover (fuel system issues) and Brooke Tatnell (Steering box failure).
Grant Anderson won the B-Main from a determined David “Blingy” Muir in second and the rapidly finishing Shaun Bradford in third despite not having any brakes at the end.
American Tim Kaeding won the Vortex Wings Pole Shootout in the Toyota Parts & Accessories KMS Cool and fellow countryman Kyle Hirst put in a blinding drive to pass Robbie Farr on the outside to win the earlier “Mid Pack Scramble.”
Heat wins on the night went to Nick Lacey, Mark House and local Kevin Titman.
ENZED World Series Sprintcars, presented by Hogs Breath Cafe, takes a well-earned break for a week whilst the 2013 Australian Sprintcar Championship is promoted at Archerfield Speedway but the series returns to burn at Sydney Speedway the weekend after (January 18/19).