The Driver's meeting before racing commenced - it was hot even in the shade !

Words and Pics by Paul Griffin
Stephen Lines driving the WA 7 Monte Motorsport Monster Energy J&J took the preliminary A-Main on Night 1 of the Fuchs Oil 50th Australian Sprintcar Championship at Speedway City Adelaide (Fri 27/1/12).
Crossing the flagstand three car lengths behind was David Murcott in S97 and a further three car lengths back filling the final podium spot was WA’s Ryan Farrell driving the Bayaire Industries V2.

Stephen Lines in the #7 Monster Energy car was unbeatable all night - a 2nd and 1st in his heats put him pole for the Prelim A-Main - he won that too !

Lines shot to the lead in the 20 lap Prelim A-Main from the drop of the green. The front order behind Lines quickly settled to Murcott, Farrell, Bricknell, and Dobson.
With 3 laps down the yellows came on for racing debris on the track. Come lap 10, Lines had greeted the tail of Brazier (who started off last row) and that is where Line’s motion forward through the field was halted. Ricky Maiolo brought on the yellows with 2 to go with a mechanical issue forcing him to stop in turn 1. At the restart it was Lines, Murcott, Farrell, Bricknell, Dobson, Farr, Scheuerle, Tatnell and forget the rest.
Dobson and Farr waged a great battle in the last 2 laps with Dobson winning out. Across the line first was Lines, followed by Murcott, Farrell and Bricknell. The order of the first 4 places had not changed in the entire 20 laps. There was some uncertainly about Bricknell’s weight on the scales, and at this point we are unsure of the outcome.

Stephen Lines came 2nd in his first heat

David Mucott finished 2nd in the A-Main driving the S97 entry

Ryan Farrell came home a handy 3rd in the Prelim A-Main and remains confident of a stronger result tomorrow. Ryan is Torque Tubes's prediction for the Title (see previous post)

There were no time trials in the night’s format and positions for the prelim A-Main were based soley on heat performances. Each driver was given 2 rounds of heats. There were 12 heats in total.
Several big names didn’t make the prelim A-Main and packed up early. These included drivers like Max Dumesny, Trevor Green, Kerry Madsen, Danny Reidy and recent Classic Winner Ian Loudoun. It was a tough day in the “office” for these guys !
Another hot day in South Australia saw the mercury climb to over 35 degrees.It would have been even hotter at the track. Once again that made it difficult for the track curators to prep a good surface. Once the track had blown off in earlier heats, it became one lane racing and all you needed to do was get your nose in front and drive smooth to win.
Several minor track finessments throughout the night saw the grader treating the critical areas of the turns. This restored a token amount of racing surface for a short while, but the intense heat really did take it’s toll on the quality of the track as dust beacame a real issue for spectators, and single file racing curtailed the enjoyment for the drivers – most of the time denying them any real chance at passing.
Heats were conducted over 10 laps and were pretty much a routine affair with the exception of Garry Brazier’s post victory (Heat 10) interview where he said over the track PA “They need to put a lot more effort into the track overnight. It’s not good enough for an Australian Title. To run around the bottom is boring”

Sydney's Garry Brazier pulls no punches and was highly critical of the track surface

The crowd applauded and cheered in agreeance. Let’s hope it is a heap better tomorrow night, as the dust really was unacceptable. Having said that though, and just to reiterate, the tempertures have been consisently high for days making it really tough to prepare a good track. It needs a deep rip tonight and progressive water to have any hope of avoiding a repeat.
Heat 1: Lynton Jeffery, Stephen Lines, David Anderson
Heat 2: Shaun Dobson, Ryan Farrell, Eddie Lumbar
Heat 3: David Murcott, Robbie Farr, Trevor Green
Heat 4: Ricky Maiolo, Andrew Scheuerle, Carl Dowling
Heat 5: Kevin Titman, Ben Ellement, Jamie Veal
Heat 6: Mark Reuter, Richard Morgan, Luke Bowey
Heat 7: Stephen Lines, Phil March, Max Dumesny
Heat 8: James McFadden, Dylan Jenkin, Ryan Farrell
Heat 9: Daniel Pestka, Hatden Pitts, House
Heat 10: Steve Brazier, Brent Aprile, Carl Dowling
Heat 11: Jamie Bricknell, Brooke Tatnell, Peter Murphy
Heat 12: Jamie Cobby, Matt Egel, Brad Keller
We all prey for a better quality surface tomorrow night. The forecast is for 34 degrees and showers, so watch this space !

The track before racing at 4pm didn't look too bad, but the hot weather really did deal it a tough blow - it was a one lane dust bowl towards the end of heats and very unpleasant for spectators.

David Murcott (right) seeks salvation from the heat in his transporter prior to engine starts

Prelim A-Main winner Stephen Lines chats with Crew Chief "Buzzy" before the first heat

2010 Australian Champion James McFadden found a "cool spot" in the pits. He was in amongst the heat however where he started in the prelim A-Main : on the 2nd last row !

Driver's and Crew members are keen to see how the track is coming up after one of it's several grade and waters

Heat 4 action down the back straight - pretty much one lane only

Cars return to the pits from a round one heat

The Monster Patrol made an appearance in the arena during main track prep and caught the eye of those heading to the canteen afterwards

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