SMP Tests Night Racing Option

Supercars drivers Fabian Coulthard and Simona De Silvestro are eager to tackle a night race at Sydney Motorsport Park next year after a special test under lights this evening.

The #12 Shell V-Power Ford and #78 Harvey Norman Nissan completed just under 30 minutes of night running at the Western Sydney venue.

Supercars will now debrief with the drivers and analyse the television footage captured ahead of a potential night event next year.

Temporary light towers were placed at turn 2 for the test and will be moved to other areas of the track later this evening for further running with the category’s Vodafone Safety Car.

The Safety Car was also on track with the two Supercars, driven by Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport's Alex Davison.

“The areas where it was lit up were awesome," Coulthard told Supercars Media after the run.

“We could have a few less shadows, but I think for the purpose of the experiment it was definitely worthwhile.

“It’s a new spectacle and it’s a great circuit to do it. It’s good viewing for the fans and I think the cars look fantastic under lights. I think it (a night race) will be a great spectacle.”

De Silvestro has experience racing IndyCars on ovals under lights and says it’s relatively easy for drivers to adapt to night conditions.

“It’s hard (to judge) because we only had one corner but I think the lighting was quite good,”

Aussie Batchelor Sacked

Australian solp star Troy Batchelor is gutted to see his UK season “cut short through spite” as he faces an uncertain future in Britain following his shock sacking by King’s Lynn on Monday.

The Norfolk-based man was given his marching orders along with 2012 world champion Chris Holder following Stars’ farcical meeting against Poole on July 13, which saw the home riders take issue with track conditions, with Holder copping a 28-day UK ban for allegedly refusing to race in two heats.

Batchelor withdrew from the meeting after crashing in heat six with the medical staff concerned he had suffered a wrist injury. He underwent hospital checks, which revealed it was nothing more than ligament damage and swelling, allowing him to fulfil a guest booking for Swindon at Belle Vue the next day.

His withdrawal and decision to race in Manchester drew criticism in some quarters, and Stars owner Keith Chapman dumped Holder and Batchelor, seeking to build “a team full of riders with a good, positive attitude towards the club and towards the sport in general.”

Batchelor is fuming to have been left jobless just days after the SGB Premiership transfer window closed last Friday.

With no chance of securing a spot for the rest of the season, his UK visa could be in jeopardy, leaving him facing the possibility of being deported and barred from riding in Britain for 12 months.

The Queenslander, who owns a home in the UK, believes he didn’t deserve to be left on the shelf, fearing for his future. He said: “Hopefully I’ll know a little more today, but my future is uncertain and if I don’t have a team place, I might have to go home, which is obviously quite unfair in my opinion.

“I don’t really see what I have done wrong to deserve being dropped. I haven’t said anything bad about the club. I have been the top scorer in the team most meetings. I have moved from No.4 to No.1, taken over that role and been scoring well at No.1.

“If I’m not trying, how am I No.1? How have I put two points on my average? Tell me that.

“I feel quite upset. If Buster had called me on Thursday and said ‘we’re getting rid of you.’ I would have said ‘okay, that’s fine’ and jumped on the phone to someone else.

“I can pretty much guarantee I would have ended up somewhere like Poole – a club desperate for riders at the moment. There are plenty of spaces available, so the manner with which it has been dealt with is quite unprofessional.

“I raced for Buster in 2005, 2006 and last year. Where’s the loyalty? I haven’t said anything bad about the club or anyone. I held on to my tongue when I read Buster’s statements. It’s not just that one statement where he has been aiming it towards certain people. It’s quite disappointing really.

“I’m mostly disappointed in not having the chance to go to another club. Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.”

The 29-year-old was also disappointed with what he feels was a lack of communication from Chapman over the issues at the club.

He said: “I didn’t have anything bad to say really. Things don’t always go smoothly at every track or workplace. We had a few problems with the track, but I was ready to work on stuff with everybody.

“If Buster had some problems or concerns about me, and I don’t know what he is thinking, I’m only a phone call away.

“The only phone call I’ve received from Buster this year was on Monday when he told me he was taking me out of the one-to-seven. That’s the only time he has spoken to me this year.”

Batchelor was also set to miss Stars’ home clash with Rye House on July 19 due to fears over a possible broken scaphoid after he crashed while guesting for Swindon at Leicester two days earlier.

Despite claims to the contrary, he insists his withdrawal from the Pirates fixture was a genuine injury concern, and he was issued a medical certificate when he was forced out.

He said: “In heat six, I crashed. I was on a 5-1 with Thomas Jorgensen and we knew the conditions weren’t great before that. We were out on a 5-1 and I was waving to him to slow down. I was on the outside and he was on the inside.

“We did about three laps and then coming around the third and fourth corner on to the last lap, he passed me and so did Paul Starke. Then they both crashed on the next corner. I crashed into them.

“The track was that grippy I couldn’t even lay the bike down. It was a really awkward crash because I was trying to go down, but couldn’t. I ended up straightening up and hitting the fence. I kind of rolled my wrist backwards really awkwardly.

“I went into the ambulance and saw the medical crew. They were worried the wrist might be hurt and they wanted me to pull out of the meeting.

“I got them to give me a couple of minutes to ice it and see how it felt. It was quite shaky and sore. I couldn’t squeeze the handlebars, so they pulled me out of the meeting and told me to get it checked out, which I did the following day.

“Nothing was broken; it was just ligament damage and swelling to my thumb and first three fingers. It was the whole hand.

“I had a guest booking already from Swindon at Belle Vue. I’d had it booked in for ages, so I thought ‘why not? It’s a good track up there and if it’s a good track, it’s a lot easier to hold on.’”

While Batchelor had withdrawn from the Pirates meeting, he backs his former team mates for expressing their worries over track conditions.

He said: “I stand by everybody. If I wasn’t withdrawn from the meeting, it would have been me standing up with them. I back everybody 100 percent. It was all the guys – it wasn’t just one particular guy.

“Chris is the one who copped the brunt of it and it maybe is a little bit unfair to him. It wasn’t just him. Everyone was taking a stand and rightly so because the track conditions weren’t right.

“There are seven of us there. I have been racing since I was five and that’s nearly 25 years. With Chris and the other guys in the team, that’s a lot of experience and trophies between all of us. Our opinion should count for something.”

Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.

Donny Schatz Makes It An Even Ten Knoxville Nationals Victories!

Donny Schatz continues to add to his legendary resume at the Knoxville Raceway, as he took his tenth career championship in the 57th Annual 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores Saturday night at the Knoxville Raceway. It was the tenth win in twelve years for the Fargo, North Dakota driver, and his eighth aboard the Tony Stewart Racing #15. The win was worth $150,000 and added to the stuff of legends for Donny at Knoxville.

David Gravel, who entered on the pole in the 50-lapper with his perfect score from Thursday night, led early over Schatz and Kerry Madsen. By lap six, he was in lapped traffic. Gravel maneuvered it well, but Schatz stayed close. On the sixteenth lap, Schatz would briefly take the point on the backstretch, but Gravel battled back by.

On lap 19, Austin McCarl went up in smoke, bringing the first caution of the event. Gravel led Schatz, Madsen, Brad Sweet and Brian Brown back to green flag racing. Defending champion, Jason Johnson came from 21st into the top ten by lap 20. His momentum was slowed on lap 22, when Gravel would lose a motor while leading.

The disappointment for the Connecticut driver gave the lead to Schatz. Kyle Larson also inherited a top five spot, and drove by Brown and Sweet for third on the restart. A caution for Terry McCarl, who slowed after getting into the turn three wall, slowed things again.

At that point, the mandatory stop was implemented. After the pause, Schatz led Madsen, Larson, Sweet and Shane Stewart back to green. Madsen took a shot at the leader, but a slider in turn two fell short, allowing Larson to cruise by into second. While Schatz led Larson, Madsen and Stewart, Sweet and Brown exchanged the fifth spot several times.

A final yellow flag flew with twelve laps to go for Greg Hodnett, who stopped in turn four. It erased a 2.2 second lead for Schatz. Back in clean air, Schatz was strong up front. With five laps to go, he entered lapped traffic again. With several cars side by side in front of him, Larson would close.

On the white flag lap, Larson would make a sliding attempt in turn three that would fall short. Schatz would win his tenth Nationals ahead of Larson, Madsen, Stewart and Sweet. Brown, Aaron Reutzel, Rico Abreu, Daryn Pittman and Ian Madsen rounded out the top ten. Rager Phillips won the E main, Jamie Veal won the D, James McFadden claimed the C, and Jason Sides emerged victorious in a highly competitive B main.

Schatz’s crew chief Ricky Warner received Crew Chief of the Nationals honors, taking home a Craftsman Tool Box. Reutzel was the Hard-charger, earning a Max Pappis steering wheel. awarded $500 to Rookie of the Nationals Dominic Scelzi. Ian Madsen’s KCP Racing #18 was awarded “Best Appearing Car”, followed by Terry McCarl and David Gravel. Best Appearing Crew went to Jason Johnson, followed by Ian Madsen and Harli White.

“I did everything I could to get by (in traffic)," said Schatz in Victory Lane. "That's how it works some days. You can't frustrated by it. You have to figure out what to do. I was off the pace, I knew someone would be coming (at the end of the race). Kyle normally finds everything there is in a race car. You got to stay on your toes with him. He's an awesome sprint car driver. It stinks that he has another career to deal with. I'm just glad that he's part of the sport and still comes back. We're glad to get this win. It's incredible. This whole race team is incredible with what they do. We just won the Knoxville Nationals!"

"That was a fun, tough race," said Larson. "We had some good restarts and got to second. We were maintaining pace with him. We were just waiting for lapped traffic. I knew he'd be good in lapped traffic, but I figured there might be a couple times when he wouldn't clear somebody and get tight. The times he got tight, I got tight on the cushion. It was still a heck of a race. I hammered the wall coming off four coming for the white. I feel that if I hadn't done that, I could have gotten a run and maybe cleared him in two. I just made a costly mistake and ended up second. It was still a good race for (car owner/crew chief) Paul (Silva) and I. We still had fun. Thanks to the fans for talking to Chip (Ganassi) and helping us come out."

"I think I had a really good car to contend for the victory," said Kerry Madsen beside the Tod Quiring #2M. "In traffic, I thought I had a better car than the two cars in front. I thought, 'No worries', we usually get to traffic in those deals. Then the caution would come out. I thought I had a shot at him on the restart (after the stoppage). I figured if he left the door open, I was going to go for it. Unfortunately, that cost me second. I was on Kyle's rear the whole way, but I was never close enough to make a move. I just want to thank my team for working so hard."

E main, (started), 10 Laps, 2:42.3: 1. 22, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (2); 2. 9Z, Jared Goerges, Brainerd, MN, (4); 3. 13V, Seth Brahmer, Norfolk, NE, (3); 4. 19L, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI, (1); 5. 83C, Adam Cruea, Troy, OH, (6); 6. 9X, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO, (9); / 7. 12W, Josh Walter, Plymouth, WI, (5); 8. 13, Clyde Knipp, California, MO, (7); 9. 1P, Curtis Evans, Norborne, MO (8); DNS: 1B, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA; 71A, R.J. Johnson, Tampa, FL; 17M, Max McGhee, Camby, IN; 67X, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN; 4X, Dakota Hendrickson, Omaha, NE; X1, Mason Moore, Chico, CA; 10V, Kyle Reinhardt, Neptune City, NJ; 9C, Roger Campbell, Clyde, OH; 2MM, Matt Moro, Polk City, IA;

D main, (started), 12 Laps, NT: 1. 35V, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. (3); 2. 81, Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH, (1); 3. 1M, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO, (4); 4. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA, (2); 5. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN, (8); / 6. 7W, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (6); 7. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (5); 8. 99G, Skylar Gee, Leduc, Alb., Can. (9); 9. 5J, Jeremy Schultz, Beaver Dam, WI, (13); 10. 70, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, S.D., (11); 11. 17W, Harli White, Lindsay, OK, (10); 12. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK, (7); 13. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA, (12); 14. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND, (18); 15. 19 Paige Polyak, Tiffin, OH, (17); 16. 15M, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA, (14); 17. 9X, Jake Bubak, Arvada, CO, (24); 18. 8H, Jason Kendrick, Perth, WA, Aust., (16); 19. 9Z, Jared Goerges, Brainerd, MN, (20); 20. 19L, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI, (22); 21. 85, Chase Wanner, Agency, IA, (15); 22. 83C, Adam Cruea, Troy, OH, (23); 23. 13V, Seth Brahmer, Norfolk, NE, (21); 24. 22, Rager Phillips, Pleasantville, IA, (19); DNS: 23W, Scott Winters, Butterfield, MN; 26, Taylor Malsam, Seattle, WA;

C main, (started), 15 Laps, 4:12.0: 1. 3, James McFadden, Ormeau, QLD, Aust. (4); 2. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK, (2); 3. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI, (1); 4. 17, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (6); / 5. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX, (8); 6. 84, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust. (7); 7. 12N, Cole Duncan, Lockbourne, OH, (3); 8. 71, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL, (13); 9. 94, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN, (5); 10. 1Z, Dale Blaney, Hartford, OH, (12); 11. W20, Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge, OH, (16); 12. 35V, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. (20); 13. 12, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (10); 14. 3G, Carson Macedo, Lemoore, CA, (11); 15. 53, Jack Dover, Springfield, NE, (14); 16. 49J, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA, (19); 17. 17X, Josh Baughman, Odessa, TX (17); 18. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN, (24); 19. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA, (23); 20. 21AU, Jordyn Brazier, Maroochydore, QLD, Aust. (18); 21. 1X, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE, (15); 22. 81, Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH, (21); 23. 1M, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO, (22); 24. 00, Dane Lorenc, Lancaster, NY, (9); DNS: 1, Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg, MB, Can.

B main, (started), 22 Laps, NT: 1. 7s, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN, (3); 2. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA, (8); 3. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (14); 4. 44S, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA, (2); / 5. 24W, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA, (5); 6. 10H, Chad Kemenah, Alvada, OH, (11); 7. 83, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD, (1); 8. 14B, Christopher Bell, Norman, OK, (6); 9. 29, Danny Dietrich, Gettysburg, PA, (7); 10. 82, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD, (4); 11. 3K, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA, (15); 12. 11K, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN, (17); 13. 51, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN, (19); 14. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (22); 15. 1A, Jacob Allen, Hanover, PA, (18); 16. 41S, Dominic Scelzi, Fresno, CA, (10); 17. 93, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (13); 18. 09, Matt Juhl, Tea, S.D., (9); 19. 17, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, (24); 20. 19, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA, (20); 21. 17B, Bill Balog, Hartland, WI, (23); 22. 39, Spencer Bayston, Lebanon, IN, (12); 23. 3, James McFadden, Ormeau, QLD, Aust., (21); 24. 3S, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (16);

A main, (started), 50 Laps, NT: 1. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D. (2); 2. 57, Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA, (9); 3. 2M, Kerry Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (4); 4. 2, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK, (10); 5. 49, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA, (3); 6. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO, (5); 7. 87, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX, (19); 8. 24R, Rico Abreu, St. Helena, CA, (14); 9. 9, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK, (7); 10. 18, Ian Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (15); 11. 41, Jason Johnson, Eunice, LA, (17); 12. 13JT, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, N.D. (13); 13. 4, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN, (12); 14. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (23); 15. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA, (6); 16. 7S, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN, (21); 17. 5H, Cory Eliason, Selma, CA, (20); 18. 44, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA, (24); 19. 27, Greg Hodnett, Spring Grove, CA, (8); 20. 1S, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA, (18); 21. 5, David Gravel, Watertown, CT, (1); 22. 2KS, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA, (11); 23. 2C, Wayne Johnson, Oklahoma City, OK, (16); 24. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA, (22); Lap Leaders: Gravel 1-22, Schatz 23-50; Hard Charger: Reutzel

Crafton Captures Eldora Truck Slidefest

Using a late-race restart 18 laps from the finish and a strategy to 'go where the others aren’t,' Matt Crafton muscled past veteran dirt racer Stewart Friesen to win Wednesday night’s fifth annual Eldora Dirt Derby 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.

Over the last 40 laps of the race, Crafton patiently worked his way from the bottom of the top 10 and took advantage of a Lap 127 caution to position himself to challenge a dominant Friesen for his first win since a victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway last May.

"My first dirt win -- a lot of fun," said Crafton, who picked up his 14th career win. "In the second part of that race we downright just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.

"I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, 'Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.' I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship."

Friesen finished second to earn his career-best finish in the Truck Series.

"Congrats to Matt, he's been doing his homework on the dirt and it paid off," said Friesen, who led a race-high 93 laps.

"We didn't come here to run second that's for damn sure, but I'm proud of these guys. They worked hard to get this truck dialed in. We had a great truck, he (Crafton) just got rolling on the top, it cleaned up, I was so committed to the bottom and go there in the middle and he just found a line and got us. It burns."

Pole-sitter Friesen led his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series laps and extended his lead to nearly two seconds when a multi-truck accident ignited in Turn 3 on Lap 19 after Sheldon Creed spun and collected at least six other trucks in the process.

With a competition caution set at Lap 20 to allow teams to clean their windshields and grilles of the mud and dirt sprayed during the first run, NASCAR utilized the second yellow flag of the night to serve as the competition caution.

On the Lap 33 restart, Friesen found himself under attack from two-time series champion Crafton, who swiped the lead away on Lap 34 and held it through the conclusion of Stage 1, which ended under caution after pre-race favorite Christopher Bell spun and was T-boned by Kaz Grala.

The start of Stage 2 saw the lead exchange twice in a period of three laps as Friesen grabbed the lead back from Crafton only to be passed by John Hunter Nemechek two laps later.

Sydney Sprintcar driver Max Johnston made a strong start (#02 Chevrolet) from 22nd on the grid and had been running in and out of the top 10 as he elected not to pit after the first 40 lap section. However, the Sydneysider spun early Stage 2 at Turn 4 and was collected by Korbin Forrister and Ben Rhodes.

The crash took all three drivers out of the race.

Friesen, however, proved that he had one of the strongest trucks in the field by re-assuming the lead on Lap 53 and collecting the Stage 2 victory.

Under yellow for the Stage 2 break, Friesen's spotter noticed that he had a right-front tire going down forcing the No. 52 Halmar International Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and fuel. The unexpected stop handed the lead to 2015 Eldora winner Bell for the Lap 93 restart.

Restarting sixth, Friesen stormed back though the field and eventually caught the heavily damaged truck of Bell on Lap 115 to re-assume command at the front.

When it seemed that Friesen was settling into his comfort zone and potentially sailing toward his first career victory, Crafton, using a quicker top lane, overpowered him on Lap 133, with the pass setting the tone for the final lead change of the night.

Behind Crafton and Friesen, Chase Briscoe in a backup truck finished third ahead of Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek. Late-model dirt specialist Bobby Pierce finished sixth while Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Bell and Austin Cindric comprised the remainder of the top 10.

Race highlights will be available here on the Motorsport channel in coming days.

Additional Funding for Bathurst 2nd Circuit

More exciting news for Mount Panorama this afternoon with the Federal Government announcing an investment of $10 million to the development of a second circuit.

Bringing the total to $25 million in funding so far and another step closer to the start of the project.

Although the funding is at $25 million its still a long way short of the required amount to get the project off the ground.

We will keep you posted.


Sydney Sprintcar Racer set for Debut on NASCAR Grand Stage

Australian Sprintcar Racer Max Johnston is set to create history when he competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event at Eldora Speedway.

While a few Aussie’s have raced in NASCAR such as Marcos Ambrose and Owen Kelly and many more have raced at the Famed Eldora Speedway, none have done both at the same time.

MAX JOHNSTON will create history when he makes his NASCAR debut with Brandt professional agriculture and young's motorsports at Eldora.

BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, will join Young's Motorsports with Johnston, for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway where  Johnston will pilot the 02 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy Silverado for the July 19th prime time event.

Joining BRANDT on the truck will be Australian distribution partners BARMAC, a division of Amgrow Australia Pty Ltd, and GLOBE Growing Solutions.

"We are excited to put Max behind the wheel for his NASCAR Truck Series debut as a representative of BRANDT both here and in Australia, said Rick Brandt, President & CEO of BRANDT.  "The Eldora Speedway race is one of a kind and we look forward to seeing Max's skills on the dirt track."

"I'm humbled at the opportunity to race in one of NASCAR's top tier series with BRANDT Professional Agriculture and Young's Motorsports,” said Max Johnston. “Hard work and never giving up is something I live by and I want to apply that as I make my NASCAR debut"

No doubt there will be many keen Aussie fans watching the prestigious event now that there is a direct Aussie involvement.

Highline Magazine and The Motorsport Channel wishes Johnston great success on his NASCAR and Eldora debut.