VSDA – Presentation Night

The worlds’ oldest Speedcar (Midget) club, the Victorian Speedcar Drivers Aassociation (VSDA) held their annual presentation night las t Saturday (8th July) and at the same time inaugurated their own, long overdue, Hall of Fame.

“This club has an 83 year history as the oldest Speedcar club in the world, and we thought it was time to recognise our won Hall of Famers,” stated co-organiser and presenter David Parker.

“We have many people within this club that will never fulfil the criteria to become life members but they’ve had hall of fame careers and should be reciognised,” added club president and car owner Tim Fisher.

“We know there are many, many worthy inductees within this club and we welcome nominations and suggestions for future inductees, but we decided that the first group would be drawn from those that were still currently active within our great club.” Fisher continued.

And with that, the first five inductees were announced:

The Beasley Family,

Eric Smith,

Robbie Brown,

Barry Power, and

Mark Brown.

The Beasley Family’s contribution started way back in the 1930’s with Arthur “Pop” Beasley and then continued with his sons Alf and Stud and into the present day through Stud’s son Leroy who proudly accepted the award on behalf of his family.

An emotional Eric Smith said very little but was clearly humbled to be inducted.

Smith was a long time competitor starting back in 1956 and raced for over 30 years before fielding cars for his sons Shane and Craig and now his grandson Toby.

Smith is also the clubs scrutineer and Chief Steward a role he has held for over a decade.

Like Smith, Robbie Brown is part of a Speedcar family dynasty having followed in the footsteps of his father as a racer and then car owner for the likes of Ian Lewis before his own son Mark took over the seat at 16 years old. Robbie’s grandson Kaidon has only recently taken over from his dad, Mark, making this a fourth generation effort.

Robbie is still actively involved mentoring his grandson and maintianing machinery.

The family theme runs deep in this historic club and the fourth inductee was another with multi-generational roots – Barry Power.

Powers influence and effect on this club can never be underestimated, as he almost single handedly kept the club alive during the late 80’s and early 90’s when the club really was on life support and the last rights had been read.

Fielding a team of two or three cars, Power Racing made up the bulk of the field for a time keeping the club alive and unprepared to let it die with drivers such as Ray “Noddy” Bishop (surely a future inductee) and his own sons Craig and Darren, and with Barry taking on the role of Club President as well.

The larger than life racing stalwart still fields cars today with the larrikin Ash Booker currently at the helm of the Power Racing #59.

The final inductee, Mark Brown, was by far the youngest having only just retired during this current season.

Brown stated he “was embarrassed” to be inducted when there are so many other great people not yet included in the hall of fame but was humbled and honoured to be inducted alongside his dad Robbie dedicating it to his mother.

Despite his own misgivings Mark was a worthy winner as he totally fitted the criteria having had a stellar driving career and now being a car owner for his son – 4th generation racer Kaidon.

Mark Brown was also awarded the VSDA life time achievement award.

“Although I live in NSW, this is my club,” stated Brown. “My family has such a long history with this club and I am a Victorian at heart, and that’s the reason we run V97 on Kaidon’s car.” he added.

The other significant award of the night was the prestigious Club Person of the Year which went to John “Fluxy” Fitzgerald.

As Club President Tim Fisher stated when handing out the award “He had 101 reasons to walk away from Speedcar racing but he didn’t”

“Flux” has had a tough couple of years with the death of his step-son Braeden “Skip” Palmer and the inauguration of Skip’s Memorial race at Avalon where post-race, in the semi darkness surrounded by family and friends, Fluxy spread Skip’s ashes on the Avalon raceway track surface.

Not surprisingly it was an emotional Fitzgerald who said through tears “This is all for Skip, I loved that kid.”

Video/photo collages of all the Hall of Fame inductees can be seen on the VSDA facebook page and website.

The seasonal awards were also handed out on the night with The Mills Motorsport Group and driver Travis Mills winning the VSDA Drivers Championship, The VSDA Owners Championship, the Avalon Track Championship and the Best Presented Car & Crew.

Mills was also tied with Kaidon Bown for most feature wins.

The prestigious peer voted Drivers Driver award was also a tie and this time Mills was forced to share it with Joe Lostitch who had a banner year also winning the National Six Crown award to go with his Tasmanian Championship.

The other important drivers award was the Rookie of the Year which went to Mitch Whiting who stunned the club by becoming the quickest ever rookie to win a feature, and if not for a late season engine blow-up Whiting may have finished higher than 3rd in the Drivers Championship behind Mills and runner up Ash Booker.

Bookers 2nd place in the Drivers Championship and third in the Avalon Track Championship also gave car owner Barry Power third in the Owners Championship behind his old mate Robbie Brown whose son Mark, and Grandson Kaidon, combined to give him 2nd in the Owners title. As Mentioned earlier Mills Motorsport Group won the Owners Title.

The Braedon Palmer/John Fitzgerald Most Improved award went to Jack Day, while 13 different drivers were recipients of the Upside down award.

The Mark Bateman Chaplaincy Sportsmanship award went to Anthony Chaffey.

As mentioned in the Avalon Track Championship Travis Mills was the victor ahead of Kaidon Brown and Ashley Booker.

Top three in the VSDA Drivers Club Championship each received a brand new wheel courtesy of Max Wheel.

Completing the nights entertainment was a magician wandering from table to table amazing guests with his sleight of hand tricks and a caricature artist. Numerous raffles were held and then to top of the night Ash and Renae Booker made a magnanimous gesture of putting up a sizeable tab on the bar to finish off the night.

Carina Speedway back from the dead

BUNDABERG race fans will only have to wait two months for Carina Speedway to be back in action.

Barry Pearce and David Vaughan were yesterday announced as the new owners after taking over from the Walker family, which owned the land for more than 50 years.

And they have big plans for the area, which is now known as the Bundaberg Shed Alliance Motorplex.

The former lease at Carina ended in December after the venue was brought back to life in 2013 following a decade-long closure.

"To run it properly you really need to own the property,” Pearce exclusively told the NewsMail.

"There's been a lot of promoters come and go over the years and you've got a serious commitment when you own the property.

"We'll be here for a long, long time and the commitment to purchase it speaks for itself.”

The duo will be busy as they prepare to get back to racing.

They hope to host their first speedway event in August with Bundy Burnouts to be involved.

"We're looking at about two months of hard work,” Pearce said.

"We've got corporate boxes we want to build, canteens we've got to put in, sheds for the machinery and we're putting a shed for the drivers to work in with hoists.”

"We'll probably do a burnout comp shortly and will probably look at a monster truck show before the speedway season starts (in September).”

Pearce said they wanted to make sure Bundy Burnouts and organiser Neil Irvine were looked after.

"We're in negotiations with (Irvine), who put the pad down,” Pearce said.

"We'll see what we can do to help him out.”

Pearce said if Irvine wanted to be involved, "we're happy to work with him”.

Pearce said he saw a big future for the track, which is why they are involved.

"It's got a very long history,” he said.

"It's one of the best tracks certainly on the east coast and it is one of the fastest tracks.

"It's certainly got potential.”

The owner also recognises how important it is to the motorsport landscape in Bundaberg and Wide Bay.

"When we announced that we'd be taking the speedway I said it is not about the immediate drivers, it is about their kids as well that come through,” he said.

"We believe it all starts with the juniors.”

There will be a focus on getting people through the turnstiles and making the area a hub for racing again.

"What I see in a lot of speedways is people not getting 'bang for their buck,'” Pearce said.

"We want to put on a good show and get people in as cheaply as we can afford to have them come.”

Pearce also has plans to expand the motorplex to involve motorcross, mud drags and go karts.

Highline Magazine Edition 16

It's been a while but we think it's worth the wait.

Edition 16 of Highline Magazine is a bumper 136 pages of speedway action and comment including the Indiana Midget Speedweek, Aussie's abroad, F500's, Easter Trail coverage, Modified Production Sedans, Australia's first Late Model feature, flat track racing and all the usual comment and opinion and a special piece by Ray Solomon on the marketing of Speedway.

Enjoy and please share widely.

Holden unveils next gen Commodore Supercar

Holden has revealed the first official concept image of the next generation Commodore race car, which will be introduced into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in 2018.

The stunning computer-generated image is the work of talented GM Design Australia Exterior Design Manager Peter Hughes.

“What an incredible-looking race car, it carries on the tradition of Commodores looking awesome on and off the track and ushers in a new era for our brand,” Holden’s Executive Director – Marketing, Mark Harland said.

“I can’t wait to see it out on the track claiming race wins next year.”

The Supercars version of the cutting-edge next-gen Commodore is currently undergoing an intensive and rigorous design and development process being undertaken in partnership between Holden and its official factory racing team, Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The design work to compliment the sleek and sophisticated design of the road-going Commodore includes advanced simulation and aerodynamic evaluation using sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling.

In releasing the Supercars concept, Holden has also confirmed the next-gen Commodore will be homologated with the current, successful V8 engine for the 2018 season only.

A new, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, suitable for Supercars’ Gen 2 regulations, is currently undergoing development in partnership with the General Motors Performance and Racing Center, in Pontiac, Michigan.

Triple Eight Race Engineering will seek approval from Supercars to run a V6-powered Commodore as a wild card entry at selected rounds next season before a full rollout for the 2019 season.

The V6 engine will then be accessible to all Holden teams via a favourable leasing program.

The staggered introduction ensures a greater ease in transition to the new model Commodore bodywork for all Holden teams.

It also allows Holden and Triple Eight Race Engineering to assist Supercars’ technical department with development of its programs ensuring the turbocharged V6 can achieve parity with the existing, naturally aspirated V8s.

This will maintain the competition’s integrity with the introduction of Supercars’ new Gen 2 regulations.

“Our sport prides itself on Supercars being the closest competition in the world, and the phased introduction of the next-generation Commodore will ensure that is maintained,” Triple Eight Race Engineering team principal, Roland Dane said.

Supercars Australia Chief Executive Officer James Warburton applauded Holden on the stunning new 2018 Commodore and the manufacturer’s V6 engine development program for Gen 2.

“It is a pragmatic and sensible approach by Holden and Triple Eight Race Engineering in introducing the new Commodore and a twin-turbocharged V6 powered engine to the sport,” Warburton said.

“Importantly it is a win for all the current Teams in terms of the simplicity and market relevance for an easy transition to the new Commodore in 2018.

“This phased introduction sets a clear path forward for not only Holden but existing and new manufacturers in the sport.”

Development of the new Commodore Supercar continues, with construction of the first car well underway and ready to undertake Supercars Aero Validation in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Miller: "I might have been able to challenge for the podium"

Australian says more risk could have been more reward - but is happy with an impressive P6 at Assen.

Twelve months after his stunning first MotoGP win in the Dutch GP, Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) put in another great performance at the TT Circuit Assen to come home sixth in a challenging race to manage.

Initially not happy with his start, Miller was then able to tag onto the back of the group battling for fifth, fighting with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and then pushing when the rain came to keep his tyres up to termperature. His management of the conditions paid off - with Miller able to come home in sixth and take a great haul of points.

More risk could have been more reward, says the Australian, but the result as opposed to a DNF was too valuable:

“The first lap was not good, from my grid position I got stuck on the outside through all the right hand corners and lost time, but once the group flattened out I got up to tenth in a group with Dani and Cal.

I was a having nice fight with Dani and then the rain came. I kept my pace to keep temperature in the slick tyres and pushed through to sixth. With more risks I might have been able to challenge for the podium but I wanted the points, this was a good result for me.

I never thought about changing bikes, there wasn’t enough rain for wet weather tyres.”

Logan Wagner wins first-ever All Star win at Lernerville Speedway

For the first time in his young career, Logan Wagner is a main event winner with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, this time holding off a former Lernerville Speedway track champion, as well as the defending Arctic Cat All Star champion, for a $5,000 top prize. The Harrisonville, Pennsylvania, native started from the pole position and led all 30 circuits on Friday evening, June 2, at Lernerville Speedway, crossing under the final checkers nearly three seconds ahead of the competition. “Downtown” Danny Holtgraver crossed under the flagstand behind Wagner, followed by Chad Kemenah, Cole Duncan and Tim Shaffer.

“I can’t even put tonight into words,” Logan Wagner explained in Lernerville Speedway victory lane. “I gotta thank everyone that helps me out. My dad, especially, who does so much for me and my career. I didn’t think I was really that good tonight, but I was good enough to win and that is all that matters. This is amazing.”

Wagner took command at the drop of the initial green flag and immediately opened his advantage, stretching his lead to nearly two seconds by lap 10, ultimately pushing that margin to nearly three seconds during other segments of the main event.

A total of four cautions, three during the first 11 circuits, halted feature competition during the 30-lapper, and despite all four creating the potential for a takeover attempt, the clean air and open race track proved to be nothing more than an advantage for Logan Wagner. Even when traffic came into play during the midpoint of the main event, as well as during the last six circuits, Wagner’s preferred line around the thin, top edge of the speedway allowed for the most momentum.

“I just knew I had to run [turn one] the best that I could without getting up over the edge,” Wagner said in victory lane. “I know I went over the backstretch three or four times tonight. I was really tight through turns three and four, so I had to muscle my way around there. But I was able to really capitalize in turns one and two.”

Danny Holtgraver, Ryan Smith, Chad Kemenah and Cole Duncan each made their presence known with heated battles for the remaining positions inside the top-five. Holtgraver, the main event’s seventh starter who was making his first Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions appearance of the season, solidified the runner-up position on lap 21, ending a near-ten lap battle with Hunter Racing's Chad Kemenah.

“It feels good to be back in a sprint car,” Danny Holtgraver explained. “We haven’t raced that much this year, but when we do plan to race, we plan to have fun and work for results like this. Tonight was a lot of fun.”

The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will continue their short swing through Western Pennsylvania with a visit to Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday evening, June 3; the first and only appearance of the 2017 season, as well as the first visit in nearly two years.

Heat #1 - Group (A) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 2-Parker Price-Miller [4]; 2. D4-Danny Holtgraver [2]; 3. 33M-Max Stambaugh [1]; 4. 22C-Cole Duncan [3]; 5. 22-Brandon Spithaler [5]; 6. 46-Michael Bauer [6]; 7. 51-John Garvin [7]; 8. 5-Justin Barger [9]; 9. 49H-Bradley Howard [10]; 10. 55W-Michael Wagner [8]; 11. 91S-Sadie Siegal [11]

Heat #2 - Group (B) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 2F-AJ Flick [2]; 2. 59-Ryan Smith [4]; 3. 16-Danny Mumaw [1]; 4. 98-Carl Bowser [3]; 5. 91-Anthony Fiore [6]; 6. 23-Darren Pifer [7]; 7. C1-Clay Riney [10]; 8. 1080-Jordan Mackison [5]; 9. 29-Scott Barris [9]; 10. 9C-Roger Campbell [8]

Heat #3 - Group (C) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [2]; 2. 7W-Logan Wagner [1]; 3. 81-Lee Jacobs [4]; 4. 40-George Hobaugh [10]; 5. 13-Brandon Matus [5]; 6. 35-Tyler Esh [3]; 7. 76-David Jones [9]; 8. 4K-William Kiley [8]; 9. 95-Hunter Mackison [6]

Heat #4 - Group (D) (8 Laps) - Top 5 Transfer
1. 8-Dean Jacobs [1]; 2. 17-Caleb Helms [2]; 3. 49X-Tim Shaffer [3]; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah [4]; 5. 8M-TJ Michael [5]; 6. 7K-Dan Shetler [6]; 7. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [10]; 8. O8-Dan Kuriger [7]; 9. 33-Brent Matus [8]; 10. 9-Ryan Linder [9]

Dash #1 (4 Laps)
1. 7W-Logan Wagner [2]; 2. 2-Parker Price-Miller [1]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [3]; 4. D4-Danny Holtgraver [4]; 5. 17-Caleb Helms [5]

Dash #2 (4 Laps)
1. 59-Ryan Smith [1]; 2. 22C-Cole Duncan [3]; 3. 8-Dean Jacobs [4]; 4. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [5]; 5. 2F-AJ Flick [2]

C-Main (10 Laps) - Top 2 Transfer
1. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [9]; 2. 9-Ryan Linder [5]; 3. 76-David Jones [6]; 4. C1-Clay Riney [8]; 5. 4X-Rod George [2]; 6. 29-Scott Barris [7]; 7. 4K-William Kiley [4]; 8. 91S-Sadie Siegal [3]; 9. 9C-Roger Campbell [1]

B-Main (12 Laps) - Top 4 Transfer
1. 7K-Dan Shetler [5]; 2. O8-Dan Kuriger [7]; 3. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [13]; 4. 35-Tyler Esh [1]; 5. 46-Michael Bauer [2]; 6. 1080-Jordan Mackison [8]; 7. 55W-Michael Wagner [4]; 8. 33-Brent Matus [12]; 9. 5-Justin Barger [6]; 10. 9-Ryan Linder [14]; 11. 49H-Bradley Howard [9]; 12. 51-John Garvin [3]; 13. 23-Darren Pifer [11]; 14. 95-Hunter Mackison [10]

A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 7W-Logan Wagner [1]; 2. D4-Danny Holtgraver [7]; 3. 10H-Chad Kemenah [5]; 4. 22C-Cole Duncan [4]; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer [12]; 6. 59-Ryan Smith [6]; 7. 2F-AJ Flick [10]; 8. 81-Lee Jacobs [11]; 9. 98-Carl Bowser [15]; 10. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [8]; 11. 2-Parker Price-Miller [3]; 12. 8-Dean Jacobs [2]; 13. O8-Dan Kuriger [22]; 14. 17-Caleb Helms [9]; 15. 33M-Max Stambaugh [13]; 16. 13-Brandon Matus [19]; 17. 8M-TJ Michael [18]; 18. 7K-Dan Shetler [21]; 19. 16-Danny Mumaw [14]; 20. 33-Brent Matus [25]; 21. 51-John Garvin [27]; 22. 35-Tyler Esh [24]; 23. 40-George Hobaugh [16]; 24. 91-Anthony Fiore [20]; 25. 22-Brandon Spithaler [17]; 26. 46-Michael Bauer [26]; 27. 23JR-Jack Sodeman Jr. [23] Lap Leaders: Logan Wagner [1-30]

Current Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Standings (June 2, 2017):
1. Chad Kemenah: 1714
2. Caleb Armstrong: 1606
3. Caleb Helms: 1592
4. Ryan Smith: 1550
5. Max Stambaugh: 1398
6. Tim Shaffer: 1394
7. T.J. Michael: 1334
8. Brandon Matus: 1254
9. Brent Matus: 1214
10. Brandon Spithaler: 1203