American superstar driver Sheldon Haudenschild dominated the 13th running of the Mainline DynoLog Dynamometers All Star Challenge at Heytesbury Stockfeeds Simpson Speedway on Saturday night.
A record crowd in excess of 2100 people packed in to watch Haudenschild – the son of sprintcar legend Jac, driving for Jack Lee Racing of Terang, cruise to a payday of $15,000.
Haudenschild, 29, of Wooster in Ohio is a World of Outlaws regular and last raced in Australia in 2015 would lead home fellow American Chase Randall of Texas and Grant Anderson of Albury third.
After setting a time of 12.663 seconds in time trials behind quick-time winner Paul Solomon (12.606), Haudenschild proceeded to get a second and win in his heats, including his win from position nine and would start from the front row next to the fast Rusty Hickman of Bendigo for the 35-lap feature.
Hickman, who also won both his heats, got the jump on Haudenschild and led for the opening 10 laps until he suffered fuel issues in the Dave Challons-owned J&J which forced him from the lead and the race.
As Haudenschild was lapping cars at will, Randall had worked through from seventh position to challenge for a podium and quickly was into second while Anderson jumped into third.
Back in the pack, last year’s Challenge winner Brendan Quinn had got sideways on turn four and collected Charles Hunter and Chris Campbell.
James McFadden got as high as fifth was also a victim when Todd Moule spun in turn three. McFadden blew a right rear tyre and careered towards the concrete wall and Daniel Scott rolled trying to avoid the carnage.
Up front it was still Haudenschild out front and he had lapped the field up to sixth place while Chris Solomon was into fourth from 10th and burgeoning driver Chris Temby was fifth in a solid result for the youngster.
With 10 laps left to run Michael Tancredi’s front end collapsed, then at the restart, B-Main winner, Brett Milburn who was up to seventh spun before cars got to commence the restart lap and Matthew Reed careered into him and rolled and withdrew.
Haudenschild was in control and led Randall and Anderson to the finish line in a race marred by many unusual incidents and just seven cars finishing of the 20 starters.
“We knew it was going to be a long race and just had to survive,” Haudenschild said.
“The 45 (Hickman) was good and I was happy with line I wanted to run when I was behind him. It’s great to be here finally as we’ve had some late nights trying to get paperwork done. It’s great to be here finally in Australia.”
Final placings: 1. Sheldon Haudenschild, 2: Chas Randall, 3: Grant Anderson, 4: Chris Solomon, 5: Chris Temby, 6: Paul Solomon, 7: Mark Caruso, 8: Ricky Maiolo, 9: Brett Milburn, 10: Brenten Farrer.
A thrilling last corner pass from Jacob Pitcher saw him steal the win in the annual Snoopy Slam for the Super Rods.
His final laps were superb as he edged closer to race-long leader Stan Marco Jnr as the 25-lap final wound down and lapped cars played a part.
Approaching turn three, Pitcher sat on the high line as Marco was mid- track, coming to the final turn Pitcher found just a fraction more speed which propelled him to just nudge ahead to win.
While these two were having their own race Dane Court had been desperate to break the stranglehold Corey Degliatis had on third place, and he did.
In a similar scenario to the first two, it was a high line pass that occurred as both cars crossed the finish line with Court narrowly ahead.
The SSA Junior Sedan Invitational was another strong battle of the possible future stars of speedway and Arthur Hutchinson held off a determined Blake Glynn to win with Matilda Farrell third.
The next meeting at Heytesbury Stockfeeds Simpson Speedway will be on Saturday February 11 and sponsored by Colac Wreckers and feature the annual Front Row Challenge for Wingless Sprints, Trevor Podger Memorial for Super Rods, round 7 of both the South West Stampede for VSC Sports Sedans and Southern Speedcar Tour.