After yet another night of domination by American visitor Steve Francis, this time at the QUIT Collie Speedway, the question still remains whether he can be stopped!
Francis again recorded a perfect night, with two heat wins from two starts, starting on pole position for the thirty lap final and again leading every lap to win his third feature of the Australian summer so far.
Sharing the front row with fellow countryman Jason Fitzgerald, who had the best night of his Australian Tour thus far, the initial start was called back with Francis deemed to have jumped.
He didn’t make the same mistake twice, but unfortunately the yellows came on very quickly after Craig Vosbergen made an uncharacteristic mistake from his fourth starting position and spun, going backwards into the turn one wall. Behind him cars went every which way to try and avoid him and the other cars that got involved and most did a good job, but unfortunately three cars were eliminated.
Veronica McCann who had been having another good night, the Quiet Achiever Matt Goodlad and one of the pre-race favorites in Jamie Oldfield with a flat tyre were all eliminated before they got to complete a lap in anger.
With fourteen cars restarting it was Francis who quickly jumped into the lead at the complete restart, leading Fitzgerald. Jay Cardy, who started from position three, quickly challenged Fitzgerald while behind him Craig Vosbergen would eventually retire on lap three with damage from his early race incident.
This allowed Paul Stubber to move into fourth place and begin to challenge Cardy for the final podium position. Unfortunately he and Cardy then came undone, bringing the yellows out with five laps completed. Luckily for them, stewards were unable to determine the cause of the accident and reinstated both in their positions upon the resumption of the race.
The green flag flew once again and as has so often been the case, Francis was away again, setting the quickest lap of race to that point. Francis and Fitzgerald were then able to open up a gap while on lap eight Stubber made his move and into third past Cardy.
The yellows came out again after Kye Blight, who had closed on Cardy for fourth, spun after contact, with Cardy sent to the rear for his part in the incident.
The luckless Fitzgerald was holding down second on lap thirteen before he too slowed and headed infield as the fifth retiree of the race, with Stubber elevated into second and the hard charging Devin Moran moving from position fourteen to third.
Alec Melvin would be the next retiree from the race on lap fifteen after he had been running in sixth, while up front the battle intensified as firstly Moran got past Stubber and then Blight began applying the pressure for the final podium position.
Behind them again was a big battle with multiple cars when Brad Blake, sitting in the sixth position on lap twenty four, appeared to be tagged by another car and spun, catapulting into the front straight wall. He became the seventh and final retiree, while Francis would go on to claim yet another win, this time ahead of Devin Moran and Paul Stubber.
Earlier heat races were hard fought battles that entertained the large crowd in attendance. Wins were shared by Francis (2), Fitzgerald, Blight, Vosbergen and Cardy, while the second heat of the night had the crowd on its feet with Francis executive a perfect outside pass to grab the win in the dying stages.
The USA vs WA Invasion Tour now moves towards a rapid conclusion tomorrow night at Albany Speedway. Full details of the event will be released later today, but rest assured it is going to be a thrilling conclusion to the series!
Release by DTN Media.
Photo Credit Steve Francis Motorsport.
Pole Position – Steve Francis
Hard Charger – Devin Moran
Late Models Heat One – 10 laps: 1. Jason Fitzgerald, 2. Brad Blake, 3. Jamie Oldfield, 4. Paul Stubber, 5. Chris Pavlovich, 6. Wade Carter. Total Time: 2.55.413. Winning Margin: 4.270. Fastest Lap: 16.815 Jason Fitzgerald.
Late Models Heat Two – 10 laps: 1. Steve Francis, 2. Matt Goodlad, 3. Alec Melvin, 4. Craig Vosbergen, 5. Jai Mazzini. DNF: David Nylander (5). Total Time: 2.58.575. Winning Margin: 0.752. Fastest Lap: 16.957 Steve Francis.
Late Models Heat Three – 10 laps: 1. Kye Blight, 2. Veronica McCann, 3. Jay Cardy, 4. Paul Joss, 5. Michael Holmes, 6. Devin Moran, 7. Marc Giancola. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 0.419. Fastest Lap: 17.648 Kye Blight.
Late Models Heat Four – 10 laps: 1. Craig Vosbergen, 2. Paul Stubber, 3. Jason Fitzgerald, 4. Alec Melvin, 5. Jai Mazzini, 6. Wade Carter. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.359. Fastest Lap: 17.227 Craig Vosbergen.
Late Models Heat Five – 10 laps: 1. Steve Francis, 2. Devin Moran, 3. Michael Holmes, 4. Matt Goodlad, 5. Marc Giancola, 6. Veronica McCann. Total Time: 2.54.293. Winning Margin: 1.309. Fastest Lap: 17.163 Steve Francis.
Late Models Heat Six – 10 laps: 1. Jay Cardy, 2. Jamie Oldfield, 3. Paul Joss, 4. Chris Pavlovich, 5. Kye Blight, 6. Brad Blake. Total Time: 3.04.282. Winning Margin: 0.297. Fastest Lap: 17.773 Jay Cardy.
Feature – 30 laps: 1. Steve Francis, 2. Devin Moran, 3. Paul Stubber, 4. Kye Blight, 5. Paul Joss, 6. Michael Holmes, 7. Jay Cardy, 8. Chris Pavlovich, 9. Jai Mazzini (29), 10. Wade Carter (29). DNF: Brad Blake (24), Alec Melvin (15), Jason Fitzgerald (12), Craig Vosbergen (5), Jamie Oldfield (0), Matt Goodlad (0), Veronica McCann (0). DNS: Marc Giancola, David Nylander. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 2.206. Fastest Lap: 17.078 Steve Francis.
USA vs WA Invasion Tour Points with one round remaining
1. Steve Francis 353
2. Devin Moran 324
3. Paul Stubber 307
4. Michael Holmes 301
5. Craig Vosbergen 295
6. Kye Blight 286
7. Jay Cardy 283
8. Jamie Oldfield 279
9. Veronica McCann 257
10. Paul Joss 257
11. Chris Pavlovich 248
12. Matt Goodlad 247
13. Jason Fitzgerald 242
14. Brad Blake 237
15. Alec Melvin 225
16. Wade Carter 220
17. Marc Giancola 213
18. Jai Mazzini 211
19. Hayden Norman 168
20. Warren Oldfield 165
21. Lionel Kirkby 133
22. Ryan Ludlow 123
23. Brad Ludlow 113
24. Jason Bond 113
25. Simon McNab 70
26. David Nylander 54