Steve Francis has tonight once again shown why he is a world renowned driver as he dominated the night’s proceedings to go through undefeated and record his eleventh straight feature win here in Western Australia.
Francis was quite simply all class as he set the quickest time in Qualifying of a 16.341, then went on to record two wins from two starts in his heats, setting up a pole position start for the twenty lap feature race.
Twenty three of the original twenty five starters of the night took the green flag in the feature, with American Jason Fitzgerald damaging a piston in the Halliday Racing #7 machine in his opening heat while Brad Ludlow had a spectacular engine fire while he was leading his second heat, leaving both unable to make the call.
The first attempt at a start in the feature race saw Lionel Kirkby spin in turn one, bringing out the yellows and setting up a complete restart.
On the second attempt things went a lot smoother and despite twenty three cars jostling their way around the high banks of the Perth Motorplex for prime position, it was Francis who quickly began to race away from Craig Vosbergen and Devin Moran.
The yellows came out once again on lap three, this time for Jason Bond who spun and then crunched the turn three wall backwards. He was able to restart but would become the second and final retiree of the race in lap nine. The only other driver to record a DNF was Jai Mazzini who headed infield on lap two.
With the race resuming once again, Moran took the opportunity to begin challenging Vosbergen for second, making the move stick shortly after, while Kye Blight took his opportunity a couple of laps later and moved past Vosbergen for third, while further back Michael Holmes also began moving his way forward into fifth position.
Back up the front and Francis was moving through lapped traffic like it was standing still, threading the needle perfectly on a number of occasions as he pulled further away and lapping twelfth place by the end of the race. Behind him was Moran who continued to fight to close the gap, with an opportunity finally coming on lap seventeen as the yellows came on for a spun Alec Melvin in turn four, setting up a three lap restart.
As had been the case all night, Francis again pulled away with Moran hot on his heels. Behind them though the battle was on as Michael Holmes first battled Vosbergen and then Blight to grab third place in the dying stages, with Francis going on to record yet another feature victory in Western Australia, this time ahead of Devin Moran and teammate Michael Holmes.
Impressive to note is that twenty one of the twenty three starters completed the distance, a huge credit to the LMRWA and all the drivers.
Earlier heat races went the way of Francis (2), Blight, Paul Stubber, Jay Cardy and Moran, with only a few stoppages along the way.
Courtesy of the qualifying, heat races and preliminary feature race finishes, Francis leads the way on points heading into night two with a perfect 140 points. Craig Vosbergen is next best on 129, while Devin Moran, Paul Stubber and Kye Blight are close behind on 128, 127 and 126 points respectively. Full points are listed below.
Drivers will tomorrow each have hot laps before competing in one more round of heats. From here the top ten drivers on points will head into the knockout, while the remaining drivers will compete in the Mid Pack Madness event. This will be followed by the forty lap feature.
Full details will continue to be released tomorrow, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled and we will see you at the Perth Motorplex once again tomorrow afternoon!
Pole Position – Steve Francis
Hard Charger – Hayden Norman
Release by DTN Media.
Qualifying – 1. Steve Francis 16.341, 2. Craig Vosbergen 16.393, 3. Paul Stubber 16.511, 4. Jason Fitzgerald 16.693, 5. Kye Blight 17.000, 6. Michael Holmes 17.020, 7. Brad Blake 17.056, 8. Brad Ludlow 17.064, 9. Devin Moran 17.095, 10. Jay Cardy 17.130, 11. Veronica McCann 17.200, 12. Jamie Oldfield 17.297, 13. Warren Oldfield 17.328, 14. Paul Joss 17.329, 15. Marc Giancola 17.352, 16. Matt Goodlad 17.357, 17. Chris Pavlovich 17.469, 18. Alec Melvin 17.489, 19. Ryan Ludlow 17.837, 20. Jason Bond 17.863, 21. Hayden Norman 18.153, 22. Simon McNab 18.416, 23. Lionel Kirkby 18.468, 24. Wade Carter 18.799, 25. Jai Mazzini 20.454.
Heat One – 10 laps: 1. Steve Francis, 2. Jason Fitzgerald, 3. Warren Oldfield, 4. Jay Cardy, 5.Brad Blake, 6. Matt Goodlad, 7. Jai Mazzini, 8. Ryan Ludlow. DNS: Simon McNab. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 3.159. Fastest Lap: 16.205 Steve Francis.
Heat Two – 10 laps: 1. Kye Blight, 2. Craig Vosbergen, 3. Veronica McCann, 4. Brad Ludlow, 5. Chris Pavlovich, 6. Paul Joss, 7. Jason Bond, 8. Lionel Kirkby. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.100. Fastest Lap: 17.152 Kye Blight.
Heat Three – 10 laps: 1. Paul Stubber, 2. Devin Moran, 3. Jamie Oldfield, 4. Michael Holmes, 5. Marc Giancola, 6. Hayden Norman, 7. Wade Carter. DNF: Alec Melvin (0). Total Time: 2.52.118. Winning Margin: 0.801. Fastest Lap: 16.900 Paul Stubber.
Heat Four – 10 laps: 1. Jay Cardy, 2. Craig Vosbergen, 3. Matt Goodlad, 4. Paul Joss, 5. Jason Bond. DNF: Brad Ludlow (6). DNS: Jason Fitzgerald, Simon McNab. Total Time: 2.58.315. Winning Margin: 1.349. Fastest Lap: 16.940.
Heat Five – 10 laps: 1. Devin Moran, 2. Marc Giancola, 3. Paul Stubber, 4. Kye Blight, 5.Veronica McCann, 6. Hayden Norman, 7. Chris Pavlovich, 8. Lionel Kirkby. Total Time: 2.55.755. Winning Margin: 0.063. Fastest Lap: 17.135 Devin Moran.
Heat Six – 10 laps: 1. Steve Francis, 2. Jamie Oldfield, 3. Warren Oldfield, 4. Michael Holmes, 5. Brad Blake, 6. Ryan Ludlow, 7. Jai Mazzini, 8. Wade Carter, 9. Alec Melvin (9). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 5.180. Fastest Lap: 16.554 Steve Francis.
Preliminary Feature – 20 laps: 1. Steve Francs, 2. Devin Moran, 3. Michael Holmes, 4. Kye Blight, 5. Craig Vosbergen, 6. Jamie Oldfield, 7. Paul Stubber, 8. Warren Oldfield, 9. Jay Cardy, 10. Marc Giancola, 11. Veronica McCann, 12. Hayden Norman (19), 13. Matt Goodlad (19), 14. Brad Blake (19), 15. Chris Pavlovich (19), 16. Ryan Ludlow (19), 17. Paul Joss (19), 18. Simon McNab (19), 19. Alec Melvin (18), 20. Lionel Kirkby (18), 21. Wade Carter (18). DNF: Jason Bond (9), Jai Mazzini (2). DNS: Jason Fitzgerald, Brad Ludlow. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.829. Fastest Lap: 17.267 Steve Francis.
Official Late Model Nationals Points After Night One
1. Steve Francis 140
2. Craig Vosbergen 129
3. Devin Moran 128
4. Paul Stubber 127
5. Kye Blight 126
6. Michael Holmes 119
7. Jamie Oldfield 116
8. Jay Cardy 116
9. Warren Oldfield 111
10. Veronica McCann 106
11. Marc Giancola 105
12. Brad Blake 103
13. Matt Goodlad 97
14. Paul Joss 93
15. Brad Ludlow 90
16. Chris Pavlovich 88
17. Hayden Norman 87
18. Ryan Ludlow 81
19. Jason Fitzgerald 79
20. Jason Bond 78
21. Alec Melvin 73
22. Lionel Kirkby 69
23. Wade Oliver 69
24. Jai Mazzini 68
25. Simon McNab 42