Saturday, December 26, 2003 - CDR offer their apologies
The Craft Disbury Racing team this evening offer their apologies to their sponsors and the fans who were present to see the event that wasn't a race but a battle of survival tonight at Speedway City for the sixth round of the World Series Sprintcar Championship.
In the 35-lap A-Main event there was a total of 4 cars that crossed the line with all air in all four tyres from the original 18 cars that started the event, the first car in the field had a right rear tyre explode within the opening 10-laps.
By the end of the night the racing surface resembled something more like you would see at the nearby Adelaide International Raceway punishing tyres all night long. Only in the second round of heat races that there was any real racing. The first round of heats had competitors wear through in excess of $20,000 worth of tyres in a matter of 10-laps.
Despite the surface being as unfriendly to tyres as what sandpaper is to your skin the American sensation was still a sensation putting on a show for the fans in his time at the front of the pack while Brad Heywood was also fighting hard in his Aussiefast Transport/STP Eagle.
After qualifying second fastest on a track that was already as dry as the Sahara desert Johnson moved forward in both heat races to be 2nd highest pointscorer leading into the dashes. Heywood was also one of the pace setters being 12th in points.
Johnson went on to win his 6-lap "B" Dash by over a quarter of a lap to start on the outside front row for the main event with Heywood a couple of rows further back.
Following the B-Main there was some discussions between race officials and the eventual winner along with some other competitors who were voicing their concern over the abrasive surface and the inability to complete the required amount of laps. Despite this there was no track preparation or shortening of laps prior to the A-Main.
Settling into 2nd spot at the start of the Main event the 27-year-old Johnson looked menacing as he hounded the rear bumper of the lead car but also mindful of the abrasive surface. Heywood continued to battle just inside the top 10.
On lap 8 Johnson made several attempts for the race lead almost capturing it on two occasions.
Just on half race distance Heywood spun exiting turn two and he then stopped on the bak straight sensing some problems. These problems turned out to be a broken shock absorber and he also suffered a couple of blocked fuel injector nozzles.
Several laps after the restart the former World Series Champion had his right rear go down forcing him out of the event. While all of this was happening Johnson was looking for ways into the lead but had dropped back to third in line.
It was evident that Johnson was also in tyre trouble and with 4 laps remaining the inevitable happened, his right rear let go, just like the 12 other competitors who suffered the same fate throughout the event.
The event was won by Brooke Tatnell followed by Max Dumesny and Mike Van Bremen all on tyres that more resembled a slick racing tyre.
Tomorrow night the Craft Disbury Racing outfit will be in action at the Murray Bridge Speedway for the next round of the World Series Sprintcar Championship.
WHAT THE DRIVER'S SAID
"We knew before we went out for the main event that it was going to be extremely lucky if we got to the finish without popping a tyre considering the tyre rule and the lack of supply in harder compound tyres.
I tried to get out of the rubber a few times and save the tyres which gave me another 5 laps or so but we fell four laps short.
All I can say at least there is tomorrow night but tonight did us no good in the race for the Championship."
"Hmmm yes well, what can you say?
The car wasn't too bad in the heats and I was happy to make the direct transfer into the A but from there you'd have to say it wasn't a fun finish. I got up high a couple of times and lost a spot or two.
When I spun it me put me to the back and it wasn't long after that my tyre let go. I know everyone was on the same track but to have 4 cars able to race to the finish questions must be asked for the sake of the sport."