USA TQ CHALLENGE
A slightly disappointing crowd came through the gate for a rare appearance from overseas TQ drivers.
The Howard trio from Lawrence, Kansas who drive in the Micro Sprint class provided the competition. Track
conditions ended up being ideal for the TQ feature. The track took a long time to develop resulting in
some mundane heat racing. However by the time the features rolled around a second line was available and though
racing narrow for the higher horsepower classes it enabled the TQ's to put on a show.
8a Lawrence Baker and 88a Scott Baker occupied the front row. 71a Danny Keene and 10a Shayne Minchington
were the second row. 16a Ryan Barry and 2nz Kaleb Currie were the third row. If anyone else was to be a factor
3nz Duane Todd from grid 16 or 15a Ryan Baker from grid 20 were the likely candidates. Our American friends
were on grid 11 (24usa Nicholas Howard), grid 22 (9usa Mathew Howard) and grid 23 (5usa Lindsey Howard). Mathew
was in the Josh Melrose car which had been kindly donated following an expensive looking engine malfunction
in the 14usa entry.
The first circumnavigation proved to be a challenge. Mid-pack 77a Richard Eva just about rolled as cars went
everywhere down the back straight. Worse was to happen exiting turn four as 71a Danny Keene went over on
his side in an incident that also ended the race for 2nz Kaleb Currie and 64a Gina Harris. At the second
time of trying we got some racing with 88a Scott Baker taking a familiar position at the front. The action
was down the field as 15a Ryan Baker and 9usa Mathew Howard quickly vaulting themselves into the mid-pack
Back up front the early mover was the 16a of Ryan Barry who had his car on rails around the high line. Barry
was up to second when the caution flags flew for 32a Saul Smith who was upside down exiting turn 2. Scott
Baker chose the inside for the double file restart which was probably what Barry wanted. Sure enough the 16a
flew around the outside and passed Scott Baker for the lead. That never happens at Western Springs! Scott
Baker would amend his line to follow Barry. Meanwhile 3nz Duane Todd had made a mini-run to the mid-pack
but would go no further.
24usa Nicholas Howard made up a few spots but jumped the cushion to fall just outside the top 10 in the
running order. Moving the other way was 15a Ryan Baker whose run through the field was something we
rarely see in the Western Springs TQ class. Not to be outdone 9usa Mathew Howard was also showing the locals
how it was done. Back to the front and Scott Baker got the high line worked out, launching a big move
through the entrance of Pine Tree Bend and sliding up in front of Barry to snatch back the lead.
With Ryan Baker all the way up to the third running spot the battle to watch late in the race was for fourth
as the veteran 8a Lawrence Baker tried to hold off 9usa Mathew Howard. On his first night ever in a TQ
Mathew was able to go around the outside of the 8a entry and move into fourth. Talk about being a
duck to water! A little further back 24usa Nicholas Howard was unable to make any progress, seemingly
finding every bump on the race track. Scott Baker taking the win from Barry, Ryan Baker, Mathew Howard and