One of the newest 410 Sprintcar teams on the Australian speedway scene is DTM Motorsport. Totally Speedway’s Daniel Powell has put together this article to document the rise of the Sydney-based team that now has two of the country’s leading 410 Sprintcar racers – Robbie Farr and Ian Madsen – in their corner.
Who are DTM Motorsport?
Team owners Darren Wheeler and Tracey Dahiltz formed DTM Motorsport, which stands for Darren and Tracey Motorsport. This couple are big players in the event hire industry, and they run a successful business in this field called Patti’s Hire that is based in the south-west Sydney suburb of Punchbowl.
Both Wheeler and Dahiltz started out as speedway fans and would regularly attend Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway. In 2017, they ambitiously took the plunge and went out and purchased a complete 410 Sprintcar team, and that was the beginning of DTM Motorsport.
In what was one of those sliding door moments, when the DTM Motorsport team was born in 2017, youngster Max Johnston was without a regular 410 Sprintcar drive. After stepping out of the family team the season prior, Johnston during the 2017-18 season ran a handful of race meetings at Valvoline Raceway aboard good friend Jimmy Matchett’s NSW # 88 car. Johnston met and then linked up with the DTM Motorsport team and the new duo were set to hit the track.
Hitting the Track
For the final two race meetings of the 2017-18 season at Valvoline Raceway, the DTM Motorsport and their driver Johnston hit the track.
While their debut was an impressive one with them qualifying directly into the feature race and going on to finish inside the top 10 in eighth, the next race meeting, which was the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship Grand Final, saw Johnston fail to qualify into the feature race following a DNF in the B main.
Season of Promise
For the first full season of the DTM Motorsport and Johnston duo, there were plenty of highlights, which included a feature-race victory in a Ultimate Sprintcar Championship SA round at Murray Bridge Speedway and qualifying into the Grand Annual Classic deciding feature race at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway. The Grand Annual Classic weekend saw the DTM Motorsport team pick up the Best Presented Car and Crew award.
Photo: Corey Gibson Photography
Following their pleasing Grand Annual Classic performance, a shock came by the DTM Motorsport team when they announced that they had parted ways with Johnston, effective immediately. There was no clear reason behind the DTM Motorsport-Johnston spilt, which at the time sent the rumour mill into overdrive.
Cooley Steps In
When Johnston left the team, DTM Motorsport made an announcement that they were on the hunt for a replacement driver to complete the rest of the 2018-19 season. As one would expect, the DTM Motorsport team were inundated with applications, but the decision was made to have Victorian youngster Brayden Cooley fill the vacant driver’s seat. Running a total of five meetings, which included two at Valvoline Raceway in NSW, two at Murray Bridge Speedway in South Australia and one at Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Queensland, Cooley struggled and consequently was unable to make it out of the B main on most nights.
DTM Sign Madsen
For the 2019-20 season, DTM Motorsport revealed that professional 410 Sprintcar racer Ian Madsen will be their driver for all the major east coast race meetings over the Christmas-New Year period.
In the lead up to Madsen’s arrival in late December, the team’s crew chief Jake Baines, who was an accomplished Speedway Kart racer and has some experience racing a 360 Sprintcar in America and a few cameo appearances in V8 Dirt Modifieds here in Australia, stepped into the driver’s seat. Baines ran a total of eight 410 Sprintcar race meetings at Valvoline Raceway, which was the track his grandfather Sid Hopping built back in 1977. The standout result for Baines during those eight race meetings was an impressive fifth-place feature-race finish in the Night of Thunder event after he had started from the back of the field.
Madsen made his DTM Motorsport team debut on Boxing night at Valvoline Raceway and it was the commencement of a busy Christmas-New Year period. Despite showing plenty of speed throughout their eight race meetings together, the DTM Motorsport and Madsen duo were disappointingly unable to come away with a solid result. However, despite the lack of desired results, the DTM Motorsport team and Madsen were positive about going around again next season - pending border restrictions in both Australia and America.
Photo: Tony Loxley
Another Big Name to DTM
Back in May, it was announced that Robbie Farr had been let go from the East Coast Pipeline Racing team after 12 seasons of service, and a few weeks later the news filtered through Farr had joined the Jason Pryde Motorsport team for the World Series Sprintcar Championship and other major events.
Recently, the DTM Motorsport team confirmed that Farr would be joining them for a dozen race meetings around Farr’s Jason Pryde Motorsport team schedule. The initial plans are for Farr to run the opening six race meetings of the season at Valvoline Raceway and the final six race meetings of the season at Valvoline Raceway.
It’s going to be an emotional season for Farr with the closing of his home track – Valvoline Raceway – after this season. In a case of the band getting back together, veteran crew chief Carl Trofa has joined the DTM Motorsport team with Farr. The pair worked together in the late 1990s with the Ron O’Brien-owned O’Brien Aluminium Racing team and in the early 2000s with the Peter Johnson-owned EWT Auto Wreckers Racing team.
With the world currently at the mercy of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s difficult to look too far ahead. However, with Farr locked in with the DTM Motorsport team for a dozen race meetings next season and the likelihood of Ian Madsen running the Christmas-New Year period with the team again, the future with two of the country’s best 410 Sprintcar racers representing the team looks to be a bright one.
Photo: Anthony Snedden