|Pic – Peter Roebuck|
Are you feeling down now that World of Outlaws has wrapped up for 2015? Sad that you will no longer be inhaling the sweet smell of methanol at your local dirt track each weekend? Well fear not, my fellow dirt track addicts! Sprintcar racing is heating up down under for season 2015-2016, and here’s some of what’s in store over the next few months from Australia to get you through the cold American winter…..
World Series Sprintcars: Australia’s premier Sprintcar series, contested over 11 weeks every summer, it makes its way from the east coast to the west coast, stopping in at all the major speedways along the way. Past winners include Max Dumesny, Steven Lines, Brooke Tatnell, James McFadden and the only American to ever take the crown, Daryn Pittman. Things have had a bit of a shake up this year with Hoosier being brought back as the control tyre of the series after the last few years when American Racer had to be run. We also see the series make a return to Valvoline Raceway in Sydney after quite a few years away. Contracted to the series this year are Daniel Harding, Jason Pryde, Luke Dillon, Ryan Jones, Australian Champ Dave Murcott, Steven Lines, James McFadden, current World Series champion Brooke Tatnell and flying the flag again for USA, Kyle Hirst. Make sure you check out Race Night Live on the World Series Sprintcars website for live audio, live timing and results as the happen.
You can follow World Series Sprintcars at @WSS_Sprintcars or visit their webpage here.
Ultimate Sprintcar Championship: This newly formed series runs between Valvoline Raceway in Sydney, Hi Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba and Premier Speedway Warrnambool. The series has a NASCAR-esque feel to it with a chase format being a driver’s key to qualify. A driver must finish on the podium in order to qualify for the chase, and “The Chase” races will determine the ultimate winner. The series itself is being broadcast on “Clay-per-view” for those who want to live stream the action, as well as 26 30-minute episodes being broadcast on free to air television, focusing in on action in the pits, stories on drivers and teams as well as the races themselves. The series covers some major blue ribbon events, and some heavy hitters have already earned their place in the chase after only a handful of rounds at each of the tracks. So, if you’re inclined to stay up until 2am to get your Sprintcar fix (yeah, I see you guys tweeting, and you’re awesome!), these races are going to be your best bet!
Follow them at @ultimatesprint or visit their page here.
For the Live stream video of all USC races, check out Clay-Per-View here.
Lucas Oils Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic: The biggest race on the Aussie racing calendar and sister race to the Knoxville Nationals, the atmosphere is unlike any other race in the country. A field of over 100 cars nominate for the prestigious 3-day event held around Australia Day at Premier Speedway, Warrnambool. Last year it was taken out by American Kyle Hirst at a race that started at 2am after rain delayed the dual C and B mains. Last Classic was streamed for the very first time on PPV and I would think that The Cushion will be back once again for your viewing pleasure if you can’t make the trip over (Although I highly recommend you come visit… also, please bring cherry Twizzlers).
The 54th Australian Sprintcar Championship:Premier Speedway is the place to be this January when the Aussie title goes green on the weekend after the Classic. Only open to Aussie born racers, carrying the A1 on your tail tank is the ultimate badge of honour. Back-to-back winner Dave Murcott will be vying for the hat trick, but don’t discount young guns such as Jamie Veal, Steven Lines and two time former champion James McFadden, who put on an absolute clinic last time coming through the B main to finish fourth after junking his car the night before.
Follow Premier Speedway at @SungoldStadium and for all the info you need about the Classic and Title, visit their page here.
Keep your eye out for:
Steven Lines: Fresh off his 2015 Australian Sprintcar Masters win, Linesy is gearing up for another World Series tour on board the Halls Motorsport W3. The two-time Classic winner is amongst Australia’s Sprintcar elite, and it’s surprising he hasn’t earned himself a ride in the US of A yet.
Jamie Veal: Warrnambool’s own young gun, Vealy is a regular visitor to the US and recently took the wheel of Jason Johnson’s World of Outlaw ride after Jason’s accident before stepping in to his own car to complete the rest of his American tour. Jamie also holds the lap record at the high banks of Sungold Stadium Premier Speedway with a 9.963 second lap set earlier this year. Don’t be surprised if you hear his name in the news!
James McFadden: The kid is just talent. He has proven he can wheel a Sprintcar with the best of them, carries two Australian titles, two World Series Sprintcar championships, two speedweek wins, won The Cotton Classic and has won several ASoC races, plus he has a few WoO podiums under his belt to boot. All of this and he is only 26. The future holds big things for J-Mac if he can pull himself out of the recent run of bad luck he has been experiencing.
Kyle Hirst: Your very own export, reppin’ the land of the free, Hirst won the 2015 Classic and is set to return to the Monte Motorsports number 17 for the 15-16 World Series tour. Can Kyle become the second American to take the championship away from the Aussies since Daryn Pittman won it in 2003?
Dave Murcott: Back to back winner of the Australian Sprintcar Championship, Murcott was also a regular at the front of all the World Seires rounds and the Classic before a fuel issue put him out of contention in the feature race. His partnership with Horrell Motorsports is proving to be a strong one yet again, and also has well known crew chief Glenno Inglis in his corner.
So who will I put my money on? At this point in time, I have no clue. The calibre of drivers on speedways across the country over the coming weeks is second to none. I know whom I would like to see on the podium, but it’s the best man, or woman, on the day that takes the checker. All I know is that there is nothing better than the roar of a 410 being held wide open and as it dances across the clay, and thanks to the internet and people passionate about racing, you don’t have to miss a single bit of it no matter where in the world you are.