Rookies swell sprintcar ranks to record levels for Premier Speedway SRA round 

A BOOM in sprintcar racing is driving a record number of competitors for Saturday night’s Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria (SRA) series round at Allansford’s Premier Speedway.

The fourth round of the series has attracted 59 entries — the most for such an event at Premier Speedway. 

It comes after similar numbers in opening races of the season, which are a big increase on previous years.

Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said the club’s official season opening on Saturday night was expected to be a bumper,with a mix of established stars and emerging young drivers.

The significant jump in drivers contesting the SRA round vindicated Premier Speedway’s decision three years ago to hold two rounds and the series grand final.

Mills said the decision was paying dividends for the club and the sport and all it needed now was crowd support.

“Twelve months ago I was wondering whether we could get 30 to the same meeting,” Mills said.

“It all points to a very healthy car count coming for our blue-ribbon events.”

Mills said the sport had more participants in the south-west and across Victoria than in the past.

“The opening SRA night there were 12 to 15 rookies,” he said.

“I think it is not out of the reach (financially) as it once was.” Mills said formula 500s, the traditional breeding ground for sprintcar drivers, was no longer as cheap as it was. Drivers were spending considerable amounts to be competitive in that class, taking them within reach of stepping up. 

A more compact national sprintcar series calendar this season meant high-profile drivers like former national champion James McFadden, 2011 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic winner Steven Lines and Australian title runner-up, Tasmanian Shaun Dobson, are contesting Saturday night’s round.

Mills said with no World Series Sprintcar rounds until Boxing Day, the club’s next SRA show on December 22, a unique concept where two feature races are held on the one night, looked like being even bigger.

The club will observe a minute’s silence on Saturday night in honour of sprintcar legend Bill Wigzell, the winner of the second Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in 1974, who died last week, and club life member Harold Howden.

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