GRAND Annual Sprintcar Classic officials have secured the first of what they hope will be a strong contingent of American drivers.
Ohio native Caleb Griffith and Californian Kyle Hirst have joined Tim Kaeding as the early nominations out of the United States.
Griffith, 24, will race the time-honoured event for the second time, driving for Melbourne brothers Mark and Jason Smith.
He broke a leg while competing at Attica, Ohio, but has bounced back and is ready for an assault on the 41st Classic.
Hirst, 25, will contest the race for the first time after enjoying a breakout season in America.
He won at least nine times racing a variety of sprintcar classes and placed seventh at the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Chico, part of the tough World of Outlaws series.
Hirst will race a host of lead-up events in the car for owner Josh Ruhs before driving for Michael Cunningham in the Classic.
Californian Kaeding, 34, will also test his mettle in the Classic, driving for Krikke Motorsport.
He is already in Australia and will contest round six of the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria series at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway on Saturday.
The round is part of Premier Speedway’s twin feature night, which also includes the Jack Willsher Cup for Formula 500s.
Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said he had received 53 sprintcar nominations.
South-west Victorians Darren Mollenoyux, John Vogels, Will Carroll and Jack Lee are among the starters.
A host of World Series drivers will also use the round as their final hit-out before the WSS gets under way in Adelaide on Boxing Day. About 35 Formula 500 drivers will attempt to win the Jack Willsher Cup.