Formula 500 Speedweek revs up Simpson

A PACKED night of racing at Simpson Speedway will give two south-west Victorian drivers the chance to reflect on their past.

Purnim’s Chris Bellman and Scotts Creek’s Matt Symons cut their teeth in junior sedans before making successful transitions to formula 500s this season.

The two classes are among four which will be on show as part of a busy schedule of racing at the rural track tonight.

Formula 500s will contest the sixth of seven Speedweek rounds — the fifth was last night at Darlington — while junior sedans have round five of their V8 superlap series. 

The night also features round four of the 360 sprintcars’ All-Stars series and micro sprints as a support class.

Simpson Speedway president Alan Symons said the two rookies — Matt is his son — had turned heads in formula 500s, which he attributed to  extensive junior sedan careers.

Symons was eighth on the Speedweek standings after four rounds with 492 points behind runaway leader Nathan Pronger on 654.

Bellman was second with 583, surprising himself with podium finishes in rounds one and three and a fifth in round two. “If they can drive a junior fast, whatever class they go into they seem to go well,” he said.

“He (Matt) has had three-and-a-half years racing juniors and everyone tells me if you can race one of those things fast you can race everything.”

The 360 sprintcars feature also promises excitement with American Danny Smith taking on Simpson’s John Vogels and Timboon’s Phil Lock, a former All-Stars series winner.

“We had Danny Smith come down (on Thursday) and do some practice laps to make sure the car is right,” Alan Symons said.

“I said ‘what do you think of the shape of the track, it’s a bit like an egg’ and he said ‘We’ve got tracks like this down at Pennsylvania’.

“There will be a lot of interest seeing how he goes and how John Vogels goes.”

n Allansford’s Premier Speedway will play host to three classes of racing tomorrow night.

The formula 500 Speedweek has its seventh and final round and wingless sprints will contest round five of the Parr Motorsports series.

Speedcars will race round five of their Southern Speedcar Tour.

Meanwhile, Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic officials have confirmed three-time Chili Bowl Nationals champion Kevin Swindell as the eighth American who will contest the race.

Swindell joins countrymen Terry McCarl, Caleb Griffith, Kyle Hirst, Jason Johnson, Tim Kaeding, Daryl Pittman and Bill Rose as certain starters.

Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said he was aware of another “eight or nine” who would be at the Allansford track over the Australia Day long weekend.

He said the field for the 41st Classic was likely to be a record.

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