ONE of the world’s best drivers, American Daryn Pittman is planning a hit-and-run mission on next month’s Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Allansford’s Premier Speedway.
Pittman, who won the World of Outlaws series this year in the United States — the unofficial world championship — will fly into Australia for three events in less than a week and then jet back home.
A maiden Classic triumph is the focus of Pittman’s tour Down Under but he will also contest the lead-up races at Avalon and Mount Gambier before joining an expected field of about 100 cars.
Pittman has been a popular visitor to Premier Speedway in the past 11 seasons and enters the Classic as the only driver to have won both the World of Outlaws and Australian equivalent, World Series Sprintcars.
Pittman will drive for Queensland-based team Aprile Racing with his long-time friend and crew chief Brent “Glenno” Inglis turning the spanners.
Inglis told The Standard Pittman, who lives in Pittsboro, Indiana, was desperate to add the Classic to his long list of achievements.
“He came very close in 2005 to winning. He won the Kings Challenge at Mount Gambier and then the Saturday night feature at the Classic and with nine laps to go he was leading and burnt the tyre,” Inglis said.
“It’s always been on the bucket list for him and me to win it.
Inglis was Pittman’s crew chief in Australia between 2002 and 2008 as well as in the United States.
But Pittman missed the Classic between 2009 and 2011 while contesting the five-night Chili Bowl Nationals in his native Oklahoma.
He will tackle the Chili Bowl next month, which finishes on January 18, before boarding a flight to Australia.
Inglis said Pittman, who had a Classic to forget earlier this year, had shipped one of his Kasey Kahne Racing cars to Australia in a bid to be on the pace.
Pittman will be joined at the Classic by American teammate Brad Sweet. They are among 11 Americans who have nominated for the first three-night Classic.
Premier Speedway general manager David Mills said Pittman added a new dimension to the star-studded field.
He confirmed Pittman would be part of a two-driver Aprile Racing team with talented youngster Brent Aprile also competing.
Mills said entries were building towards this year’s record of 98 with 70 drivers already nominated.