MOUNT Gambier champion Steven Lines has sprintcar fans in awe of his near-flawless start to the season.
But announcing himself as arguably the young driver to watch has been Hobart hard charger Shaun Dobson.
Dobson, 21, is fourth on the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria (SRA) series standings heading into round five at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway.
His season has included a fourth at Moama in round one and a second at Avalon in round four.
The results have come driving the V36 car for Warrnambool owner Harry Droste and Dobson couldn’t be happier with the progress.
“It’s been really good. We’ve had a bit of bad luck with motor troubles but we’ve had some good car speed, which has been positive,” he said.
“It showed last weekend. When we have car speed, we can get on the podium and have a good result.
“Everyone is having a bit of fun in the team, everyone is enjoying themselves, we all get along.
“I’ve got a new crew chief this year (Freddy Walsh) and it’s our first full year together. We’re still learning each other.”
Dobson and Droste first teamed up on New Year’s Eve last year. Dobson was after a drive in the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic and Droste had a car.
They reunited this season and are chasing success in the SRA Victoria series, the Classic and the Australian title at Latrobe, Tasmania.
The schedule has meant Dobson, a stonemason, has been on a plane to Melbourne on Saturday mornings and back to Hobart on Sunday nights.
But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Work and family commitments meant a campaign in the family-owned T77 car was not practical.
“This season I’ve done four shows for Dad. We went up to Mackay in September and back down to Sydney,” Dobson said.
“We’ll go back up to Sydney in January. It’s a limited budget, whereas Harry has given me the chance to chase a series.”
Dobson burst on to the scene by winning the 2010 Easter Trail, becoming the first Tasmanian to do so.
He was briefly with Titan Garages for the 2011-12 World Series Sprintcars, but walked away after a disappointing start.
Less than a month later he was celebrating a career highlight — second in the 2012 Australian title, behind Brooke Tatnell.
“I was only 19 then. It’s grown from there,” he said.
Dobson is among 72 nominations for round five of the series at Premier Speedway on Saturday night, a record field for the series.
The meeting also features the Jack Willsher Cup for formula 500s, which has attracted 49 nominations.