GRANT Stansfield says watching fellow south-west drivers excel on the Australian sprintcar circuit provides him with inspiration.
The Warrnambool-based competitor - now in his fifth sprintcar season after crossing from formula 500s - will compete against past winners James McFadden, Jamie Veal and Corey McCullagh at the South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
Stansfield, 33, said those three Warrnambool-based drivers, among others, added a home-town flavour to the sport.
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"Because I have grown up here my whole life, it's good to see a lot more local guys up the front," he said ahead of the 49th classic which starts on Friday night.
"Back in the day there wasn't as many really quick locals but now it feels like there's cars around Warrnambool that can contend for a win at a bigger races.
"It is good to see - it gives the rest of us a bit of hope."
Stansfield, a mechanic by trade, said the competition "was a lot more even and competitive these days" but some teams worked on smaller budgets.
"Most of us have the same sort of equipment," he said.
"They (the bigger teams) can afford to tear it up a bit more and get it back out there more but when the flag drops, we've effectively all got the same equipment, so a lot of it does come down to the actual driving these days whereas years ago there would be five guys with more money than the rest of them."
Stansfield has opted against racing at Avalon on Wednesday and Mount Gambier on Thursday, preferring to focus all of his attention on the classic.
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The 80-plus car field is split in half for the opening two nights - Friday and Saturday - with the entire field back for Sunday night's finale.
Stansfield, who was drawn to race on night two, has tackled lead-up races in the past but had mechanical issues one year which ruled him out the the classic.
But he feels confident he can build on momentum from a second-place finish at Horsham last weekend when he arrives at Premier Speedway on Saturday night.
"You get one good result and it keeps you going for the next 30 or 40 races," he said his podium in the Wimmera.
"We went to Horsham last week and that was probably one of the better runs we've had for a long time.
"I tend to go a little bit better on the country tracks because I have raced other classes, I have probably had a lot more laps around there than the other guys, on tracks like Horsham, Hamilton and Simpson."
Stansfield, who co-owns his car with Bushfield's Paul and Kylie Robilliard, has high hopes for the classic.
"I am still really enjoying it and have a lot more I want to achieve in it and will keep doing it for as long as I can," he said.
"It would be nice to make the A-Main on the Sunday night but I have spoken to a heap of guys who have been racing for years and years and they've still never made the show, let alone won it.
"That is my goal, just to make a classic (feature) field one day."
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