RESPECTED sprintcar identity Wade Aunger expects two Warrnambool-based drivers and an American superstar to battle for South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic honours.
Aunger, who will call the three-night event alongside Gavin White at Premier Speedway, predicted Warrnambool duo Jamie Veal and James McFadden to go close to success while acknowledging World of Outlaws talent Carson Macedo as a threat.
"You cannot go past those three in any conversation," Aunger, who has called races all over the world, said.
"There's those three in particular and while Vealy hasn't done as much racing as Macedo and James in the past year or so, those three are always the standouts around that place.
"James is in the top six in the world, he's just (red-hot)."
There's those three in particular and while Vealy hasn't done as much racing as Macedo and James in the past year or so, those three are always the standouts around that place.- Wade Aunger
Aunger said understanding "how to win the classic" was important for any driver leading into the $30,000-to-the-winner race.
"While there's a bit of luck in that, there's just a bit of keeping a cool head while they do the reverse grid stuff and the track conditions are changing and all the time, you've got to dodge traffic," he said.
"It's almost like you have to learn how to win it before you can win it. That's ironic, because you've got to win it the first time, but what I feel as an announcer from the outside is that it takes the pressure off being able to do it.
"It's like 'I can win that race. I'm not daunted by it anymore'. I still have respect for it but I'm not daunted.
"It's a bit like winning an AFL grand final. Until you've done it, you'll be forever daunted by the proposition of it."
Aunger said McFadden's experience as a two-time classic champion and his on-track form meant he was a top chance.
"He's in phenomenal form, in Australia and America," he said.
"Macedo is top four on the World of Outlaws with a top-four team. Both Monte, James' team, and Dyson Motorsport, Carson's team, have teams and equipment which could really compete in the United States at an elite level, without a doubt.
"The experience of the crew chiefs, everything, it's just delicious."
Aunger said less Americans - Macedo and Ian Madsen were the only US-based drivers to nominate - could open the field up.
"We've been spoiled in the past few years in that we've had such a strong contingent of Americans, up to 20 at times, but the reality is the event is bigger than any team," he said.
"When you talk about the classic, as Gavin White says, you very rarely actually mention who is racing. The Knoxville Nationals is the exact same. It's about the event, the race is a bonus.
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"For me, it's the Brekky on Friday morning, it's night one, it's fan appreciation on Saturday morning, then it's night two and then it's night three.
"In between all that is all the wackiness on the hill, the goosebumps you get when you come back from town and you see the line of the cars and carpark. The racing is a bonus but the event is what it's all about."
Aunger said he was relishing the chance to link up with White to call the historic race. COVID-19 restrictions and border closures meant the race didn't run in 2021. Premier Speedway instead created a replacement event - dubbed the Fifty for 50 - which ran over two nights.
Aunger said he was also looking forward to debuting Methanol Moonshine - a motorsport-inspired alcohol range - as part of the classic festivities.
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