A new team littered with the who's who of Australian sport is aiming to win the 50th South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic on Sunday night. Hodges Motorsport - a passion project for Warrnambool-raised Tim Hodges - is hoping James McFadden can drive into victory lane. The Standard will introduce the team to speedway fans in each edition this week. Second to answer the tough questions is esteemed IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin, who is a part owner.
Are you excited about what's capable for car number five this weekend?
I'm a world away but let me tell you I am so damn excited.
We have the best wheelman in the country in James and the car the team has put together is first-class.
I'm really proud of the guys. At the same time we are up against some seriously stiff competition - but to be the best you have to beat the best, and I feel we have as good a shot as anyone.
Will you have a serious case of FOMO across the weekend not being there?
Yes, unfortunately I will have plenty.
But I will be tuning in from my bus in the middle of the Daytona Speedway.
I'm always in contact with Timmy. And we have a very lively WhatsApp group we share with all of the boys, so I'm sure there will be a million updates going back and forward across the globe.
I'd love dearly to be in Warrnambool and I love the town - but this is a big opportunity for me to run my first sports car race here in the States and it's doesn't get much bigger for us than the Daytona 24 Hour this weekend.
Will you be able to watch any of the action with your schedule at Daytona?
The plan is to watch as much as I can.
I appreciate the Clay Per View guys hooking me up with access for the weekend, so I will have it running as much as possible.
The timings are slightly difficult - we are 16 hours behind at Daytona, it'll be midnight here when action starts at Premier.
So I'll definitely be catching the features over breakfast. And the good news for us is we are up through the night all week with our racing here so I'll be up at crazy hours which is kind of perfect.
How do you think J-Mac will go?
I think he will go fine. He's a two-time champ for a reason.
He is an extremely talented race driver - he's a weapon. I've said a few times that I have a man crush on his ability in a race car - I've always loved speedway and sprintcars and he's one of the best in the world.
I believe he could honestly race anything and do well.
And I love that I'm his boss for a weekend.
But to see him running our car - that's an absolute buzz.
Your thoughts on the team - being involved with James, plus in the ownership team of Jack (Riewoldt), Gerard (Whateley) and Tim?
I think it's an opportunity too tough to pass up. The team is first-class and supported by a bunch of people I call close friends.
Ultimately this is Tim's dream and to partner with a great friend and help him achieve that means a lot to me. Hodgey has been by my side for a bunch of years now - through some rough times and some brilliant times.
I remember after winning Bathurst we partied hard until we both fell over. So I'll always be there for him as he has for me.
It's great for the sport as well to see the other blokes involved in the team and to see them experience motorsport and speedway from the inside but to see Tim achieve his dream of having a car in the Classic means more to us than anything.
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