Blockbuster speedway week
By Brett Murray
Thursday 26th January, 2023 - 1:38pm
After two COVID-interrupted years, the biggest week in Australian speedway continues tonight stacked with American superstars, capacity fields and expected monster public holiday crowds.
The five-day sprintcar festival began yesterday evening at Avalon Raceway for the President’s Cup, before the Australia Day edition of the King’s Challenge at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway today.
It culminates with the three-day 50th anniversary running of the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway across the weekend.
After two difficult seasons with international travel limited, an impressive US guest list will be on hand, led by four-time World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet.
Fellow Americans include Sheldon Haudenshild, Carson Macedo, Tyler Courtney, Aaron Reutzel and Corey Eliason.
Australia’s sole Outlaws full-timer James McFadden headlines a local contingent that also includes talents like Jamie Veal, Jock Goodyer, Lockie McHugh, Brooke Tatnell and national champion Marcus Dumesny.
McFadden is spearheading a brand new team that has created headlines across summer, which features an ownership group including IndyCar star Scott McLaughlin, AFL veteran Jack Riewoldt and sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley.
The NAPA Auto Parts sponsored Hodges motorsport is the passion project of former Warrnambool resident and leading Melbourne sports producer Tim Hodges.
“The new team has brought plenty of exposure which has been fun to watch; I’ve never seen speedway get so much interest,” said James McFadden.
“It’s exciting for the team and really exciting for the sport; the likes of Scott, Jack and Gerard are bringing new eyeballs to our sport as we hit our biggest stage.
“This week for me is my favourite week of the year, bigger even than the Knoxville Nationals. With the 50th Classic trophy up for grabs I think it will be a week to remember.”
Monster crowds are expected across this week’s events, especially with the public holiday landing for the Mt Gambier event today.
The fields are also bursting – the Classic’s entry list alone stands at an incredible 119 cars, the largest sprintcar field in the world during the past year.