Packer’s bicontinental campaign
In addition to completing his speedway racing duties here in Australia, Frank Packer has well and truly expanded his horizons as a driver over the past four years, having competed in the IMCA Modified class throughout America.
Initially travelling to America on eight separate occasions as a spectator to attend race meetings across a range of classes, it wasn’t until 2015 that Packer decided to join the racing scene himself, purchasing an IMCA Modified from Harris Chassis after being drawn to the affordability and competitiveness of the popular class.
Basing himself in the IMCA hotbed state of Iowa during his debut American trip which consisted of a three-month stay, Packer partnering with fellow IMCA racer Jon Snyder to share the transportation expenses, contesting approximately 15 race meetings before the pair parted ways.
Returning to Iowa in 2016 and linking up with Harris Auto Racing, owned by Kyle and Maggie Brown, who supplied him with a truck and a transporter, Packer’s schedule increased to 25 race meetings throughout Iowa and into Wisconsin, including the Boone Super Nationals at Harris Auto Racing’s home track Boone Speedway, further increasing to 30 race meetings in the 2017 season, which was highlighted by Packer achieving his first A main victory at Marshalltown Speedway, along with placing amongst the top six on 10 different occasions.
Upgrading to a 2016 Harris Chassis prior to the season just gone, the 58-year-old driver found it somewhat challenging to adjust to a new car in the early stages of his campaign, managing to improve his consistency and pace with each of his 25 contested race meetings, with his best result being a runner-up result in a recent A main at Stuart International Speedway.
“After travelling to America as a spectator for so many years, I wanted to be able to experience racing for myself and it’s become an experience that I look very forward to each year,” explained Packer, who typically races abroad between the months of June and August.
“In addition to the racing, it’s a great holiday for myself and my wife Diane who travels with me each year, and we’ve developed a number of good friendships throughout our travels. I plan to continue travelling to America to race as long as I’m able to do so.”
Originally from Campbelltown in south-west of Sydney in NSW, Packer initially began his racing career in 1979, contesting Six Cylinder Sedans at Parramatta City Raceway (now known as Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway) until 1983 when he made the move to Standard Saloons, competing in the class, which later became known as Modified Productions, for two seasons.
Moving north to Hervey Bay in the Fraser coast region of Queensland in 1986, Packer completed one more season in Modified Productions before stepping away from driver duties to focus on his plumbing business, later making a return to the track in 1992 in the Street Sedans class, where he spent six seasons which were highlighted by multiple Queensland Title runner-up results.
Once again changing classes in 1998, Packer enjoyed a competitive stint in Super Street Sedans, which also resulted in numerous second-place Queensland Title finishes, before eventually stepping into the national Production Sedan class in 2012, going on to break the state title drought in 2013 when he returned to his native NSW to compete in the NSW Title at Gilgandra Speedway, coming away with a pleasing victory.
Other highlights for Packer include winning the Talbot’s 1,000 at Wahgunyah Speedway in Victoria, also in 2013, and placing fifth in the 2013 National Title at Collie Speedway in Western Australia.
Having already commenced his 2018-19 season in Australia in positive fashion, winning last Saturday night’s Production Sedan feature race Bundaberg’s Carina Speedway, Packer will continue competing throughout Queensland in both Production Sedans and National 4s, with the view to dual register his Production Sedan as a Modified Sedan.
Packer would like to thank his 2018-19 season sponsors: Advance Tyres – Maryborough, and Shallcross Mechanical – Bundaberg. Special thanks go to his wife Diane, Kyle and Maggie Brown (Harris Auto Racing), and Dave and Shannie Schank (Central Iowa Truck Repair).
To find out more about Packer and his Australian and American racing campaigns, LIKE his team page on Facebook by searching Packer Racing.