Thursday, January 15, 2015
NZ Stockcar Title, Qualifying Night
NZ Stockcar Title
Top of the South Speedway, Nelson
January 9 + 10, 2015
The 15th official running of the NZ Stockcar title and the first time for Nelson Speedway, 120+ cars entered and a scorcher of a weekend followed both on and off the track. Six groups of cars, 3 heats to find the top four cars, then two repechages on Saturday night for a further six cars to make up a 30 car finals field. Rather than a blow by blow account of each group, here are a few highlights from one of the best qualifying nights I've been to in years. We started out as per normal, in heat one it took only two laps before 11p Peter Rees had hit the lead and went on to win the race. From there, the script was thrown out the window and what followed was plenty of action, rollovers galore and lots of that North v South rivalry that we all love so much.
11p Rees luck would hold until his third heat when he sustained damage and basically had to crawl around in last place for points to qualify, he was a sitting duck for most of the race yet no one was able to push him off that pole line which was the only safe option - the moment you got pushed wide and had any sort of damage you were dealt to by the Southerners, a fate that would befall 81r Damian Orr and 1nz Jayden Ward. Ward had looked the goods in his first race defending the title with a win although 15c Julian Lynch not shy to have a crack. The 1nz suffered a flat right front tyre in heat 2 before being tipped over on the last lap by 191c Dylan Robb. A third heat 9th (last place) would leave him well down the order for the repechage. 2nz Chev Taniwha had a dream run in comparison, never out of the top three finishers while 3nz Dale Robertson just managed to sneak through in his group thanks to a third heat victory.
18n Shane Harwood was the first Mainlander to win a heat in race 4, backing it up with a 2nd and 7th place after a first lap spin, in a leased car I believe, having sold his recently. 99c Hamish Cross was also one to watch in a beautifully presented car clocking a fastest lap and staying out of trouble only beaten in points by surprise group winner 78v Mark Johnston, one of a number of Wanganui cars to reach the final. 98w Blake Ellett with two wins and a second place, one of the best performers on the night joining a quality group of Wellington finalists. 9n Levi Collier in one of the oldest cars present, a Bill Peat tank, also was a surprise finalist to the delight of the crowd, winning heat 2 for a good haul of points. 722p David Lowe, 17 years old and another star in the making fresh off the Palmy conveyor belt of mini stock graduates, two appearances at NZ titles and has qualified for both finals.
Then of course there are the hard luck stories that go with any big championship, 126p Asher Rees and 127p Ethan Rees both failing in only one heat, a dns for Asher in heat 2, while Ethan looked to have a finals berth booked before a brake jammed on leaving him stuck on the infield in heat 3. 8n Michael Paynter losing a runoff with Peter Rees that looked as though he had stuck the 5x Champ up the wall only to stall as Rees rocked the tank back onto the track and took off for the win. 91w Kyle Lane cruised to an easy heat 1 win before everything went pear shaped in heat 2. 21n Cody Teece would qualify only to be stood down for failing a medical after a rough 3rd heat, his bad luck promoting 59c Brad Rosewarne up into the finals. With only 6 spots left to be found, a familiar breakdown of track registered qualifiers was beginning to emerge and the warning bells were sounding yet again...
24 Qualifiers so far: Palmy 8, Nelson 4, Wellington 4, Wanganui 3, Christchurch 2, Stratford 1, Blenheim 1, Rotorua 1.
217n Keightley Teece, 15p Rob Miers, 722p David Lowe, 11p Peter Rees
15v Kyle Heibner, 2nzp Chev Taniwha, 8r Scott Fredrickson, 84e Mark Taylor
33s Tyler Walker, 98n Dylan Hall, 6w Paul Gaskin, 59c Brad Rosewarne
98w Blake Ellett, 557p Darrell Wallace, 22w Richard Gaskin, 6v Dion Mooney
94p William Humphreys, 18n Shane Harwood, 10p Josh Prentice, 581p Jordan Dare
78v Mark Johnson, 99c Hamish Cross, 9n Levi Collier, 3nz Dale Robertson