QUEENSLAND'S Rusty Whittaker, 22, believes he has mastered the testing, circular Lismore Showground Speedway and is quietly confident of success when he contests the 68th Australian Speedcar Grand Prix at the venue, Saturday night, March 23.
He has already produced an impressive result this season at the Lismore circuit when he was placed second to Nathan Smee in the state title.
“It gives us the confidence and we know that we can run good but given the cars that are going to be there, it will be a tough meeting,” Whittaker said.
The Showground bull ring is not an easy track to come to grips with and demands plenty of concentration, however Whittaker said a tip he received from multi Australian V8 Dirt Modified Champion Stuart Herne helped him learn how to drive the circuit. “When I was talking to Stuart a while back he told me to 'put a straight into the track, because there is none' and that gave me an awareness of what to do.”
Car owner Dwayne Neilson hopes to carry on the good form the team has shown this season at their home track, Brisbane's Archerfield Speedway.
“We are trying to secure the Polar Ice Midget Series at Archerfield Speedway for this season. If we can achieve this, it will be five times for Neilson Motorsport and twice for Rusty,” he said.
“After a couple of lean seasons, the combination of Neilson Motorsports and Rusty Whittaker has returned to its competitive best.”
The Neilson Motorsports team has spent much of the week in the workshop preparing their super-fast Esslinger-powered Boss factory brand chassis car. The car is a rocket ship on wheels and develops over 350HP which ensures there won't be a lack of performance or torque needed for the tight confines of the Lismore circuit.
The Whittaker family holds a unique place in Queensland Speedcar racing as both Rusty and his dad, Sid, are Queensland Speedcar Champions.
Rusty started racing Go-Karts aged seven and spent ten years in the category before he moved into speedway and Speedcar racing.
Speedcars are a division he has close affinity, however despite his affection for the category, he would not completely rule out one day switching to another division.
“I would love to keep racing Speedcars as long as there is a car to race,” he admitted, “but I'm a racer and I'll race anything with four wheels.”
Away from the track Rusty Whittaker is a Sheet Metal worker and he recently secured his grade three certificate in sheet metal fabrication.
The Australian Speedcar Grand Prix was first run in 1938 and is steeped in history and tradition. The 2019 winner will have his name etched on the perpetual shield with some of the all-time greats who have won the prestigious AGP which comes to Lismore for the first time.
A full support programme with racing for Wingless Sprintcars, Production Sedans, Junior Sedans, AMCAs and Street Stocks also will be featured.
Admission prices: Adults - $30; Seniors - $25; Family Pass (two adults + two students) - $75; All children under 12 gain free admission. Gates open at 4PM and racing commences at 5:30. for more information: www.lismorespeedway.com.au