LISMORE NISSAN will be the official naming rights sponsor for the 70th Australian Speedcar Grand Prix at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway on Saturday, March 20.
Dealer Principal, long time speedway backer, devotee and former two times Australian Grand National Sedan Champion Paul O'Neill was quick to accept a proposal put on the table by promoter David Lander.
“It's a very famous event in the world of Speedcar racing, one of the oldest in the world, and I did not hesitate to associate Lismore Nissan with the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix,” Paul said.
“It's good for the City of Lismore to have such a prestigious race at our venue and Speedcars provide some of the closest competition you'll see anywhere.”
With its 70th running, the AGP has long since consolidated its place in history following the inaugural Australian Speedcar GP in 1938 at the Sydney Sports Ground won by Les Dillon (NSW).
The race is synonymous with American influence after the late, great Bob Tattersall from Streator, Illinois dominated the sixties with four victories at the Sydney Showground.
Some of the biggest names in American auto racing have won the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix. Legendary four time Indianapolis 500 winner AJ Foyt raced to victory twice – at Sydney's former Liverpool City Raceway in 1975 and '76 – while 20-time American Sprintcar Champion Steve Kinser drove to a sensational win, also at Liverpool, in 1986. Other Americans who have stamped their authority on the race include Cal Niday, Frank Brewer (born in NZ but later became an American citizen), Jimmy Davies, Dave Strickland, Ron Tripp, Johnny Pearson and Lealand McSpadden.
Australian Speedcar racing legends from back in the day Ray Revell, Andy McGavin, Len Brock, Jeff Freeman, Johnny Stewart and George Tatnell are AGP winners.
Modern era's Mark Brown holds the honour of being the most successful driver in AGP history with six wins. His final victory in 2015 broke the long standing record held by Revell and McGavin with five wins each.
Ten times Australian Sprintcar Champion and Australian Speedway Hall of Famer Garry Rush won the AGP on pavement at Liverpool in 1977, but his win in 1996 at the Sydney Showground was one of the greatest moments in the history of the event as part of the "Final Salute" acknowledging the 70 year history of the venue. Triple Australian Sprintcar Champion Max Dumesny took out the 1992 Australian Speedcar GP also at the Sydney Showground.
Father and son duo Barry and Steve Graham are history makers in their own right after Barry took out the 1979 AGP and his son Steve in 1998. Aaron Benny won in 1991, while Troy Jenkins is a three times AGP winner (1993, '97 and 99) and Troy's brother Darren was the AGP 2003 winner. Other notable NSW stars Adam Clarke (2001) and drivers from recent years Nathan Smee (2017), Reid Mackay (2018) and Matt Smith (2019) have their names engraved on the perpetual AGP Shield. Smith won the last time the AGP was contested at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway.
STORY BY DENNIS NEWLYN