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Sprint stars: Porter Hire International Sprint Car Series round two

19 December 2017



Round two of the Porter Hire International Sprint Car Series kicked off on the night of Tuesday, December 12, at Palmerston North’s Robertson Holden International Speedway. 
The battle royale featured four top American drivers battling it out with the locals — Shane Steward (2USA), Brad Loyet (5USA), Kyle Hurst, and Tony Stewart (14USA). 

Tony Stewart (14USA) had oil drip onto the headers during a practice lap, although the fire was sorted without too much drama.

He wasn’t the only one, either — Stephen Taylor (21W) had a very similar thing happen to him during the event.  

It would be two qualifying heats each, and an eight-way pole shuffle would determine the grids for the 30-lap feature. The first heat already showed that this was going to be a big event, with Jonathan Allard (2NZ) rolling big time on the first corner, and landing pretty hard. After dragging the car to the pits and giving it a once-over, they decided the car was far too badly damaged to continue racing for the evening. 

On the restart, Rodney Wood (51M) also found himself out after a tangle with Dean Brindle caught him some serious air, although he was luckier in that he managed to continue racing. 

By the end of the first heat, it was one of the imports — Shane Stewart (2USA) — who took it out, and by a massive margin with over a half lap to the next driver.

It wasn’t only Rodney Wood and Dean Brindle who shared a kiss, with Jamie Stewart and Kyle Hirst tangling on turn four. They continued all the way down the main straight, flat out — this could have ended badly, but both cars were untangled and on their way. 

Heat two was basically the opposite, with no carnage on offer — just some good, clean racing. Starting on pole was Tony Stewart (14USA) who was never passed, recording the fastest lap of the meeting with a 13.2581 — very, very impressive! — and Tony was followed by Jamie Larsen (1NZ) in second.

The next round it was once again won by an American, making it three in a row — Kyle Hirst (11USA) this time, with Michael Pickens (54A) coming in second. 

After 30 laps, there’s not gonna much tread left, and here’s Kyle Hirst’s right rear.

The final qualifier had Tony Stewart running hard from the back of the field while trying to pass Greg Pickerill (18P), who went wide — with nowhere to go, Stewart met the wall and ended up in a spectacular roll that put him out for the night.

And, as it came time for the feature race, it was anyone’s guess as to how things would pan out. How many cars would even finish? Michael Pickens (54A) sat on pole, followed by Jamie Larsen (1NZ) — 30 laps of pure adrenaline, and for a surprise finish as Shane Stewart (2USA) saw out his mission to eventually pass them both for the win.  

So, by the end of it all, the results table was looking a little like the following: 

Heat one
First — Shane Stewart (2USA)
Second — Greg Pickerill (18P)
Third — Dean Brindle (22A)

Heat two
First — Tony Stewart (14USA)
Second — Jamie Larsen (1NZ)
Third — Michael Pickens (54A)

Heat three
First — Kyle Hurst (11USA) 
Second — Michael Pickens (54A)
Third — Rodney Wood (51M)

Heat four
First — Jamie McDonald (3NZ)
Second — Jamie Larsen (1NZ)
Third — Danuel Rogers (5A)

First — Shane Stewart (2USA)
Second — Michael Pickens (54A)
Third — Jamie Larsen (1NZ)