An international grid of drivers in speedway's fastest cars will be at wide open throttle around the quarter-mile oval at Baypark Speedway.
The Mount Maunganui track is the middle stop for the week-long, three-race Porter Hire International Sprint Car Series that began at Auckland's Western Springs last Saturday night and concludes back there this Saturday.
The Thursday fixture at Baypark gives Oklahoma racer Shane Stewart an opportunity to extend his impressive winning record on New Zealand tracks.
It's the third trip Stewart has made to New Zealand to pilot the United Truck Parts sprint car of Auckland's Brian and Annette Theobald.
Stewart won the 2017 and 2018 international series and his scorecard on New Zealand tracks now stands at five consecutive feature race wins after he swept the 2018 series and resumed in winning style at the Western Springs series opener last weekend.
Stewart also won the 2018 winner of the Baypark round and is looking forward to returning to the track.
''I've heard there could be up to 30 cars so it should be a great show,'' Stewart says.
''It's going to be hard to win again but who would have thought we would win five-in-a-row? I'll try to keep the streak going and make it six.
''Last year Baypark was a really technical track and it was the race I was fortunate to win. I inherited the lead with a few laps to go.''
With the US racing scene now heading into its winter break, Stewart enjoys the chance to leave freezing weather behind and race in New Zealand.
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''I enjoy racing here and getting the chance to look around the country,'' he says.
''Brian and Annette give me a really good car to drive and Shaun [Insley], who looks after it, does a great job. Another thing I enjoy are the really dedicated New Zealand motorsport fans.''
Stewart, 43, is a sprint car professional. He was the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year in 2005 and now has 34 career wins with sprint car racing's elite sprint car sanctioning group and well over 100 wins in total at tracks in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
He has finished in the top-10 of World of Outlaws standings each of the last five years with a career-best runner-up campaign in 2015.
Stewart will face some quality opposition looking to end his stranglehold on the Kiwi series.
Fellow US racers Craig Dollansky from Minnesota and highly-rated Australian Jamie Veal (Victoria) have plenty of experience on New Zealand tracks while two-time Australian champ Dave Murcott is making his first New Zealand tour.
California's Jonathan Allard has twice won the New Zealand title at Baypark and has held the sprint car lap record at 12.53secs since January 2006.
The roster of leading Kiwi racers includes four former national champions; Dean Brindle (Hamilton), Rodney Wood (Tauranga), Kerry Brocas (Pukekohe) and Kapiti Coast young gun Jamie Larsen —who finished second at the Baypark event last year behind Stewart and was second again at Western Springs on Saturday night.
The in-form Stephen Taylor (Wellington), who won the North Island title at Western Springs at the end of November, is likely to be another of the front runner.
Along with the sprint car heat races, USA-Australia-NZ test races and a 30-lap feature, tomorrow's race meeting also features Midget Cars and the Super Stocks will make their first Baypark appearance for the new season.