Auckland racer Daniel Rogers outpaced both the newly crowned national champion and a charging North Island champ to win the New Zealand Sprint Car Grand Prix at Baypark Speedway in Mount Maunganui on Saturday night.
Rogers, 25, raced past early leader Dean Brindle, of Hamilton, on the third and final restart of the 25-lap GP and made the right moves in lapped traffic to hold off national champion Jamie Larsen, of Kapiti, and secure his first major sprint car title.
It was an emotional win for Rogers as his father Max had won the Grand Prix in the 1995-96 season.
"It's really special. I don't know if any other father and son have won the Grand Prix but I'm so glad it worked out like this," Rogers said.
The result does rate as the first time a father and son have won the Sprint Car GP.
"Considering we've only done a few nights this season we've now got the car going pretty good," Rogers said.
In his early season outings Rogers was plagued by a handling problem that was traced to a crack in the rear axle. He showed the problem was solved with a feature win at the previous Baypark meeting a fortnight earlier.
"Prior to the last meeting I had this axle problem and I was terrible – all over the show. Since we got the problem fixed, we've been going good."
The deciding move of the GP saw Rodgers dive underneath Brindle on the final restart with 13 laps remaining.
"I was trying to figure out how to pass him but he had pretty good pace. I was trying to time the starts right. The first one he got right but I got a good run on the last one."
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A week after winning the NZ Championship for the second time, Larsen scored his fourth consecutive New Zealand GP podium.
"We struggled a bit through the heats and I think I was giving my crew chief the wrong message. He did what he wanted for the last race and he was 100 per cent right. The car was really good at the end of the race."
Larsen said it was an impressive performance from Rogers.
"Daniel doesn't do a lot of racing so hats off to their team. It was an awesome job to come out and have that sort of result."
Wellington's Stephen Taylor, this season's North Island champion, was one of fastest drivers on the night. He powered away to win his first heat but was disqualified because he forgot to drive to the official scales for weigh-in on returning to the pits.
That mistake cost points and starting positions for the main race but Taylor charged forward from 13th starting spot to finish third.
Tauranga's Rodney Wood finished fourth while Brindle slipped back to fifth in the closing laps and Tokoroa's Keaton Dahm completed the top six.
Chris Taylor, of Tokoroa, won a competitive Saloon Car feature that at one point saw a quartet also comprising Auckland's Scott Rumble and Baypark drivers Jarred Fletcher and Trent Amrein in a four-way battle.
Nathan Howard won the F2 Midget Car feature chased by Corbin Anderson and Kenny Roberts while Aidon Decke won the Stock Car feature race and Deegan McGregor continued his front-running pace to win the Youth Mini Stock main event.