The big guns are back at the Robertson Holden International Speedway at the earlier time of 6.30pm (until 10.30pm) next Thursday 6 December, as the Porter Hire International Sprintcar Series rolls into town. A pair of rapid Americans and a duo of Aussies will battle against New Zealand's best in the fastest machines on dirt.
Defending series champion Shane Stewart will be keen to repeat his performance again this season, while fellow American Kyle Hirst will require a bit more luck. He finished just off the podium with a damaged front wing in Palmerston North last season in a gutsy performance, and both drivers will be formidable having already run on this track previously.
The Australians are more of an unknown quantity, although Jamie Veal is a genuine frontrunner in his home country. Troy Little is less credentialed but in good form, and will be keen to represent his country with pride. An 8-lap test match between the three nationalities takes place each night of the series, with the winning team taking home a cash bonus.
Local drivers will be keen to get their hands on a share of the almost $80,000 series prize pool, with former New Zealand champion Jamie Larsen and Wellington's Stephen Taylor the best of the bunch. Veteran Aucklanders Jamie McDonald and Dean Brindle are always tough to beat, while Midget star Michael Pickens has won here before.
The opening round of the Porter Hire International Sprintcar Series kicked off on Sunday at Auckland's Western Springs and heads to Baypark on Tuesday 4, Palmerston North on Thursday 6 December and back to Western Springs the following Saturday night.
A late addition to the meeting is a SuperStock teams race between the Palmerston North Panthers and Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes. Three of last season's champion Panthers return in 1nzp William Humphries, 3nzp Jordan Dare and 58p Peter Bengston. Joining them are 71p Shane Mellsop and 599p Ron Tye - two drivers at the opposite end of the experience scale and it will be interesting to see how they perform.
SuperStocks and Stockcars complete the evening's schedule. Racing starts at 6.30pm and admission prices are Adults $30 (16 years and over), $10 for children aged 8-15, and $70 for a family pass of two adults and up to four children. Seven and under are free.