Speedway fans got their money's worth out of American racer Kyle Larson over the holiday period.

The NASCAR star contested five meetings in New Zealand since Boxing Day as part of the International Midget Series along with other drivers from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Larson won the feature race in three of those rounds and helped the Americans cruise to a dominant victory.

After coming to New Zealand for a flying visit last year, fans were left disappointed when rain washed out his only race night. But the 25-year-old certainly gave great value this summer.


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"The wonderful thing was he wanted to come down enough that he came down for the same price that everyone else came down for – he wasn't any more expensive than anyone else," promoter Greg Mosen told The Herald.

"He turned up here and he drove a Kiwi car with a Kiwi crew and quickly dominated winning three out of four features at Western Springs."

It wasn't just Larson that impressed however. The American drivers were extremely dominant and while Larson got the three wins it could have been youngster Tyler Courtney – known as Sunshine - that got the headlines if he had not suffered some bad luck.

"I think all the Americans showed us what they were capable of," Mosen said. "They turned up to a track and out-drove the locals.

"We can't over-look what Tyler Courtney did as well. He was leading the 50 lapper and through no fault of his own had gear failure and so he was pulled off with five laps to go from the lead. He was half a lap in front of Kyle at the time.

"Then at the King of the Springs he was in the lead and got tripped up by a back-marker and had to go to the tail of the field. From the back of the field in five laps he went past [Michael] Pickens and [Shane] Dahn for fourth.

"He was as good as Kyle – whilst Kyle delivered the results the standout for me was Sunshine."


Former NASCAR star Tony Stewart made a cameo appearance for the three round International Sprint Car series before Christmas but failed to make much of an impact.

He wasn't particularly fast and walked out of the final meeting halfway through the night upset due to a combination of personal issues back in the United States and an uncompetitive car.

"Tony bought his own gear and his own crew chief," Mosen explained. "He was running fourth during the first feature at one point.

"When he went to Palmerston North he got hooked up in the first lap and shoved into the fence and destroyed his car."

The replacement car didn't prove to be as quick and Stewart was left frustrated as a result.

Fans got a lot more out of Larson's trip Down Under but Mosen wasn't ready to criticize Stewart.

"Tony is at the other end of the spectrum from Kyle," Mosen said. "If Kyle is new money then I guess Tony is old money. They are both as exciting in their own way."

Mosen said Larson indicated he enjoyed his time in New Zealand and would like to return while he would gladly offer Stewart a spot again in the future.

"He wanted to come and I think he wants to come back," Mosen said. "Would we have him back – of course? He's a true legend."