The waiting is over.
The Elite Mechanical New Zealand Superstock Championship has been a long time in the planning, but tonight that all becomes a distant memory.
Two nights of intense Superstock racing kick off at Fast Lane Spares Oceanview Family Speedway in Whanganui as the quest begins to find New Zealand's best drivers for the 2019-20 season.
Drivers take part in qualifying heats tonight to find the top 26 cars and drivers to compete for the NZ championship tomorrow night.
But with more than 20 cars in every qualifying group, and only five cars making it directly to the top 26, just qualifying will be an achievement in itself.
The Wanganui Toyota Group is headed by current 1NZ Jason Long of Hawkes's Bay.
Long won the New Zealand title a year ago at Woodford Glen in Christchurch, and has been in fine form since the debut of his new car in November.
He will face stiff competition though from 2002-03 champion Jared Wade (85K), the Wellington duo of Josh Prentice (15W) and Richard Gaskin (22W), Nelson flyer Brett Nicholls (48N) and the fast improving Stratford driver Blair Uhlenberg (28S).
Others to watch in this group are the only woman in the field, Rebecca Barr (34P) who is having an outstanding season, and ageless veteran Clive Elliott (95P), who won the New Zealand Stockcar Grand Prix 40 years ago.
Aaron Jurgens (65V) is the sole Whanganui car in this group.
2NZ Peter Rees heads the Sharp As Group, which is packed full of talented drivers.
The major threats to Rees include NZ Superstock Grand Prix winner Keegan Levien (5w), four-time placegetter Graeme Barr (32P), Thomas Stanaway (87B), Jack Miers (88P), 2017-8 champion William Humphries and current World 240 champion Benji Sneddon (471K).
Some very talented drivers will not make it out of this group to the championship 26.
Darryl Taylor (5V) placed third when the championship was last held at Whanganui, and is finally back with a rebuilt motor.
Taylor and Sheridan O'Hara (9V) are the local drivers in this group.
The Hymech Mechanical Group features three former New Zealand champions in Simon Joblin (3NZ), Malcolm Ngatai (19C) and Wayne Hemi (591P)
Hemi has been plagued by issues with his Ford engine this season, and will have to overcome a lack of seat time.
However, he finished second the last time the New Zealand championship was held in Whanganui, and knows his way around the tight Oceanview circuit.
This group features a strong local contingent, with Shaun Smith (53V), Kerry Podjursky (56V) and Max Holloway (81V) all a chance to qualify if the cars fall their way.
Others likely to feature are Gary Davis (31G), Zane Dykstra (38P), Carl Shearer (75S) and Alex Hill (95N), in what is probably the most wide open group.
The absence of Dale Robertson (89W) opens up the Garmac Engineering Group.
Robertson was concussed in a teams race in Wellington, and was unable to get a clearance to return to racing inside the mandatory 22 day standdown.
Former New Zealand Stockcar Champion Ethan Rees (127G) is the standout driver in this group.
He will face plenty of opposition however from the destructive Christchurch duo of Jayden Ward (971C), another former Stockcar champion and Harley Robb (991C).
Local driver Carl Burns (25V) has been in excellent form this season, and both he and Scott Duncan (23V) have a genuine chance of advancing from a group devoid of the real elite of the field.
Also right in the mix will be Ethan Levien (46W), Shane Mellsop (71P) and Auckland hard man Gary Lonergan (95A).
Lastly, the Display Associates Group shapes up as the Group of Death.
Jordan Dare (581P) is a two-time 2NZ and former 3NZ, and seems destined to one day stand on the top step of the podium.
A past West Coast Superstock champion, Dare is another with form at Oceanview.
Asher Rees (126K) is the wild card of the group, an incredibly fast driver, but sometimes the author of his own misfortune.
Rees is the current lap record holder at Oceanview, with a blistering 15.95 second lap just two weeks ago.
The Joblin brothers Scott (52P) and Adam (62P) are threats wherever they race, and this weekend will be no exception.
Both brothers have stood on the podium at past championships, with Scott placing second in 2010-11 and Adam finishing third three years ago, and both are ready to join brother Simon and father Russell as New Zealand Champions.
But with the likes of Scott Miers (8P), Jamie Hamilton (9G), Quinn Ryan (46B), Stefan Roigard (58K), Mark Costello (98M) and Daniel Hole (371K), getting out of this group may be the hardest part of the weekend.
There's also a strong Whanganui contingent, with Hayden Green (4V), Cameron Jurgens (77V), Shane Kells (87V) and Maddie Wise (136V).
After scrutineering at Wanganui Racecourse this morning, the cars will travel to Oceanview Speedway where they will be parked, in groups, on the infield.
The Grand Parade will be held at 6pm, and the first of 15 15-lap races will burst into life at 7pm.
Each group has three heats, with drivers being awarded points based on their finishing positions. The highest five points scorers in each group will advance to tomorrow night's three-heat championship decider.
For those who miss out on qualifying directly, all is not lost.
The next highest 26 points scorers will take part in a repecharge to start proceedings on Saturday night, where the winner will become the 26th and final driver in the championship field.
Those who miss out from the repecharge will take part in a second-tier championship sponsored by Steam and Machinery Ltd.
Cars and drivers who miss the two top tiers will take place in consolation races tomorrow night.
In addition, 26 Youth Ministock drivers have been invited to take part in a Best Pairs competition, running alongside the Elite Mechanical New Zealand Superstock Championship.
Each youth driver will be drawn with a partner from the Top 26, and their points over three heats each will be aggregated.
With so many champion drivers in the Stockcar and Superstock class having started in Youth Ministocks, the Wanganui Stockcar and Speedway Club decided to give the 12 to 16-year-olds the opportunity to be a part of championship night, to encourage them in their speedway careers.
A huge amount of time and effort has gone into preparing the Oceanview track and venue for this weekend's racing, and the Oval by the Ocean looks fantastic.
Public parking areas open at 3pm today and tomorrow in four locations from opposite the Airport Terminal to opposite the main entry gates.
These areas will be staffed by local Rotary Club members.
The public gates open at 4pm, and Oceanview Family Speedway is expected to be packed with speedway fans from all over New Zealand.
The Pits TV is live-streaming the event both nights, with viewers expected from around New Zealand, Australia, the UK and USA to watch the action unfold.