American NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell destroyed their cars in a dramatic International Midget Series meeting at Western Springs on Boxing Day.
Bell, widely considered the best midget racer in the world, couldn't extract the best from his car and struggled into the B Main where he needed to finish in the top four to advance.
Sitting outside the top four, he hit the wall trying to chase down the leaders and destroyed his car. The American's team will now be in a race against time to get the car fixed for the Baypark meeting tonight.
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Larson looked good early in the evening, winning the first of the three test races but had a massive crash during the third international race.
He too will have a battle to get the car ready for racing at Mt Maunganui.
American Zach Daum claimed a pair of race wins in the test matches to top the standings but New Zealand triumphed overall – amassing more points as a team than their American and Australian coutnerparts.
Local star Michael Pickens edged Daum to win the midget feature on the night and give the big local crowd something else to cheer about.
Australian Kaidon Brown was third.
Pickens successfully made it the double on the night as he won the sprint car feature race as well – heading off Jamie Larsen. Keaton Dahm was third.
"It was a pretty trouble-free night for us," Pickens told the Herald. "It was unfortunate that Larson and Bell both missed the feature because you like testing yourself against the best.
"It shows how the sport can bite when two of the best drivers in the world got caught out within minutes of each other.
"Hopefully they can get their cars ready and sorted so we can battle them at Baypark."
Mitch Osborne triumphed in the F2 Midget feature – his third of the season - while Ryan Baker pipped brother Scott Baker in the TQ feature.
The series returns to Auckland on Monday.