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Sep 18, 2012

SPRINTCAR STAR GOES SALOON CAR

RISING Sprint car star Jon McCorkindale will switch the dirt banks of Sydney Speedway for the flowing curves of Australia’s fastest track this weekend when he makes his circuit racing debut at Round 7 of the Shannons Nationals, presented by HI-Tec Oils.

The 21-year-old from New South Wales’ Riverina district will drive a Dial Before You Dig-sponsored AU Ford Falcon in this weekend’s round of the Australian Saloon Car series, for six-cylinder Ford and Holden racers.

It will be his first taste of national-level circuit racing after showing he is one of the fastest emerging talents in the competitive world of dirt-track speedway racing.

| Entry List: Click here for the full Saloon Car entry.

“I know I have a lot to learn, especially given my lack of ‘tar’ racing experience and the competitiveness of the Saloon Car class,” McCorkindale said.

“This drive all came up through the major sponsor of our sprintcar team, Dial Before You Dig, and I cannot thank them, along with car owner Mark Primmer, enough for this fantastic opportunity,”

McCorkindale will switch his 700hp Sprintcar for the slightly less powerful six-cylinder Ford Falcon this weekend, but has put in the time to prepare for his national-level debut.

“This drive was confirmed three months ago, but in between then and now, I’ve had to obtain my CAMS [Confederation of Australian Motor Sport] racing licence and also completed a productive test day with the team at Sydney Motorsport Park [NSW],” he said.

“My test session earlier this month was very encouraging after I had posted some competitive times, so, hopefully, I’ll be able to build on that and fly the flag for us speedway drivers.

“I feel that if it all goes according to plan I’d like to be knocking on the door for a top-10 finish by the end of the weekend.”

Team owner Mark Primmer – a long time regular in the Saloon Car ranks – said McCorkindale was set to surprise this weekend.

“We tested at Sydney Motorsport Park’s new South circuit recently and he went better than good,” Primmer said.

“The change from 600HP, no brakes and left-turns only seemed fine. He said the Saloon Cars weren’t like the ‘old taxi’s’ he imagined; with great brakes, handling and enough power to get into trouble.

“It’s great we have been able to get this together for him.”

A typically large 28-car field has entered for the fifth of seven rounds the Dial Before You Dig national series will contest this year, and it’s a local driver leading the charge.

Commodore driver Simon Tabinor holds a comfortable 116-point lead over defending champion Matt Lovell’s Ford, but the typically unpredictable world of Saloon Cars will ensure that the title will likely go down to the final round once again.

Josh Keane (Holden), Harley Phelan (Holden) and local driver Andrew Nowland (Ford) fill the top five in the championship standings with plenty to play for at the Island.

The fifth round of the Dial Before You Dig Australian Saloon Car Series will be contested over three sprint races, during Round 7 of the Shannons Nationals Presented by Hi-Tec Oils.

A strong six-category program includes rounds of the Australian GT Championship, Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia, Kumho V8 Touring Cars and Radical Australia Cup, as well as the Saloon Car fight.

Action kicks off Saturday morning with tickets available from the gate.

Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live online via ITV Live and thenationals.com.au