AMERICAN star Zach Daum will be hoping to join an illustrious list when Gunnedah Speedways hosts the 67th running of the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix on Saturday night.
The Illinois native, who comes to Gunnedah fresh from a New Zealand race campaign, will drive for the Graham Racing Development team in NSW.
The GRD organisation has built up a new car especially for Daum in his bid to become yet another American who has won this prestigious event over the years.
He will take on drivers from NSW and Queensland.
Whoever wins the AGP will take a very special place in Australian motor sport history.
This event is not only one of the oldest in Australian speedway history, but one of the longest running speedcar races in the world, sharing the spotlight with America's world famous “Nite Before the 500” in Indianapolis and California's traditional Turkey Night Grand Prix.
Some of the biggest names in American auto racing have won the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix. Legendary four time Indianapolis 500 winner AJ Foyt raced to victory twice – at Sydney's former Liverpool Speedway in 1975 and '76 – while 20-time American Sprintcar Champion Steve Kinser drove to a sensational win also at Liverpool in 1986.
Recently crowned national speedcar champion, 17-year-old Kaidon Brown has had a meteoric rise to stardom and would love to have his name on the perpetual trophy.
“This is the race that means so much to win because you will join so many great Australian and American speedcar drivers who have their name engraved on the famous trophy. It would be a real honour to win this event,” Brown said earlier this week.
The Australian Speedcar Grand Prix was first held in 1938 and won by New South Welshman Les Dillon.
For many years this race was conducted at the iconic Sydney Showground at Moore Park in front of massive crowds.
Australian speedcar racing legends Ray Revell, Andy McGavin, Len Brock, Johnny Stewart and Jeff Freeman are winners.
Ten times Australian Sprintcar Champion and Australian Speedway Hall of Famer Garry Rush won on the pavement at Liverpool in 1977, but his win in 1996 at the Sydney Showground was one of the greatest moments in the history of the event.
It was the last time the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix was ever held at the Sydney Showground before its permanent closure to make way for Fox Studios. Australian speedway icon the late George Tatnell also lifted the GP trophy, while triple Australian Sprintcar titleholder Max Dumesny won at the Sydney Showground in 1992.
Englishman Bill Reynolds was the 1956 winner, while other Americans who have stamped their authority on the race include the late, great Bob Tattersall, who won at the Sydney Showground four times during the 'sixties, Cal Niday, Frank Brewer, Jimmy Davies, Dave Strickland, Ron Tripp, Johnny Pearson and Lealand McSpadden.
“The tradition is everything. Every driver wants to win the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix and fittingly the GP has provided some of the greatest ever speedcar races ever witnessed in this country. Whoever takes the chequered flag will be a very proud winner,” a spokesman for the AGP said yesterday.