New Zealand  

 

50-lapper
1. Michael Pickens
2. Bryan Clauson
3. Brock Maskovich
4. Adam Clarke
5. Dave Gick
6. Christopher Bell
7. Ben Drummond
8. Duane Hickman
9. Scott Buckley
10. Lucas Scott
11. Ricky McGough
DNF: Carl Worboys, Darren Hagen, Brad Mosen, Nathan Smee, Chris Gwilliam, Jared Taylor, Rico Abreu, Jerry Coons Jr., Shayne Alach, Mark Mullins, Shaun Insley, James Cossey.

Bell Tops Steller Field on Bosing Day

American teenager Christopher Bell added to his trophy cabinet in front of 13,000 fans on Boxing Day at WXC Speedway - Western Springs.

The 18-year-old Oklahoman started on the front row of the feature but was made to work for it by his countryman Rico Abreu.

The pair traded slide job passing maneuvers lap after lap as the roaring crowd drowned out all 20 cars on the track.

Following a mid-race caution, three of the Americans played accidental bumper cars leaving all three (Darren Hagen, Bryan Clauson, Abreu) scratching their heads on the infield, while Bell drove to victory.

"That was really tough, I definitely got some luck there when there was that pile-up. It was a shame losing those three United States drivers in one hit because they were really putting on a show for the fans," said Bell.

"That was a heck of a race and it was the first time I've ever been able to run in front of so many people; it's just fantastic. It blows me away how much support Speedway gets down here [in Auckland]."

Bell was the dominant driver in the USA this year, winning all the historic races and championships, but almost had this one stolen from him right at the death as 41-year-old American Jerry Coons Jr made a last lap lunge.

"I saw Jerry sneaking up on me on that last lap and I knew I really had to give it my all but we got there in the end so awesome for the team," said Bell.

The Springs' faithful were granted the best track surface of the season with two distinct racing lines and cars constantly dive-bombing each other for position. Bell decided to run as wide as possible, tapping the wall nearly every lap.

"I hit the wall several times in that race, I think we'll have to go over the car tomorrow because we might have bent a couple of wheels in that one," he said.

Coons Jr held on for second place while in-form Kiwi Chris McCutcheon took third. The first Australian home was 22-year-old Matthew Jackson in fourth.

The international midgets will be back in action at WXC Speedway - Western Springs tonight for the World 30-lap Derby. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 6:15pm.

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Kiwis challenge USA and AUS Boxing Day

International Teams Racing returns to WXC Speedway - Western Springs with a vengeance Boxing Day as three countries fight for points, pride and a lofty prize pool.

Australia, USA and New Zealand will each field three drivers for the two international heat races which, unlike previous years, now also offer individual points towards feature race grid positions.

"The test races will be about winning for your country, but also accumulating enough points to ensure you start near the front of the feature," said Springs Speedway promoter Greg Mosen.

"This newfound importance on teams racing will make for a more exciting spectacle for the fans, with drivers fighting for every position and every point."

Team USA enter the series as favourites with three professional race drivers on their books.

California's Darren Hagen makes his first visit to New Zealand coming off two USAC National Midget Championships in 2012, alongside another newcomer in 18-year-old Oklahoman Christopher Bell who won everything there is to win in the USA this year. These two young guns will be marshalled around by 41-year-old speedway icon and Team USA captain Jerry Coons Jr from Indiana.

"It's an honour they chose me to be captain. Either that or it just means I'm the oldest," said former USAC Triple Crown winner Coons Jr.

"We've got an incredible team with both the 2012 and 2013 USAC National Midget Champions so we're pretty confident for tonight's teams racing, although we know the Kiwis are always strong too having raced Brad Mosen and Michael Pickens in the States this year."

Current New Zealand champion Pickens will captain the local contingent tonight, alongside former International series champion Mosen and current Western Springs points leader Chris McCutcheon.

"We couldn't be happier with the team we've put together and hopefully with a bit of crowd support and home track advantage we can keep the trophy in Auckland," said one of three New Zealand team selectors Graham Standring.

The Australian team have adopted underdog status for the occasion but are not lacking in confidence nor experience.

Current POWRI Australian Midget Super Series champion Nathan Smee is still fighting fit at 40-years-old and will captain the Aussie team. He will be joined by fellow speedway veteran and two-time national midget champion Adam Clarke, as well as 22-year-old rising star Matthew Jackson who is coming off his first campaign in the USA.

Promoters are expecting around 16,000 fans at the track tonight, ready to witness some of the best midget racing ever seen at WXC Speedway - Western Springs.

"We don't get anywhere near the amount of fans at a midget race in the US like we do at The Springs. It's such a cool atmosphere here in Auckland with all the entertainment that goes on off the track too. We just love coming down here," said Coons Jr.

Gates open at 4pm while racing gets underway at 6:15pm.

For those who may have missed the TV3 Sports News on Sunday at 6:30pm, here is the link to view this story:

http://www.3news.co.nz/Big-expectations-for-US-speedway-star/tabid/415/articleID/326123/Default.aspx

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