DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP PUSH FOR TEAM VIP PETFOODS AT ORAN PARK Spectators of this weekend's Oran Park Jim Beam 400 can rest assured Team VIP Petfoods will provide a show to remember -- with not one but two of its champion drivers determined to ...
DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP PUSH FOR TEAM VIP PETFOODS AT ORAN PARK
Spectators of this weekend's Oran Park Jim Beam 400 can rest assured Team VIP Petfoods will provide a show to remember -- with not one but two of its champion drivers determined to regain their championship lead in the fifth rounds of the Carrera Cup and Aussie Racing Car categories.
Craig Baird - Team VIP Petfoods' lead Carrera Cup driver and currently equal second on the championship ladder with David Reynolds - is only six points away from the series leader after a stellar Queensland performance last month saw him take the fourth round in a clean sweep.
Defending champion Baird lost his grip atop the ladder earlier this year following a horror wet and wild Winton weekend, but is now back on form and closing in on current series leader Alex Davison.
"Everyone has a bad round, and Winton was mine," said Baird.
"Queensland was a fantastic weekend for us obviously -- to be moving back up the ladder is just what I have been looking for and to do so at Team VIP Petfoods' home track made it just that bit sweeter.
"Even as a local I was kept on my toes all weekend with Reynolds right behind me -- I can't wait to get back into it at Oran Park for some more serious racing!"
While Baird is sure to keep the crowds - and his fellow competitors - on their toes over the weekend, Team VIP Petfoods' defending Aussie Racing Car champion Paul Kemal will also be looking to thrill.
Torrential rain coupled with mechanical issues on Kemal's 'BA Falcon', saw June's Eastern Creek round four of the ARC series became one to forget for the then series leader.
By the time the weekend was over, what was thought to be alternator problems had seen Kemal relinquish his series lead to sit fourth in the championship and 12 points behind new leader Brad Ward.
Credited in the past as one of the best competitors in the category's history, Kemal is sure to be on form and set to continue his charge for back-to-back championships this weekend, with Oran Park his home circuit and the issues from his last ill-fated outing now sorted.
"We had a horror weekend at Eastern Creek obviously, with mechanical issues seeing us struggle throughout the weekend," said Kemal.
"After carrying out repairs we went for a test day at Oran Park a few weekends ago and the car was quick straight out of the box which was promising.
"That test day also illuminated the real problem behind our Eastern Creek troubles, with the mechanical issue resurfacing after only a few laps after we had fixed what we originally believed to be the cause -- the alternator!
"After further investigation we found the root of the problem lay not in the alternator afterall but in faulty wiring in the connection -- another case of a two cent part throwing a spanner in the works.
"Now that all that is straightened out I am feeling positive ahead of the weekend, and with Oran Park being what I call my home circuit I am ready to rock and roll!"
While Kemal and Baird battle it out for their respective championship leads they will not be the only ones flying the VIP Petfoods flag at the New South Wales circuit, with all five of the VIP Petfoods racing contingent set to make their presence known over the weekend.
Team VIP Petfoods boss Tony Quin will be looking to improve, with his home-track round not going exactly to plan for the company director of Queensland's VIP Petfoods.
"The Queensland round, although great with Bairdo taking the round from start to finish, did not end that well for me," said Tony Quinn.
"Coming off the track on the restart in the final race was disappointing for me especially with the car performing well at our home track, and so I will be looking to push ahead this weekend and hopefully grab myself some good results."
While Tony is looking to make amends for that incident, his son Klark Quinn will be looking to recapture the speed he showed last month where he placed in the top ten for the round.
"Last month's round was pretty good for me, although it was unfortunate to see dad out in the final race," said Klark Quinn.
"I had speed throughout all the races at the beginning, and then had to contend with rear end movement issues which threw me off the pace -- so I will be looking to work on that and come out firing for this weekend's round."
Whilst the quartet of Baird, Kemal and the Quinns will be racing to the finish line, one more member of the Team VIP Petfoods outfit will also make his appearance -- the team's daredevil drifter Robbie Bolger.
Bolger will provide the on-track entertainment between races aboard his stunt bike and Team VIP Petfoods drifting Holden Monaro - fresh from his second place success at Queensland Raceway at the weekend for round four of the Toyo Drift Australia series -- seeing him shoot to the top of the series ladder with only one round left to run.