SANDOWN BECKONS FOR REIGNING CARRERA CUP CHAMP CRAIG BAIRD Reigning Carrera Cup Champion and Team VIP Petfoods stalwart Craig Baird is looking to pull out a big performance at round six of the Carrera Cup championship during this weekend's Just...
SANDOWN BECKONS FOR REIGNING CARRERA CUP CHAMP CRAIG BAIRD
Reigning Carrera Cup Champion and Team VIP Petfoods stalwart Craig Baird is looking to pull out a big performance at round six of the Carrera Cup championship during this weekend's Just Car Insurance 500, steadfastly focused on his aim of back-to-back championships.
Although currently second on the series ladder 39 points behind leader David Reynolds, Baird has had an up and down year, with lows such as Winton's wet and wild weekend seeing him drop from the top of the ladder while highs like his clean sweep at Queensland Raceway on his birthday saw him signal his intentions and claw his way back up.
While last month's Oran Park round saw the 37 year-old maintain second on the ladder, with only three rounds left to run - at two of which he will be pulling double duty for the V8 Supercar endurance events - Baird is only too aware that it is now or never with the number of races left to run ever-dwindling.
"Sandown is where I debuted for Team VIP Petfoods in the Carrera Cup in 2004, so it is always good to head back there and with the V8 endurance races it is sure to be an action-packed weekend," said Baird.
"It is my plan to knuckle down and just focus on what I need to get done over the weekend - we are heading into the business end now and so there is no more space left for playing games.
"The time for anything less than the best is over, so you can be assured I will be putting in absolutely everything I have in me this weekend, and for all the remaining weekends of the Carrera Cup series until the final chequered flag falls at the Lexmark Indy 300 in October.
"There aren't that many points in it -- I am only 39 points behind Reynolds -- so anything can happen at this stage."
Baird's opinion in regards to the points is further illuminated by the fact that at this stage last year he was leading the championship by 176 points over Alex Davison, with David Reynolds in third.
While Baird is battling it out for the championship he won't be alone in the Team VIP Petfoods stable, with Tony Quinn, Klark Quinn and Paul Kemal all taking to the track.
Team boss Tony Quinn will be ready and rearing to go come Friday, fresh from a blistering run at the weekend for the 2007 QUIT Targa West - a charge which was unfortunately brought to a close early on Saturday when clutch problems forced the rally stalwart to retire whilst running second overall.
Alongside Tony and Baird in the Carrera Cup will also be Tony's 25 year-old son Klark Quinn, who will be looking for strong results following promising runs at last month's Oran Park round five.
Meanwhile, Team VIP Petfoods' Aussie Racing Car driver Paul Kemal will be joining Baird in throwing down the gauntlet at Sandown International Raceway, with the defending champion looking to close the nine point gap between him and current series leader Brad Ward as the Sydneysider searches for back-to-back championships.
Also on track at the weekend will be Team VIP Petfoods' daredevil drifter Robbie Bolger, providing the on-track entertainment at Sandown as he prepares for the final round of the Toyo Drift Australia Series at Oran Park next weekend -- a title chase he is currently leading after placing third last year.