Sydney: Utes: Series pre-race news

Eight V8 Ute drivers in title contention for Sydney Street Fight One of the closest Ford and Holden battles in V8 Ute history is about to begin at the final round of the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All during the...

Eight V8 Ute drivers in title contention for Sydney Street Fight

One of the closest Ford and Holden battles in V8 Ute history is about to begin at the final round of the 2009 Yokohama V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All during the Sydney Telstra 500, 4 - 6 December.

Eight different drivers can theoretically win the Series, making this the most competitive V8 Ute finale since the series began.

Jack Elsegood (734 pts), Grant Johnson (691), Kim Jane (687), George Miedecke (672), Glenn McNally (646) and Layton Cramrook (634,) are all in contention giving 3 Ford and 3 Holden drivers a serious shot at the title.

Gary Baxter, while down on points at the moment, is still waiting for the results of an appeal against a technical infringement and if upheld could also be a factor in the final result, while Adelaide's Craig Dontas is also in the overall points mix (608 pts).

With 149 points up for grabs and the challenge of a new circuit, the title is set for a three race street fight that is sure to engage all V8 Ute fans trackside and those watching the live televised final race on the SEVEN Network.

"I'm going to go out and try and win the round and whatever happens to Jack happens to Jack," said Johnson.

For Elsegood and Johnson, it's a case of Groundhog Day. Both came inton. the final round in 2007 with Elsegood ahead of Johnson by 25 points; n. however all hope was gone when a tyre on the Coopers Ford let go in n. the final race of the Series, just a few laps from a championship wi n. "I will remind him not to be too hard on the tyres and I'll put as n. much pressure on him as I can. If I win the round, then I have it," n. said Johnso n.

"Grunta's a good driver and won the championship last time through luck and if he is to win this time he will have really to earn the win as I intend to play as hard as I have to in an effort to win the series," Elsegood retaliated.

The Ex NRL footballer is feeling the pressure but his plan is to justd. stay focused on the Roun "I do put a lot of pressure on myself and I d. will go out there and do my best as I always do. If I drive well and d. do what I set out to do then there's no reason why I shouldn't come d. away with the championship," explained Elsegoo d.

Johnson hasn't had the best of luck this year and is due for a turnaround in form.

"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed after Bathurst, we should be closer than we are. We are also surprised to be still in with a chance after the accident at Clipsal, driving with broken ribs at Winton, the flat tyre in Darwin, suspension damage at Sandown, plus the spin while leading the finale at Bathurst. We haven't had a good run this year however the roll of the dice is definitely turning our way," said Johnson.

The two have been inseparable in the past few years. Johnson not only finished one spot ahead of Elsegood in 2007 but also in 2008 by 109 points, however the Sydneysider is not about to let this happen a third year in a row and is currently leading the Grove Fruit Juice Holden by 43 points heading into the finale.

"I would be really disappointed if something similar to 2007 happened again but this is motorsport. It would be a great feeling to win in front of a home-crowd and that's what I intend to do," said Elsegood.

Holden is currently leading Ford in the round wins, claiming four so far for this year; Gary Baxter claimed two, Kim Jane and Gary MacDonald one each. Layton Crambrook has taken out 2 rounds for Ford and Elsegood the other round at Winton Raceway. Johnson is yet to win a round this year but is confident about leading the Holden's at the moment.

"We were always hoping we were the number one Holden and we are happy to have that title at the moment," said Johnson.

Another driver who has been the top Holden in his racing career is Kim Jane who was second overall in 2008 and is currently third at the moment. Jane is followed closely by Ford driver and son of a legend, George Miedecke who would like to get his hands on a Series trophy before he moves off to the international sports car arena next year.

2008 Rookie of the Year, Glenn McNally has had a strong year and is currently in 5th position separated only by 12 points from 2008 Champion Layton Crambrook currently in 6th.

Crambrook and Baxter are both waiting the outcome of judicial procedures which could shuffle the points pack even more.

Craig Dontas and Jesus All About Life's Andrew Fisher have both had a strong year for Ford, while Queensland Holden drivers, Ryal Harris and Kurt Wimmer round out the top ten. Both drivers missed a round or two this year and will push hard for top finishes.

With a V8 Supercar test drive on the line, the 2009 Racer Industries Rookie of the Year Award will be fought between Paul Williams and Gary Carson who are only separated by 31 points heading into the final showdown.

The V8 Utes will kick start their weekend on Friday, 4th December with practice one at 8:00am and the rest of the schedule is as follows:

Race 3 will be televised live on Network Seven, Saturday, 5th December at 12:45pm (EDST).

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Kurt Wimmer , Grant Johnson , Jack Elsegood , Layton Crambrook , Andrew Fisher
Teams Williams