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Herne sets long-term sights on NASCAR

NATHAN Herne’s ultimate American dream would take him to the bright lights of NASCAR.

The Lismore product is heading to the United States today to begin life as a full-time Howe Racing/Stevens-Miller Racing driver in the American Trans Am Championship.

And while that is his absolute focus for now, Herne admits NASCAR is in the back of his mind.

“NASCAR would be ideal to go to, it would be the long-term goal,” he told V8 Sleuth.

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“For this year I’m focused on doing my job, I’m employed to try to win this championship this year, but for the future 100 percent I want to try to get to NASCAR.

“The budget to get there is quite high, although from the time I have spent in America, I’ve quickly learnt that the Americans are very generous and they want to win.

“They’re not there to fill their back pockets, they basically pick up a good driver and try to help them along the way.

“Definitely the long-term goal is to try to get to NASCAR.”

The 20-year-old has spoken of Trans Am in the US being a junior pathway for NASCAR, which only heightens the intensity of competition.

Having last year feared his career was going nowhere with his Supercars pathway blocked, due to a lack of Super2 experience, Herne now has his shot at a professional racing career and is vowing to leave no stone unturned.

Herne will put his mechanical prowess to use both on his own car and at Howe’s Michigan factory, and is also investigating other racing opportunities.

“I’ll try to do a few things,” he said.

“IMSA is definitely one, there is potential for a door opening there which I’ll try to get onto, and also I want to do some dirt track over there as well.

“Dirt track has been very big for me in Australia, I haven’t got to do as much as I wanted to.

“I basically want to go out there and give it a red-hot crack for this year and really try to put my name on the map.

“I don’t know if I’m going to have this opportunity again next year; if I can win some races this year then there’s a chance that it can happen.”

Herne also noted how American Trans Am cars are more like Supercars than Australian Trans Ams.

Herne has some limited Supercars mileage under his belt, including with PremiAir Racing last year.

“To drive those cars, I had to forget everything I learnt in Australia and pretend that I was driving a V8 Supercar,” he explained.

“Those things are near identical to a V8 Supercar.

“They’ve got less power than what we run in Australia but everything else is different… obviously I’ve never driven a Gen3 Supercar but I assume that’s exactly what they would be like.

“I’ve got a lot to learn. Even in that race I went over there, I learnt a lot. I learnt probably more in that one race than what I have learnt for maybe three or four races in Australia.

“The guys over there, they push the limits. I’m racing against kids who have been professional drivers since they were four.”

Herne is open to the possibility of making some cameo racing appearances this year.

His Trans Am title tilt starts at Sebring International Raceway on February 23-26.

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