Points leader to miss Muscle Car Masters at halfway point in the series …
STORY: DYLAN GULSON
IMAGES: AN1 IMAGES
THE Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series heads to Western Sydney this weekend for the third round of competition as part of the annual Muscle Car Masters meeting.
The Sydney Motorsport Park event will host an 18-car grid for the Kumho Series, with one glaring omission from the entry list – series leader Jack Smith.
Smith, who won the opening two rounds at Phillip Island and Winton, will miss the next two events (as was always planned) before returning for the series finale at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia in August.
The defending series champion is using the Kumho Series outings with Brad Jones Racing to help accelerate his learning while competing in his second season in the Dunlop Super2 Series with the Albury-based squad.
Smith’s absence will leave the door wide open for series young-guns Tyler Everingham and Zak Best to fight for the top spot on the points ladder, with the pair currently 23 and 27 points behind Smith respectively and 143 points on the line in Sydney (40 for winning Race 1, 40 for Race 2, 60 for Race 3 and 3 points for pole position).
Everingham comes into the weekend off the back of his breakthrough victory in Race 2 at Winton, while Best also managed a maiden Kumho Series race win at Phillip Island.
Series regular Jon McCorkindale trails the trio and is fourth on the ladder in his ex -Stone Brothers Racing Falcon BF, having finished inside the top six in every race this season.
This weekend will see a newcomer and series returnee on the grid for the round.
Joining the Championship class field for the weekend is Aussie Driver Search founder Kyle Austin, who makes his series debut in the ex-FPR Falcon raced by Ryal Harris at the opening round of the year.
The start will mark Austin’s first race weekend aboard V8 Touring Car machinery following stints in the V8 Ute Racing and Production Touring Cars.
Appropriately for the retro-themed event, Jamie McDonald will make a return to the series in his ex-Bob Pearson Pro-Duct Motorsport VP Commodore.
McDonald, who last ran in Kumho competition at the Muscle Car Masters in 2017, will join Heritage class regulars Sean Fardell and Andy Cantrell.
Cantrell currently leads the Heritage class battle in his 1998 Ford Credit Glenn Seton EL Falcon.
With 143 points on offer over the course of the weekend a new series leader will emerge from Sydney before the series heads to the penultimate round at Queensland Raceway alongside the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.