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HomeNewsNationalMcLaughlin’s sprintcar team ‘changed the sport’

McLaughlin’s sprintcar team ‘changed the sport’

THE team co-owned by three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin markedly changed the perception of sprintcars and the discipline itself.

That’s the view of Australian driver James McFadden, who is returning from the United States for another summer Down Under with the Hodges Motorsport program.

McFadden is coming off a career-best World of Outlaws campaign highlighted by seven wins and is eager to build on his first season in the Tim Hodges-led team which counts McLaughlin, AFL legend Jack Riewoldt and sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley as co-owners.

“It was a fun concept to put this team together last year in the space of three or four months and I loved every second of it – so we thought, why not go again,” McFadden said.

“The results proved we got to the top level of the sport in an unbelievably short amount of time, so for our second season we hope we can give ourselves an even better shot at more success.

“I love how invested the high-profile boys have been in this project and I love the commitment NAPA has with the program we are running. They are such a big and iconic part of speedway in the USA, so it’s so cool to be running the NAPA colours on a sprintcar in Australia.”

McFadden won events last season in Warrnambool, Avalon and Mount Gambier aboard the #5 NAPA Auto Parts entry but feels there was a bigger picture success to celebrate.

“I’ve always been a part of professional race teams – in Australia and in the States – but the level of professionalism stepped up with Car 5,” he said.

“It changed the sport, it changed the perception of the sport and it brought more eyeballs to it here in Australia than it’s ever been able to attract with the names involved, so it was really cool to be a part of that.”

While he tasted victory in Warrnambool, it was not in the prestigious Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, leaving a burning degree of unfinished business.

“I won’t lie, I didn’t like running fifth in the Classic,” he said.

“To be top five in that field was still seriously impressive with our team – but I’m not here to make up the numbers.

“That’s our Melbourne Cup – that’s our sport’s biggest race of all and I’d love to win another one in January.”

McFadden’s first race of the 2023/24 season will come in Warrnambool on December 16 in an event paying tribute to Max Dumesny.

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