American drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein will return to competition at the age of 62 when the 2007 NHRA Powerade Series begins with the annual Winternationals at Pomona, California (February 8-11).
With four NHRA Funny Car titles (1985-1988) and two Top Fuel championships (1996, 2001), Bernstein retired from competition as a driver at the end of the 2002 season but made a return during the 2003 season when his son, Brandon, suffered back injuries in a racing accident.
Kenny finished the season with a flourish, winning the last four of five races and extending his tallying 69 career victories, 30 in Funny Car and 39 in Top Fuel.
His 2007 comeback is in the Funny Car division to race a Dodge Charger in the colours of Monster Energy Drinks and Lucas Oil.
The Texan, who began his professional driving career in the late 1960s earned the title ``King of Speed’’ when he became the first NHRA driver to break the 300mph barrier in March 1992. He was also the first to win championships in both nitro categories, Funny Car and Top Fuel.
Allport takes over Ralliart NZ
Triple New Zealand rally champion Neil Allport has taken over management of Ralliart New Zealand, the motorsports arm of Mitsubishi Motors.
Allport takes over from Morrie Chandler, who has relinquished the franchise to further his international motorsports work with the FIA, after last year being elected president of the World Rally Championship Commission.
Beginning February 1 Allport will run all aspects of the Ralliart operation from his motorsport preparation business in Penrose including Team Mitsubishi Ralliart and merchandising and will be the source for all technical information for Lancer Evolution cars for competition.
Peter Wilkins, Mitsubishi’s marketing and sales general manager paid tribute to Chandler’s contribution to Mitsubishi’s motorsport success in New Zealand.
``Morrie has made a vast contribution to rallying, here and overseas, for more than 20 years,” Wilkins said. “His knowledge and experience have been a great asset to Ralliart. For the future, we see Neil Allport Motorsports taking the brand to a new level in New Zealand.”
New home for NZ FIA rally
New Zealand’s second-tier FIA international rally event has a new home.
Round 2 of the 2007 FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship will be hosted in Whangarei using roads in the Maungaturoto region which had been a fixture in New Zealand’s WRC event until that shifted to Hamilton last year.
Replacing the Rotorua international event and scheduled for May 13-15, Hella Rally Whangarei will feature 16 special stages including two runs through a 1.5km super special stage in Whangarei during Leg 1 on Saturday May 14.
Well known stage venues including the Waipu Gorge, Brooks, Millbrook, Waipu Caves, Wairere, Bull and Cassidy are also on the itinerary to produce a total competitive stage distance of 279km.
The base for the rally, including service park and overnight parc ferme will be Whangarei’s Quayside Town Basin. As well as providing Asia-Pacific competition the rally is also Round 2 of the New Zealand Rally Championship.