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Pickens wins on debut

 

Young speedway ace Michael Pickens found immediate success in his foray into Sprint Car racing.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.

The former NZ Midget Car champion won first night out on Saturday, steering the Gerard Ness-owned Schnee-Wesmar to victory in the feature race at Baypark Speedway, Mount Maunganui.
It was the first time Pickens (23) had raced at Baypark, and although he has raced wingless Sprint Cars in the US, it was also his first outing in any type of winged race car.

With a strong field of 21 cars at Baypark, Pickens showed his promise immediately by placing second in the first heat behind 2005 NZ champ Ben Finemore and current champion Kerry Jones.
A spin in Heat 2 brought contact with a following car and smashed the left front wheel off Pickens’ car. It was repaired for the feature where Pickens moved to the front from a mid-pack start.

On the final lap – curfew-shortened to 13 laps – Pickens was under threat from Aucklander Ossie Sokol, who moved inside in the second-to-last corner. But Pickens beat Sokol around a lapped car on the back straight to take the win.

Pickens landed the ride in the Accessman sponsored car when Ness – a double South Island Sprint Car champion – decided that business commitments prevented him from driving. The car was bought from US team Carnahan Motorsports after Jason Solwold won Baypark’s Outlaw event last January.
Ness took an opening night heat race win in it at Baypark in October.

The new plan is for Pickens to campaign the car for the rest of the season, meaning he’ll do double duty at some Western Springs meetings as he races the Don Kay Little Rippers Breka-Ed Pink Ford Midget – which he piloted to a commanding season opener feature win at Western Springs.

Pickens becomes the first frontline Western Springs racer to campaign Midget and Sprint cars simultaneously since speedway legend Barry Butterworth did so more than 20 years ago. However, he’s likely to concentrate solely on the Midget during the international series in January.
Pickens said the priority for his debut was ``to use my head and just get used to it.’’

``I spoke to a bunch of people to get as much information as possible. (Racing a sprint car is) definitely different but once you get used to the wing it’s not really a lot different.
``The Midget experience probably helped a bit tonight,” Pickens said. “The track was a bit rough and when I found a smoother line like you do in a Midget I was faster than the guys still running through the holes.’’

Having raced Midgets and wingless Sprint Cars in the US in recent years – as well as gaining test mileage in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck – the NZ sprint car drive broadens Pickens’ experience.

He’s already secured a 2007 US drive, shifting his talents to paved track stock cars with Urban Force Racing in the ASA Late Model Series.


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