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Wilson wins Sprint Car crown


Aucklander Carll Wilson shakes off a run of bad luck to take Sprint Car racing's premier title.

 Aucklander Carl Wilson is the 2008 New Zealand Sprint Car Champion.

Wilson (34) won the crown at Mt Maunganui’s Baypark Speedway this month.

He started the 25-lap championship final from pole but didn’t take the lead until lap 14.

Following a lap two restart, Hamilton’s Dean Brindle was the early pace-setter until he was passed by Salter Motorsport teammate Kerry Jones (Waiuku) on lap seven.

Jones then lost the lead on lap 13 when he nudged the lapped car of Paul Donovan and almost spun, allowing Brindle, Wilson and Greg Pickerill (Hamilton) ahead.

Wilson grabbed the lead from Brindle a lap later and had taken the white flag moments before Brindle stopped on the track with a broken front wing completely obscuring his vision.

That brought on the caution lights for the first time since lap two and set up a two-lap sprint in which Wilson made no mistake to secure the title. Jones leapt from fourth to second ahead of Aucklander Philip Game.

The race was staged on a slick and dusty track that suited drivers who could run the top groove in the early laps but the low line became favourable from mid-race.

Game started eighth and made his progress in the second half of the race to claim his podium finish. Pickerill had challenged Wilson just before the final caution but he made contact with the leader and finished the race with his right front tyre going down.

New Plymouth’s Skinny Colson raced from grid 13 to finish fifth ahead of US racer Ricky Logan, Hamilton’s Tom Rusher and eight-time champion Allan Wakeling who started from grid three but slipped back in the pack.

Brindle was the only retirement from the 22-car field until a four-car crash on the back straight moments after Wilson had taken the chequered flag. Involved were Ossie Sokol (Auckland), Ben Finemore (Tauranga), Lindsay Gilbert (Christchurch) and Laz Meszaros (Tokoroa).

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