The TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek has reached the business end of the season with the penultimate round of the championship at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend, the series’ second visit to the circuit this year headlining the Round 5 of the Australian Motor Racing Series.
A strong 20 car field will take to the track as the series welcomes returning New South Wales-based drivers Michael Coulter, Aaron Tebb, Hayden Jackson and Barry Kelleher.
After a clean sweep of the last event at Queensland Raceway, NAPA Auto Parts driver Jett Johnson holds a commanding lead of 124 points over IES Motorsport’s Graham Cheney and Nicholas Bates, with 440 points still up for grabs in the final two rounds.
This event doubles as Round 4 of the Southern Series and the final round of the Northern Series. The Northern Series has come down to a three-way fight for the title between Cheney, Mark Crutcher and Nick Lange, with Cheney holding the lead going into the round by 22 points over Crutcher.
Speedway legend Kelleher, 77, returns to the track following a hip-replacement surgery earlier this year and will resume his efforts in the Masters class, where he races against former sprintcar rival Mick Rowell.
New South Welshman Nicholas Bates leads the Masters class by 38 points over Crutcher, with the pair set to continue their battle this weekend.
The Masters class will also be hotly contested by the returning Dean Lindstrom, who claimed class honours on debut at Round 3 at The Bend in April.
After a stellar debut at Queensland Raceway to finish fourth outright, MVA Racing’s Brad Gartner returns for Round 5 and will be looking to close in on the likes of Johnson, Josh Haynes and Zach Loscialpo.
Pro class contenders Lee Stibbs and Masters competitors Warren Wadley, Anthony Tenkate, Peter Robinson, Mick Rowell, John Holinger and Paul Hadley complete the field for this weekend’s event.
The TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek will have four races at Sydney Motorsport Park, with the first three over 12 laps and a 15-lap finale. Track action kicks off on Friday for practice, before Qualifying on Saturday at 9:30am followed by a Top 10 Shootout.
Sunday’s action will be livestreamed on the TA2 Racing Australia and AMRS facebook pages.
Jett Johnson, driver #117 NAPA Auto Parts Ford Mustang
“Last time we were here I made quite a few mistakes while trying to learn the track. We went back and reviewed everything so I’ll be looking to tidy myself up a bit more this weekend. We’ve got a good starting point so I’m feeling pretty confident going into the weekend.
“I’ve got a decent lead in the championship at the moment so as long as I keep finishing races, it doesn’t have to be winning races, just finishing consistently in the top five and hopefully I can be in a position to win the championship.”
Barry Kelleher, driver #3 Ford Mustang
“We’ve been hard at it, we’ve got new tyres, new shocks and I’ve done some work on my driving as well.
“I’ve never had a coaching lesson before but I had Tim Brook come and look at my telemetry and pointed out I wasn’t pressing the brake pedal hard enough, because I’m 77 and had a hip replacement recently and your bones aren’t as strong when you get to my age, and these cars don’t have a booster so it’s a fairly heavy pedal. I’ve made some changes and hopefully that will help me slow down a bit better.
“I raced in the 80s, in 85 in the Grand National against Mick Rowell and then in Sprintcars. Funnily enough Mick would say ‘Barry Kelleher’s the guy I had the biggest accident of my life with’. We were at Parramatta down the back straight, I pulled down on him and he drove over my back wheels and hit the top of my roll cage and kept going up. We junked the chassis and I apologised, it was a racing incident but we both remember it!
“I’m finding it a bit hard after years and years of speedway to go road racing and you hit a brick wall with your lap times. I’m happy being out there, I’ve done a few Sports Sedan and Stock Car races this year in it, so I’m active, anything at Eastern Creek where I can race I’ll hop in it and go racing.
“They’re low-maintenance, wonderful cars and it’s getting pretty serious. There will be sheep stations on the line with Mick Rowell and I this weekend!”
2022 TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek
Northern Series, Round 5 – Sydney Motorsport Park, Sept 30 – Oct 2
Practice 1 – 8:55am (20 minutes)
Practice 2 – 10:35am (20 minutes)
Practice 3 – 1:15pm (20 minutes)
Practice 2 – 2:55pm (20 minutes)
Qualifying – 9:30am (20 minutes)
Top 10 Shootout – 11:35am
Race 1 – 2:17pm (12 laps)
Race 2 – 8:50am (12 laps)
Race 3 – 11:20am (12 laps)
Race 4 – 2:30pm (15 laps)
2022 TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek
Round 5 – Sydney Motorsport Park, Sept 30 – Oct 2
MASTERS, #3 Barry Kelleher (NSW), Ford Mustang
MASTERS, #4 Mark Crutcher (NSW), Ford Mustang – Crutcher Developments
MASTERS, #9 Warren Wadley (QLD), Ford Mustang – Wadley Property Group
MASTERS, #10 Peter Robinson (QLD), Dodge Challenger – Wagner Corporation
PRO, #11 Michael Coulter (NSW), Ford Mustang – Kobelco/Sydney Truck & Machinery
MASTERS, #15 Michael Rowell (QLD), Ford Mustang – Pacific Petroleum/Carroll Tyres
PRO, #17 Josh Haynes (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro – Elvin Group
PRO, #21 Zach Loscialpo (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro – Tempest Solutions
PRO, #22 Brad Gartner (SA), Ford Mustang – Castec Rural Supplies
MASTERS, #23 John Holinger (VIC), Chevrolet Camaro – Holinger Racing
MASTERS, #24 Nicholas Bates (NSW), Ford Mustang – Nicholas Bates Motorsport
PRO, #28 Lee Stibbs (SA), Ford Mustang – MVA Racing/Arrow Car Sales
MASTERS, #30 Dean Lindstrom (SA), Ford Mustang – TDP Mobile Services
PRO, #48 Nick Lange, Chevrolet Camaro – Whitsundays Holiday Rentals
MASTERS, #50 Paul Hadley (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro – Illawarra Engineering Services
PRO, #51 Graham Cheney (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro – Illawarra Engineering Services
MASTERS, #69 Anthony Tenkate (QLD), Ford Mustang – Tenkate Plant Hire
PRO, #81 Hayden Jackson (NSW), Dodge Challenger – Team RSG
PRO, #93 Aaron Tebb (NSW), Chevrolet Camaro – Waltec Motorsport
PRO, #117 Jett Johnson (QLD), Ford Mustang – NAPA Auto Parts