5th JANUARY 2013
New Zealand title time, the biggest event of the 2012/13 Sprintcar Calendar held at Western Springs this year in front of an absolutely massive crowd. The Vernon & Vazey / ENZED team ready to take on 26 of the best driver’s through-out the country including 3 top USA drivers.
Talking with Daniel before the meeting he mentions, “Initially it’s all about finishing the heats to secure a spot in the top 20 which make the 35 lap feature; we’ll be giving it all we’ve got. This event has been in my mind for a while now, being my favourite track I certainly hope we can get a decent result for our sponsors, fans & team.”
The track wasn’t much different to last meeting being very slimy in the first heat; unfortunately Daniel drew a high grid which would be a disadvantage on such a track early in the night trying to move forward obtaining valuable points which he would be unable to do so in his 2nd heat starting from the front.
Off grid 12 in heat one Daniel was on fire, successfully moving forward right up into 6th position across the line, a very good finish from a near rear start on difficult track conditions.
Grid 1 for the send heat Daniel didn’t get the jump on the start slipping into 2nd and back into 3rd while trying to challenge for the lead. Daniel pressed on to regain a spot now into 2nd and chased down the leader but couldn’t get past crossing the line 2nd.
The 35 lap feature would prove a challenge for drivers both mentally and physically, team’s setups would be crucial in getting the car to work through-out the race as the 90 litre fuel load burnt off. Be-time the feature came round the track was very hard and slick down low with a top grove dangerously close to the wall. Daniel who typically likes running low through the slower but lesser distance slick part of the track decided against this as well as the rest of the team that up high is where they needed to run and chose to set the car up to be more comfortable around the top, but wouldn’t work as well down low.
With Daniel and 2 other drivers on equal points for 4th position, Daniel was shuffled back to start grid 6.
Off the start Daniel worked the high line moving up into 4th before spinning, but managing to carry on he lost 2 spots back into 6th. Daniel kept up high and clawed his way back into 4th, making his way through lapped traffic considerably well. Daniel continued to pull in 3rd position when leader Jonathan Allard (USA) has engine trouble having to retire, stopped in the middle of the track a yellow was brought out with just 2 laps to go. Off the restart Daniel had 2nd and 3rd insight but with lapped cars staying in grid 2 of them lay between Daniel and a podium finish, Green flag and Daniel made a big move around the outside of both lapped cars narrowly squeezing between them and the wall out of turn 2. Last lap and Daniel got round the #71A car of Jamie McDonald into 3rd and almost into the 2nd position off turn 4, the Vernon & Vazey / ENZED car took the chequered in 3rd position claiming a well-deserved 3NZ title!