Cup’s sta­tus stirs win­ner

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Dal­tons driver Peter Murphy has won the New Zealand Sprint­car Cham­pi­onship at West­ern Springs af­ter a close bat­tle with Amer­i­can Jonathan Al­lard.

Both drivers, who com­pete reg­u­larly in Cal­i­for­nia, qual­i­fied on the front row from the heats with Al­lard tak­ing the lead on the first turn. He held the lead for most of the race de­spite a few big at­tempts from Murphy, un­til a spec­tac­u­lar en­gine fail­ure with two laps to go.

Murphy was out in front from the restart and was un­touch­able as he fin­ished with his first New Zealand cham­pi­onship.

Speak­ing from his home in Fresno, Cal­i­for­nia, Murphy said he was lucky to win in the end.

‘‘Jonathan won 33 laps but the race was 35 and we were there to fin­ish. We had our own lit­tle dra­mas go­ing on within the race but ev­ery­one has their own is­sues.

‘‘We were ob­vi­ously very happy with how we fin­ished ... there was noth­ing more we could wish for really.

‘‘Ev­ery­one did a good job, our whole team is very well-versed on what we need to do to ac­com­plish our goals.’’

It was the sec­ond time Murphy has con­tended for the cham­pion- ship and win­ning was the per­fect way to end the sea­son, he said.

‘‘To win this race, it’s not so much about money, it’s about the pres­tige and the names that have gone on that cup be­fore my name.

‘‘Some New Zealan­ders that are very re­spected are on that cup.

‘‘It’s an hon­our to win it for sure.’’

Dal­tons gen­eral man­ager Colin Parker said they were proud to be part of the win.

‘‘It’s pretty cool, it might be a once-in-a-life­time event. We are pretty chuffed.

‘‘ What­ever he says, Pete thor­oughly de­served to win. Crew chief Chris At­tkisson de­serves a lot of credit as well.’’

Murphy has raced for Dal­tons for three sea­sons and will re­turn next sum­mer to de­fend his ti­tle.

‘‘We were happy to be there, happy to win and we will see if we can do it again next year,’’ he said.

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