Cup’s status stirs winner
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.