Fan Panel: Jamie Larsen | From December 2019 issue

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Andy Armstrong

What made you get into racing and what have been your biggest moments in your race career so far?

My father has always been into speedway racing and raced his own Saloon. I counted down the days before I could get my first Ministock.

Winning the NZ Sprintcar title at Ruapuna in 2017 has got to be my biggest moment. The car went backwards during the race before the track managed to come on form for our setup. We made a comeback and got the win.

Racing against team USA at the Western Springs International meeting. It was a tie for points and I had the fastest lap time to get team NZ over the line for the win.

Symon Matthewson

With the support from family, friends & sponsors etc, did you ever think you would be so successful at this stage of your racing career?

There is no way our team could operate or be as successful without the backing and support from our sponsors, family and friends. It’s a real team effort. So much goes into preparing the car for each meeting and the washup on Sunday before flying home is always all hands on deck. We have had a lot of success come very early on in our Sprintcar career and I purely put this down to our team, my crew chief Darryl Claydon and the people that surround and support me. I’m a very competitive person and take speedway racing as a whole seriously. So, success is key to having a happy and motivated team as well.

Debbie Rowe

What’s your favourite track?

Ruapuna hands down! The shape of the Ruapuna track is well suited to Sprintcar racing and the crew there put so much into preparing a really good racing surface. Everyone is so friendly and hospitable. We always have a great time when we race at Ruapuna and get along with the club very well.

Ben Crowe

Is racing in the US on the radar for yourself?

It would be a dream of mine to race in the USA. Unfortunately, our racing budget will not allow us to race in both the USA and NZ. I would have to forgo a season of racing in NZ to make that happen at this stage. I have been to the USA to crew for fellow rival Jamie Duff and had a great time and think our style and team would fit right in for some good racing.

David McDonald

You’ve got to be excited about racing at Baypark against the USA drivers, with it being the fastest track in New Zealand… what’s your thoughts?

Baypark is a great track and we thoroughly enjoy the high speed it has to offer. Getting a real feeling of what the wings on top can really do to a Sprintcar. Last season, we dropped to second place in the late closing laps to Shane Stewart so I know a win is on the cards for an international event. Gotta get my ducks in a row and I say bring it on!

Jacob Close / Jason Selbie

How do you feel about the overseas drivers coming over to New Zealand and winning the titles?

Personally, I would prefer it if an overseas drivers were not allowed to race at the NZ title only. It is great for the fans to follow a 1NZ, 2NZ and 3NZ around for the season and it gives us New Zealand drivers who do a fraction of the racing a chance to feel great success and potential to gain new sponsors to run our cars. However, I see the other side of the coin from a promotions perspective. I love racing international drivers purely for the fact of the experience they bring and we feel that we can learn from that and get better as a driver and team.

Megan & Shayne Towers

Rumour has it you have a nitro Custom 4×4 trials truck on order because this is your last season running the Sprintcar?

Haha! Both my mother and father competed in national 4x4ing on a top scale and I would love to continue that family success one day. However, I will continue to run the Sprintcar as long as I am able to do so. I enjoy having a change of code as a special appearance and if i could, I would do both. Thanks for the off season drive Towers Family!

Dean Shadbolt

Who is your favourite competitor?

That’s a tough one. There are a lot of great competitors on and off the track. We have made so many lifetime friends in the Sprintcar class over the short duration we have been racing. I would have to say my biggest rival would be Michael Pickens. We have some great battles on track and he sets the bar very high.

Rob Mcewan

How did you rate last year’s NZ’s? And how tough was Buddy Kofoid did it raise your game?

Last year’s New Zealand champs would have to rate up there with my top still being at Ruapuna 2017. Cromwell has always been an awesome track to race on given its unique shape and the banking it has to offer. We had our biggest crack at him in the NZ Champs pulling alongside to try and pass for the lead in lap traffic but he was quick! Buddy was a great clean competitor to race with and to finish second behind him in four meetings in a row was a credit to our team. We learnt a few bits and bobs along the way and wish Buddy all the best in his USA season and hope to see him flying the 1nz on the wing some time.

Jacob Buckrell

What made you get in to Open Wheel racing?

The high speed adrenaline you get and the thought of someone trying to take you out if you are leading a race or a championship would do my head in. As much as I love watching Superstocks and have been fortunate enough to have a few drives in various cars, Sprintcar racing is still the icing on the cake for me and my driving style. Since racing Ministocks at a young age and watching the Outlaw drivers come to NZ I have always wanted to drive Sprintcars and the Minisprint class provided me with a great stepping stone and learning curve to be able to reach that goal and be successful.