An iconic livery of NASCAR history, the #8 of Dale Earnhardt Jnr, will be racing when the Stock Cars Australia (SCA) National Series returns to its spiritual Aussie home, Calder Park Raceway, for the Victorian Motor Racing Championship event this weekend.
The car is owned by former automotive and V8 Supercars engineer Richard White, who joined the series last year.
Meanwhile, the #8 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is an ex-Winston cup car that raced in America, before being imported to Australia by Graham Booth in 2012, ahead of the formation of the Stock Cars Australia National Series by Brian Walden in 2013.
White recently purchased the Monte Carlo from Aaron Hills in Sydney who raced it in SCA, and then had it wrapped in the Budweiser livery as raced by Earnhardt Jnr.
White also owns a Chevrolet Lumina, a former Brad Jones and Bob Jane ride car at the Calder Park Thunderdome. Prior to White purchasing it, Brisbane-based Brett Baker restored it and painted it in a black #3 livery that pays homage to Earnhardt Snr’s 1990 Winston Cup-winning NASCAR.
“Seeing as I had one car paying tribute to Dale Snr, it made sense to wrap the other car in colours representing Dale Jnr – they’re both such iconic NASCAR drivers,” White said.
For the Calder Park round, White will drive the #8 Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry. The original plan was for Stock Cars Australia category manager Zac O’Hara to pilot the #3 Chevrolet Lumina, but an engine problem in testing has seen that car withdrawn for the event.
“Zac has done an enormous amount to help not just me, but the category as a whole, so it’s disappointing we weren’t able to have the #3 car ready for him to race,” White said.
“He has put in a mammoth effort to get these old Stock Cars out of sheds and onto race tracks, and the numbers are the healthiest they have been for a long time.”
Even despite the absence of the #3 Lumina, the Calder Park round is shaping up to be one of the largest gatherings of race-prepared Stock Cars for many years, with 16 cars expected to line up on the grid, including a couple of competitors who are making the trek from Western Australia.
“It’s a nice homecoming for Stock Cars, which have a long and famous history at Calder Park,” O’Hara said.
“Scott Nind was the front-runner last year, but Brett Mitchell is back with a new engine in his OzTruck, so I expect he’ll give Scott a run for his money.
“We’ve also got the Hourigan brothers, Brendon and Josh running – they’ll both be fast, and a couple of AUSCARs in the mix as well.”
White, who is based in nearby Ballarat, is also excited about hitting the track at Calder Park.
“Having the homecoming of Stock Cars to Calder Park is quite special, and lots of our competitors and fans really want to be part of it. It’s all about celebrating the history of the cars, but I think we’ll put on a decent show on the track as well,” he said.
“As a teenager I spent many nights watching the Stock Sars at Calder under lights on the Thunderdome, and was lucky enough to help on a team as well.”
This weekend will include four races on the national flat track over the Saturday and Sunday as well as parade laps on the Thunderdome.