• There was plenty of reason to celebrate for youngster Nick Penno at Carrick Speedway on Saturday night, after he impressively broke through for his maiden 410 Sprintcar feature-race victory.

    It’s been a season of firsts for Penno, who clinched his first ever podium in the Tasmanian Title at Carrick Speedway back in January, impressively coming home third in the feature race after starting from position 11. However, last Saturday night he managed to reach new heights again, this time finding himself on the top step of the podium.

    Qualifying on the inside of the third row for the 30-lap feature race, the 19-year-old racer was lucky to keep out of trouble during the initial start, with contact ahead of him between Jason Redpath and Jock Goodyer resulting in a full restart, subsequently elevating Penno to third place.

    Wasting no time off the restart, Penno launched himself into second during the opening laps, before setting his sights on pacesetter Adam Alexander, taking control of the lead on lap seven, after Alexander hit an infield tyre, which eliminated him from the race.

    Knowing that Jamie Bricknell was hot on his heels in the latter half of the race, Penno utilised the pole line to navigate lapped traffic, which allowed him to create a decent gap from Bricknell, with Penno eventually going on to claim what was a convincing win aboard his Tas # 48 Go Hard Concreting supported Eagle.

    “We haven’t really been chasing a win, but more just trying to be consistent and finish the feature race each week, so to come away with my first one after three seasons in the class is an awesome achievement and one that’s still sinking in,” commented Penno, who struggled slightly during time trials, placing seventh, before coming home third and sixth in his earlier heat races.

    “It’s all about practice and track time and I think the experience that we’ve gained over the past three seasons is definitely starting to pay off.”

    From Launceston in Tasmania, Penno originally began his competitive racing career in the Junior Sedans class, where he spent three seasons learning as much as he could and building his race craft, along with achieving his maiden feature-race win.

    With his dad Nick Anderson having raced 410 Sprintcars for four seasons prior to his son stepping into the car, Penno’s transition from Junior Sedans into Sprintcars was a simple one, with the youngster stepping into an Eagle car, while his dad made the move into Street Stocks, where he still currently races.

    Making his 410 Sprintcar debut in the 2015-16 season after a handful of practice sessions, Penno adjusted to the class quickly with the help of Jason Dawkins, who crewed for him for the full Tasmanian season, passing on some valuable knowledge.

    Travelling to the mainland during his second season to contest the Easter Trail throughout Victoria and South Australia, Penno gained a great insight into the fierce mainland competition and was able to accrue some worthwhile experience on unfamiliar tracks, while also coming away with a heat-race win at the Borderline Speedway (SA) round.

    Another highlight was starting last season’s Tasmanian Title from eighth and going on to earn a pole-position start for the feature race. Penno led the Tasmanian Title-deciding race for 15 laps before unfortunately spinning out and finishing further back in the field.

    Having raced the Eagle car that his dad had originally purchased from Tim Hutchins for the past three race meetings, Penno has two more shows remaining for the 2017-18 season at Latrobe’s Gulf Western & Independent Oils Raceway and Hobart Speedway this Saturday night and on the Saturday night of April 21.

    Penno hopes to be able to return to the mainland next season to contest the Easter Trail and the prestigious Grand Annual Classic; however, this will be dependent on budget.

    Penno is proudly supported in the 2017-18 season by: Go Hard Concreting, Chris Watkins Removals, RSK Pump Hire, Hanson Concrete, and Custom World Autos. Special thanks go to his dad (Nick), mum (Cindy), along with his pit crew Samuel, Wade, Samantha, Jacob and Aaron.

    To find out more about Penno and his team, LIKE them on Facebook by searching Gohard Motorsport T48.
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