DESPITE only contesting 10 shows the 2017-18 sprintcar season was a successful one for Mandurah racer Adrian Haywood. � He has just completed his second season behind the wheel of the Plus Fitness entry and there were plenty of positives from the outings – highlighted by a second placing in the Australian 360 Sprintcar Championship at the Perth Motorplex in March. � Heading into the season the 37-year-old’s goals were simple – improve on his rookie season and build on a strong fifth in qualifying at the Australian title from that first summer. � In his maiden championship Haywood failed to finish and ironically this year he qualified fifth again – but this time finished on the podium. � The second placing in the title tilt exceeded the Plus Fitness racer’s expectations and showed what he was capable of with more seat time. � �“From a team perspective the goal was to get better as a team where everyone knew their role and jobs just happen seamlessly,” Haywood said. � “Each night we just wanted to get better together. � “The more we raced, the better everyone got at their jobs with (crew chief) Brenton Puddey, Grant Bevan and myself gelling and understanding each other more.” � Puddey has crewed for some of the biggest names in Australian sprintcar racing and having him in Haywood’s corner is a major bonus, giving Haywood the confidence, as well as setting up the car right for different race conditions.
Another huge asset is Grant Bevan, a former 360 & 410 Sprintcar racer himself, he understands the demands both on the track and in the shed. � “It gives me a lot of confidence when�they�me I am going alright,” Haywood said. � Apart from the Australian 360 title, the aim was to get better with each outing and not get in anyone else’s way. � �“Overall the season was a massive success as we didn’t wreck anything and we earnt the respect of other competitors, as well as organisers and officials – we didn’t cause any problems.” � It has given the team a solid springboard for next season that will see Haywood focus on the full AHG Sprintcar Series for the open class, and possibly a short stint on the east coast, depending on the release of the new racing calendar. � A new Maxim chassis will be built as a back-up to the one they already have and they will be powered by two recently-acquired KRE motors. � “We will have some new stuff�arriving from the ‘States�in the off-season and we are rebuilding the truck that will also be rebranded and look the part,” Haywood said. � The team is working hard in the off-season to prepare everything and make it easier when the busy racing season starts in October. � Racing at the highest sprintcar level is not easy and to do it properly is not possible without some great support. � The first person Haywood has recognised is wife Ange. � “She is the biggest person to thank for sure,” he said. � “For me (sprintcars) is a selfish sport and it’s been a dream of mine for a long time. � “Ange acknowledges how important it is to me and I can’t thank her enough for her support.” � The guys in the crew – Brenton Puddey, Grant Bevan, Phil Crofts and his sons Alex and Ryan, Dan Horton, Jayson ‘Juddy’ Mann, as well as his own son Sunny – have also been singled out. � And then of course there are the sponsors – Plus Fitness�(special mention to Steve and Kerry Wilson for their extra support), Aberna, NCA Accounting, Watsons Express Transport, Scardifields Smash Repairs and Boatland Mandurah who provide the corporate support.