Scott McLaughlin has entered the realm of team ownership, joining with a couple of good mates in a shot at winning Australian speedway's holy grail.McLaughlin is part of a star-studded ownership team who will field Australian World of Outlaws star James McFadden in the 50th anniversary edition of the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic next January in Warrnambool, Victoria.
Joining the IndyCar race winner is star Richmond AFL goalkicker, Jack Riewoldt, and leading sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley, who have invested in a passion project run by Warrnambool-born, Melbourne sports producer Tim Hodges.
“Firstly I'm a big fan of speedway and this is a cool concept and one we're all happy to have a bit of fun with,” McLaughlin said.
“James is a serious wheelman and we have some good people behind the scenes, so I feel the project is in great hands – thankfully my input is only small!”
“Tim is a great mate and has done a lot for me in the past and still helps me with some of my media, so I'll do anything for him and with him,” McLaughlin said.
“I love the fact we're a bunch of mates who are doing something cool together.
“I've never driven a sprint car – my dad has – but it's definitely on my bucket list. I'll try and get James to let me have a steer!”
McFadden, a two-time Classic winner, is set to return home after the World of Outlaws championship finished last weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He finished this season seventh in the Outlaws standings.
“I love this deal and love that we have some high-profile people who will help bring some more eyeballs to our sport,” McFadden said.
“To win the 50th Classic together would be something really damn cool.”
NAPA Auto Parts will support two cars for the 2023 Classic – McFadden will lead local hopes up against newly crowned four-time World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet.
The star American will race for WA based Landrigan Motorsport in Warrnambool.
“I'm really looking forward to heading back down under, it's been a few years and I love Australia and its fans,” Sweet said.
“I have some great friends that are Aussies, including James McFadden – I'm looking forward to beating him on his home turf.”
Mitch Wiley, head of sponsorship, NAPA Auto Parts Asia Pacific, says the rivalry is salivating .
“To have American hero Brad Sweet coming to our shores and compete in the biggest Sprintcar race is awesome, but equally, we are proud to work with Tim Hodges and his team that have put together the absolute best entry on offer – local Warrnambool driver James McFadden – in another NAPA Auto Parts car,” Wiley said.
“It all sets up an amazing NAPA Australia v NAPA America battle on our home soil, at Australia's greatest sprint car race, and we can't wait to help celebrate this with all of the speedway and motorsport fans in January.”
The three-night Classic begins January 27 at Premier Speedway.