My first National Hot Rod World Final experience came back in 2000 when I was 10 years old and just starting out in my career in oval racing.
I was blown away by the sound, speed and atmosphere of it all. From that minute on I knew that I wanted to compete in that race.
Fast-forward 11 years to 2011, and after four years of trying, my dream came true.
We qualified for the biggest race of the year. It turned into a disaster and I retired after a few laps with damage but it had been absolutely everything I had dreamed of.
This weekend will be my fifth World Final and it still has the same excitement for me now. After saying I was going to quit earlier in the year – and missing a round at Ipswich – the lure of the ‘big race’ was just too much and I soon found myself back out and racing again.
I was lucky enough to qualify and, in the last few weeks, my dad, our friend Mork and me retreat to the garage every spare minute we have.
The car has been stripped, everything checked, cleaned, checked again and put back together. It has been treated to a fresh coat of paint and some new stickers.
With only a few days left we are going to begin the job of setting the suspension up. It was a long and tedious task, but arguably the most important part of race car preparation. Then it will be time for one final polish before being loaded in the lorry and heading off to Ipswich.
Qualifying will be on Saturday Morning with the quickest car on pole for the 75-lap race on Sunday. Thirty-eight cars from all over the UK, Ireland, Holland, Germany and South Africa, each with 250bhp, weighing only 700kgs and all packed onto a quarter-mile oval will guarantee action from start to finish. With so many quick cars at the moment it really could be anyone’s race.
No matter where I am on the grid, come Sunday morning the 10-year-old inside me will be shaking with excitement as the green flag drops. Let’s hope it is a good one.