Kiwi speedway racer Michael Pickens proved he is world-class by finishing third in the NSAC Indiana Speed Week earlier this week.
The Aucklander narrowly missed winning the week-long series against the best midget drivers in the world; instead he came away with some race wins and third overall.
“We set the bar pretty high,” Pickens said. “We won four races and there should have been a fifth. We ran solid just about every night. We got taken out once and missed the set-up one night but overall we are absolutely stoked.
“It is a pretty tall order to bring a race team over to the other side of the world and race against the world’s best. Credit to all the guys in the crew – they have done a really good job with the car.”
The Indiana Speed Week featured the biggest names in the sport including speedway-turned-Nascar star Kyle Larson and Pickens was able to match anything he came up against.
“He [Larson] is the world’s best and we beat him both nights so that was pretty special,” Pickens said. “The biggest difference is it is professional in the US where it isn’t back home. We’d be lucky to race 20 times in the summer whereas over here the drivers drive all sorts of cars and might drive 100 times a year.
“There is a big difference with how many laps these guys do and it makes them hard to beat.”
It wasn’t an easy job getting the funding to take the car over but with the help of team owners Brett and Leigh Morris and some generous supporters Pickens was able to take on the best in the world.
“We decided to set up a crowd-funding campaign through Givealittle,” he said.
“We got the most incredible response from people that just wanted to get behind a Kiwi team going overseas and taking on the best.
“It is pretty nice to be able to justify what we asked for with a couple of wins.
“It would be nice to think that I could come back and do it again. If not in that car, then in another one.”.”