AUSSIE PRO STOCK TEAM LANDS AMERICAN CONNECTION
ANDRA Pro Stock points leader Jason Grima will be fielding a two car assault for the first time at the 42nd annual Westernationals at Perth Motorplex.
Grima will steer the ‘black’ PC Group Ford Mustang while US racer Brandon Huhtala will make his Australian Pro Stock debut in the ‘blue’ Mustang.
Huhtala, a resident of Seattle, Washington, is no stranger to Australian shores, having spent time crew chiefing for Grima and also winning the 2012 Nitro Champs in the Super Stock category when he drove for another local team owner.
"Bringing Brandon Huhtala in, to not only crew chief both cars, but to drive the blue car (pictured below), will be a huge asset to our team,” Grima said. “Not only will this help with performance data, but it will also give us some driving insight.
"Brandon was influential in helping our team set the ANDRA Pro Stock national record in Sydney last year, but he is also an ace driver in the USA and will be able to give great feedback on track conditions from driving our second Mustang."
The Westernationals will feature the third round of the Championship and Grima wants to extend his 30 point lead over number two Aaron Tremayne.
The Australian Nationals, which was held last year at Sydney Dragway, gave race fans a hint of the potential of the PC Group Ford Mustang. Under the watchful eye of Huhtala, Grima was in dominating form.
During qualifying he became the quickest and fastest Pro Stock racer in the country with a 6.982 at 195.79 mph, only the second time a Pro Stock car has been into the sixes in Australia’s 400 cubic inch format.
He then went through to the finals where a red light unfortunately handed him the runner-up position.
Huhtala won’t be the only USA influence in the Grima pit area with NHRA Pro Stock driver and former NHRA Junior Dragster national champion Grace Howell also in attendance with the team.
A little known fact is that Howell has actually raced in Australia for, the first time being in 1999 where she attended the ANDRA Junior Dragster Titles, winning the 8.50 division in a car owned by the Adams family of Brisbane.
"I'm really excited to be back in Australia, consulting with the JGM team and exploring driving opportunities in Australia", says Howell. "I would certainly love to have the chance to bring another ANDRA trophy back to the USA."
Grima acknowledges he is taking on a lot in Perth – especially given the 4000km distance to his home base.
“This trip to Perth is going to be huge for the Jason Grima Motorsports team,” he said. “Of course we would like both cars to go to the finals but my main focus gain as many points as possible and stay in the points lead.”
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