Rookie Manawatu Mustangs driver William Humphries hasn't had much sleep this week as he readied himself for qualifying at the Teams Champs tonight.
The 19-year-old Humphries' rapid rise up the superstock ranks was completed earlier this week when named in the Manawatu team after Asher Rees moved up to the Palmerston North Panthers.
"I haven't slept that well since I got the phone call," Humphries said. "I'm pretty nervous, but excited at the same time."
"With all the hype around the teams' champs it would be strange if you weren't nervous."
It's always been Humphries' aim to race at the country's biggest speedway event.
"Having watched as a spectator for years, the teams champs has always been my big goal.
"The atmosphere is incredible and it will be a buzz right from the scrutineering in The Square to the huge crowds in the pits."
Despite all the changes to the Mustangs which have seen another 19-year-old Jordan Dare as well as Dave Tarrant join Adam Joblin and teenage captain Jack Miers in the team, Humphries said his team shouldn't be underestimated.
"We've all proven we're fast and we can hit as well."
Humphries has been following his father Craig since 2001, taking up youth ministocks as a 12-year-old. He moved into stockcars three years ago and has since become one of the stars, winning the Grand Prix and third in last year's national champs.
When a compressed fracture in Craig's back wouldn't heal, William didn't need a second invitation to drive the superstock.
They've been fastidiously checking everything on the car this week.
Humphries is also aware the Mustangs' opponents tonight, the Wanganui Warriors and Canterbury Gleneagles, are hard-hitting teams.
"They'll be a battle as they're probably two of the most aggressive teams; but we can do the same."
William Humphries would one of three drivers, including Jack Miers and Asher Rees, to emulate their fathers in winning the title. Craig captained the Mustangs to the title in 2005.
- © Fairfax NZ News