Driven families earn a reprieve
Three families will be breathing a sigh of relief after the draw for the Teams Champs was announced on Tuesday.
With a record 13 teams entered for the 33rd national teams champs at Arena Manawatu, starting tomorrow night, there was always the chance of the Palmerston North Panthers and the Manawatu Mustangs being drawn to face each other.
Fortunately they can't meet until Saturday's semifinals, which three families will be smiling about.
The Miers, Rees and Joblin families make up seven of the 10 drivers in the two teams. Scott Miers and Peter Rees will continue their reign with the Panthers while sons Jack Miers and Asher Rees debut for the Mustangs.
Scott Joblin is in the Panthers with brothers, Simon and Adam, in the Mustangs.
The Panthers have drawn the Stratford Scrappers and Wellington Wildcats; teams they should beat comfortably.
The Mustangs meet the seeded Rotorua Rebels in what should be a close battle, while the Mustangs should be too strong for the Waikato Wanderers.
Likely the most anticipated clash will see Rotorua face the returning Baypark Busters. With most of ther Baypark drivers contracted to Rotorua, there's no love lost between the teams or their fans.
The seeded Great Britain Lions have a tough first up clash against the hard-charging Wanganui Warriors, but should beat the Auckland Allstars comfortably.
The Panthers' sternest opposition in recent years, the Nelson Tigers, have an interesting first race against the Canterbury Glen Eagles led by Malcolm Ngatai. They should deal with the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes easily.
The top four points scorers from tomorrow's qualifying will meet in Saturday's semifinals.