A serious injury to Shane Penn put a dampener on the Palmerston North Panthers retaining their Superstock Teams' National title win over the Nelson Tigers at Waikaraka Park, Auckland, on Saturday night.
The close-knit team were more concerned about Penn's health after he was injured in a bruising semifinal with the Auckland Allstars, than their classy win.
Penn was in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition under sedation yesterday.
Palmerston North captain Scott Miers admitted the gloss was taken off the win with Penn's injury.
"It spoilt the whole weekend for all of us really," Miers said. "We were all pretty concerned after he was taken from the track to hospital."
" [Penn's wife] Phillipa spoke to me yesterday afternoon and he had improved from how he was on Sunday morning," Miers said.
"His memory must be all right because he remembered the entire crash."
Miers did an extra lap of honour, picking up the Penn's son Bradley who accepted the winner's trophy for his father.
"It was a great win by us in a field where any of the seven teams could win and it was important that Shane was part of it."
It was in Palmerston North's semifinal with the rejuvenated Auckland Allstars that Penn was punted off the end of the straight by young Auckland sensation Carl Hodge. After going hard sideways into the wall, Penn's car came to a stop. It took a few minutes to remove an unconscious Penn from the car.
Palmerston North won two ferocious group races on Friday night against the Rotorua Rebels and came out on top of a tight race with the Manawatu Mustangs to top the points.
In a re-match of the Teams Champs where Auckland beat Palmerston North, Palmerston North this time came out ahead setting up a final with the Nelson Tigers.
The final looked grim for Palmerston North with Dale Ewers and Dale McKenzie getting almost a half-lap lead until two brilliant pieces of blocking.
Scott Joblin, who had his best meeting in his two years in the team, shunted Ewers into the wall. Peter Rees then smashed McKenzie out of the race, handing the win to Peter Bengston with Scott Miers second.
The Mustangs beat the Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes for fifth place, but only narrowly lost their other two races, with teenagers Jack Miers and Asher Rees the standouts.
- Manawatu Standard