It's a family affair for McKinnel
@SearleJamie: A supportive family has kept Ross McKinnel in sprintcar racing.
McKinnel, of Invercargill, is one of 16 competing in the South Island Sprintcar Champs at Riverside Speedway tonight. He will be back tomorrow night for the Sprintcar War of the Wings.
"It's good my family supports me, otherwise it's a bit selfish. They are my main motivation," McKinnel said.
Wife Julie is a grade rep at both meetings. The role is basically being a messenger between race officials and drivers.
The McKinnels' son, Daniel, 23, does alterations and mechanical work on his father's car; and daughter Aimee keeps the vehicle clean.
Daniel's partner, Brooke, checks tyre pressures, while Aimee's partner, Garry, also lends a hand at race meetings.
Aimee's 4-year-old daughter Piper and 8-month-old son Ryder are on the grass banks of Riverside Speedway watching their grandad race.
"If there's a problem with the car, they all help out," Ross McKinnel said of his family.
Driving on the track was relaxing, he added. "It's a good buzz. A good way to unwind after a stressful week."
Other Southland drivers competing at Riverside tonight include Kyle Shearing, Russell Jack and Nigel Colvin.
The South Island sprintcar champion Jason Scott (Cromwell) is also in the starting lineup. Most of the cars will back up tomorrow night.
"It depends on how much carnage is done on Friday," McKinnel said.
The occupations of drivers competing include a restaurant owner, a quarry manager, builders, tree topping, farming, earth moving and excavator contractors, a concrete business owner and a panelbeater.
- The Southland Times