Queenslander Rusty Whittaker is preparing to use learnings throughout the back half of last season in Speedcars with the Neilson Motorsport team to hit the ground running for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The 23-year-old racer has been with the Neilson Motorsport team for three and a half seasons now and took an excellent sixth place in the Australian Championship on the Warrnambool high banks of Premier Speedway just before the Coronavirus shutdown, which crippled speedways around the country.
In addition to strong finish in the Australian Championship, Whittaker won the ATRS Archerfield Midget Series - the sixth for the Neilson Motorsport owner, Dwayne Neilson as a car owner and the third for Whittaker throughout his career.
The team also finished second in both the Queensland Championship and the Club Championship, while securing third place in the Toowoomba Highbank Hustle.
The Coronavirus shut down Whittaker feels came just as changes they had been implementing throughout the season were starting to come to fruition. The extended time away from the track has allowed them to refocus and prepare the Qld # 89 Steelmart - Sunshine Coast backed BOSS chassis/Esslinger combination to come out the blocks strong when the season returns.
While winning the Series and being a front runner in Queensland, Whittaker is hungry for more success. He believes Neilson Motorsport improved markedly throughout the 2019-2020 season in planning their race night out and focusing on their setup for feature races, not just the shorter bursts.
"The team and I enjoyed a great season, where we have achieved a lot of pleasing results and had a lot of fun in the process," said Whittaker.
"One of the big areas we have improved on is getting our car quicker for later in the night. In the past, we have had the car that has been great over short distances and then struggled, to a degree, for consistent speed in the longer distances. The team has been working hard on turning that around and I feel that our results from this season just gone have seen us made a number of massive gains in that area."
For Whittaker - who early in his young career emulated his father, Sid in winning a Queensland Championship - the focus is on the Australian Championship - which will form part of a blockbuster final season at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway in NSW over the weekend of February 25-27.
The Neilson team will not only focus on local racing in Queensland but will also incorporate several events in Sydney to get dialled in for that last weekend in February.
Whittaker is looking to use the knowledge the team gained throughout the 2019-2020 season to be a contender for the Australian Championship.
"With last season's campaign cut short due to the coronavirus lockdown, I'm really looking forward to getting the full season in," he enthused.
"Apart from running the big events in my home state, we are planning to make as many trips as possible down to Sydney to get prepared for the Australian Championship that is going to be held there.
“After last season's pleasing Australian Championship result, the goal for the team and I is to not only back up that result (sixth) but hopefully improve on it."
The Neilson Motorsport team and Whittaker are supported in the 2019-20 season by:
Steelmart - Sunshine Coast
Craig Thompson Machining
Craig Thompson Esslingers
JD Machinery Maintenance
Walker Filtration Air Filters
The Rewa Neilsons
The Williams Family
GSA Advanced Machining
American Tire & Racing Services
BOSS Chassis Australia
Kempy Race Pipes
Exhaust Notes Australia
Wayne Randall Bobcat & Excavation Hire
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