A sparkling debut by rookie Kris 'Killa' Walton in the penultimate round of the 2011 Auto One V8 Ute Racing Series - protected by Armor All at Sandown a fortnight ago has resulted in a much needed partnership with restoration parts specialist Rare Spares to compete at the Sydney Telstra 500 meeting this weekend.
31 year old Walton caused a sensation at the recent Sandown round by winning what was only his second ever V8 Ute race, after starting from a lowly 16th position on the grid following a wet and drama-filled first race.
Proving his winning speed was no fluke, Walton then finished a close runner-up to V8 Supercar ace Cameron McConville in the final heat.
The flying Queensland rookie also claimed fastest lap honours in two of the three races held, and earlier had been on track to take pole position until a red flag came out and his time was disallowed.
Despite such an impressive debut, lack of sponsorship for the Rod Dawson-owned Falcon ute threatened to curtail Walton's plan to compete in the final round of the series on Sydney's challenging Olympic Park street circuit.
However, an offer from Rare Spares to step in and provide commercial support has ensured that Walton and his freshly sign-written No.68 Falcon XR8 will do battle this weekend.
Rare Spares General Manager, David Rayner, said the Ford vs Holden V8 Ute series was a good fit for the Rare Spares brand, which is always keen to support young Australian talent.
"Kris is an up-and-coming driver and certainly someone to watch," he said. "A lot of fans really like the V8 Ute class because it's hard and tough racing, so if Kris can do well in this category it could well lead to other exciting opportunities in the future."
After racing karts for most of his life, Walton's only previous car racing experience prior to V8 Utes was a stint in the Saloon Car class.
The Queenslander admits he was as surprised as anyone by his debut success, but faces another 'first' this weekend coming to terms with a street circuit.
"Sandown was something nobody expected, including myself," he said. "I thought I could run in the top 10, but not that far up, so I'm obviously keen to keep going. Thanks to Rare Spares, I'll get another chance.
"I've never raced a car on a street circuit before, so I'm not really sure what to expect. It looks like quite a narrow circuit, so I'll need to improve my qualifying (11th at Sandown) to start further up the grid and then try to keep it off the walls."
V8 Utes Australia Category Manager, Craig Denyer, said that Kris Walton's debut performance was one of the best he's seen in the hotly contested category.
"Very, very impressive," he said. "This guy's just come out of nowhere and no one's really heard of him until now. If he can keep his nose clean and keep away from the concrete walls, he could well spring another surprise at Homebush."
The V8 Utes will take to the track at 12:40pm on Friday 2nd December for Practice 1 followed by Practice 2 at 5:05pm.Saturday, 3rd December 10:55am QualifyingSaturday, 3rd December 5:35pm Race1Sunday, 4th December 8:30am Race2Sunday, 4th December 11:15am Race 3
Race 3 will be televised LIVE as, as part of the Race day Xtra coverage at 12pm, Sunday, 4th December.
See below top five results for the ENZED drivers championship
1 Chris Pither 838 2 Ryal Harris 792 3 David Sieders 783 4 Grant Johnson 776 5 Nathan Pretty 730