“STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE” - MATT EASTHAM
While the sport of speedway continues to grow rapidly at the entry and intermediate ranks, the elite level of the sport is also expanding, thanks notably to a growing body of team owners who have an insatiable desire to win both in business and on the racetrack.
Fruitful business owners know all too well that the secret to success is employing the right people in the right roles to create winning teams, and those same leadership principles have proved to work equally as well in forming race-winning Sprintcar team combinations between driver, crew-chief and owner.
#V88 Sprintcar Team Owner Matt Eastham was born into speedway, yet has ironically never raced a Sprintcar.
“My parents were sedan racers and I was at the speedway for the first time when I was just six weeks old!” he says, laughing about how he has repeated the same scenario with his own son, less than a week after his birth.
“The love of Sprintcars kicked in when I was only 15 years old when Travis Jenkins took me to Chris Ackland’s place and I was hooked. Then I got involved with some different guys and then registered the “Victory Lane Racegear” business name one week before I turned 18.”
Matt’s driver roster is peppered with stars and has earned him some impressive results, including the first ever Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge with Ryan Farrell, while Stephen Bell earned him a Presidents Cup, an Australian Title runner up at Darwin and a Victorian Title, while Daniel Pestka and current pilot, Dave Murcott added a further three Vic Titles to the resume.
Daryn Pittman, Trevor Green, Matt Reed, David Gravel, and the late Greg Hodnett have also steered the famous #V88 for various one-off outings, and Matt still fondly remembers as a fresh faced 24-year-old pulling together a last-minute deal for a 15-night run with Erin Crocker in 2004.
“We’ve had some great times over the years with great people, but at the moment we’re in probably the longest results-drought we’ve ever experienced and that gets really tough. Anyone that’s not getting results and still tells you that they love it is kidding themselves, because it’s the good nights that keep you smiling, but we just keep reminding ourselves that we will turn the corner eventually and the luck will fall our way again like it has in the past.”
The next opportunity for that corner to appear is World World Series heads to Esperance Holden Speedway this Friday for the first time in the championship’s 33 year history, and where none of the contracted drivers have ever raced, giving Eastham and Murcott a level playing field in the battle for the chequered flag.
Photo Courtesy of Corey Gibson Photography.
CAPTION: Matt Eastham (second from left) celebrates his fifth Victorian Sprintcar Title with the #V88 team.