Bumpy ride to V8 glory
ASH Walsh has never been one to lose sight of the bigger picture.
It is why the aspiring V8 Supercar racer has continually bounced back, despite numerous setbacks over the years, and doesn't mind doing whatever he can to make ends meet between races.
Walsh has deferred his university accounting studies to focus on the Dunlop V8 development series this year, earning pay packs in between as an electrical lab assistant or boiler maker's assistant.
This week Walsh and his Matt Stone Racing team have been busy preparing for round two of the Dunlop V8 development series at Perth from Friday to Sunday.
Walsh sits sixth after round one of the series in Adelaide in March, when promising fourth and fifth-placed finishes were slightly soured by a penalty following a clash of cars in race one.
Walsh admits he didn't have enough time to get his car performing at its optimum in Adelaide.
So he is optimistic he can improve in Perth, following a day of testing at Queensland Raceway last month.
"I'm looking forward to it after getting another test day under our belt," Walsh said.
"Barbagallo is a short track on the side of a hill.
"It reminds me a lot of Queensland Raceway, with its corners, a similar surface and even the light is similar.
"We've had some engineering help from Stone Brothers (Racing team).
"There were a few things we could change.
"Before Adelaide we were a bit rushed, but the test day gave us the opportunity to do that."
But it may not be enough to get him on the podium.
"We've made some improvements since (Adelaide)," Walsh said.
"But I'll just go out and do what I'm doing - collecting points and finishing races.
"I hope to be in a similar position this weekend.
"I'm in an older car so top five is probably the best I can hope for."
His car is the same Stone Brothers Falcon James Courtney crashed heavily in Adelaide in 2007. Round one Dunlop series winner Chaz Mostert, meanwhile, is driving the car that won in Adelaide last year for Will Davison.
"For me, it's just about doing the best we can with what we've got," Yamanto's Walsh said.
"Something has to happen for me to beat those guys (like Mostert)."
But Walsh is not complaining after a 2011 in which he admits to "throwing toys out of the pram" in response to his car's unreliability.
If he continues to impress in 2012, there is a chance he could get the opportunity to race in one of Stone Brothers' newer cars later in the season.
"It definitely helps," Walsh said.
"It is more down to whether Stone Brothers are confident they've got a spare car we can use."
He also knows performing well in an older car will impress other people in the know.
"The most important thing is not to waste the opportunity," Walsh said.
"For next year, that really sets you up.
"Hopefully I can get into a main game team.
"I'll probably be in the development series again but am more likely to have a good car in which I can go for the championship.
"That's what this year's about - getting next year set up."
Team: Matt Stone Racing
Hobbies: Triathlon, cycling, football.
2011-12: V8 supercar development series
2009-10: Australian Formula Ford
2008: Formula Renault (Europe)
2008: A1GP Rookie Driver for Team Australia2005-07: Australian Formula Ford
2003-04: Australian Karting champion.