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Article Date: 11 June 2012

The stage is set for an ‘edge of your seat’ finals day tomorrow with all qualifying now complete for Willowbank Raceway’s FUCHS Winternationals.

Leading their fields at the close of today’s action in front of a bumper crowd were Allan Dobson (Top Fuel), John Zappia (Top Doorslammer), Steven Ham (Top Alcohol), Chris Matheson (Top Bike), and Phil Howard (Pro Stock Bike). 

Unlike their fellow Pro Series brackets, the Pro Stock class enjoyed not only the end of their qualifying duties but also their first round of eliminations today thanks to their 16 car field format (as opposed to the eight car field in the other Pro Series brackets). 

Denis Whiting, Shane Tucker, Peter Ridgeway, Dave Newcombe, John Barbagallo, Michael Ali, Emilio Spinozzi and Tyronne Tremayne all took victory from their first round match-ups today. Given today’s events, the Pro Stock championship picture has now narrowed to see today’s top qualifier Denis Whiting, Michael Ali and Dave Newcombe left from six contenders to fight it out tomorrow.

“We know we have got the motor in the car to do it, the only variable is the driver,” laughed Whiting, supported by Cambooya Welding.

“I’m not thinking about Ali and Newcombe in particular tomorrow, because it doesn’t matter who we line up against, there are no slouches in this bracket at all, we just have to be on our game and do the best we can!”

While an event win at the prestigious FUCHS Winternationals is a big prize in itself, as the final round for the ANDRA Pro Series champion chase, today’s results have had big ramifications for a number of the brackets’ title tussles as well. 

The Top Fuel battle is shaping up to be particularly interesting, with reigning champ Darren Morgan and title challenger Darren Harris just points apart in the championship chase, and in a match-up set to have the fans on the edge of their seats, will line up against each other in round one of eliminations tomorrow.

“There isn’t any more pressure than normal going into tomorrow facing off against Harris in the first round,” said Morgan.

“Yes it is whoever goes furthest wins, but we have done this before, and we can do it again.

“They haven’t won a title before and while they have been doing well and certainly deserve it, we deserve it too and will be doing everything we can to secure our third title and what would be our second championship in a row – it would be the perfect thanks to our supporters AEG Powertools, Shannons, Kennards Hire and our team, and hopefully the perfect invitation to a new supporter to back us for next season!”

The Top Alcohol title chase was blown open today with reigning and 14 time champion Gary Phillips a shock non-qualifier, giving championship challenger Adam Marchant – second fastest in the qualifying order thanks to his performance yesterday - the chance to snatch the title if he can make it to the finals tomorrow, with the only other driver who was in title contention, Wayne Newby, to be joining Phillips on the sidelines tomorrow after also uncharacteristically failing to qualify
“It is racing isn’t it, anything can happen, and we definitely aren’t thinking about the championship at this stage because while Phillips is out of the field, he is still leading in the points at this stage and it isn’t over yet,” said Marchant.

“We were heroes yesterday and today we struggled, so we know anything can happen and we are just looking to get it down the track in front one round at a time, and hopefully when it comes to the end we can be in front, it would certainly be nice for us and for our supporters MJ Walker Contracting and Steel Haul!”

In Top Doorslammer, reigning champion Zappia furthered his chance for a fifth consecutive title today with a top qualifying effort, however he will need to secure a semi-final win if he is to guarantee that championship rival Peter Kapiris cannot claim the top prize with an event win.  

On two wheels, Matheson in Top Bike continued to dominate in the fashion which has seen him already sew up his third consecutive Top Bike title to be the top qualifier, while in Pro Stock Bike Howard continued his impressive form of yesterday to be at the top of the sheets. Howard is one of four racers in the hunt for the Pro Bike championship, with former champ Michael Gilbertson, reigning champ Maurice Allen and last-round winner Locky Ireland all in the running and set to put on a great show for the fans tomorrow.

Also turning heads today despite not making the highly competitive Pro Stock eliminations field, was newcomer Kirsten Tucker whose impressive driving had many commenting on her promising future.

“I am pretty happy with my achievements this weekend, I have come a lot further than I thought I would in a short time, and I am just very grateful for all the help from my dad Rob and my brother (and fellow Pro Stock driver) Shane and of course my crew this weekend,” said Tucker.

For full results from today’s action please visit Willowbank Raceway’s event results page at www.willowbankraceway.com.au or click here.

The FUCHS Winternationals is Australia’s largest drag racing event and the finale of the championship seasons for all brackets including the popular ANDRA Pro Series racers of Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Top Alcohol, Top Bike, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

The final day of the FUCHS Winternationals will kick off from 8.30am, with the Opening Ceremonies to be held at 10.30am followed by eliminations racing for all brackets from 11.00am (Pro Series round one from approximately 11.00am to 12.30pm, round two from approximately 1.00pm to 2.00pm, finals for all brackets from 2.30pm).

The action will not be confined to the quarter-mile however, with family entertainment, trade shows and plenty of action in the pits for the whole family, with children 13 and under gaining free entry. For more information, schedules and entry lists please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au or visit Willowbank Raceway on Facebook by searching for Willowbank Raceway.

EVENT INFORMATION: FUCHS Winternationals: 8-11 June 2012

For more information, full race schedules or to purchase tickets please visit

Feature racing from Top Fuel, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, Top Bike, Pro Stock Motorcycle and Factory Extreme. Racing also from Competition, Super Stock, Super Compact, Competition Bike, Allstar Batteries Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Prime Signs/Speed Elec Super Street, Modified Bike, Donnelly Blasting Services Junior Dragster and Super Gas.


Monday 11 June 2012:

  • On track action from 8.30am
  • Opening Ceremonies at approximately 10.30am
  • Pro Series racing from 11.00am, finals for all categories from 2.45pm

Ticket and grandstand seating prices:

Monday 11 June 2012

  • General Admission (Adult) - $50.00
  • General Admission (Student/Concession) - $42.00 – must show ID

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