QLDERS TRIUMPH AS US STAR ‘SPINS’ DURING DAY ONE OF BRAND NEW ‘EXTREME’ WILLOWBANK RACEWAY EVENT
30 March 2013
The brand-new Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event has gotten off to a thrilling start at Willowbank Raceway with track-locals Steve ‘the Pom’ Read (Top Fuel) and Darren Fry (Top Alcohol, debutant) taking victory in their brackets; while visiting US drag racing royalty Larry Dixon kicked off his weekend with an incredible 360 degree spin.
No matter where they finished in the day one standings, the entire Top Fuel and Top Alcohol fields will be back on track for day two (Saturday 30 March) thanks to the new approach taken by this event for these brackets; which sees two individual championship rounds held in the one event, each with a three round race format (as opposed to traditional elimination-style racing).
Top Fuel stalwart Read was pleased to claim the Top Fuel victory on Friday’s day one for his privateer team.
“It was the first in quite a long time. It is great to get the monkey off my back,” said Read.
“The whole team has worked hard to get the elements together and it’s a great feeling and result for the team.
“None of our equipment is new and we’ve dispelled a number of myths by walking away with the lowest ET for the meeting.
“Tomorrow, I think we can get down into the 4.60s. It’s pleasing to end the day with running every lap in the four second range. I could really get used to this feeling!”
From veteran to rookie, Fry – debuting at the professional level this weekend after completing his licensing requirements for the bracket on Thursday - was ecstatic to claim the day one Top Alcohol win over Rick Gauci with a 5.67 second pass at 253.85 miles per hour.
“To take the win today is just simply beyond my wildest expectations – I am just absolutely gobsmacked,” said Fry, who has made the jump to Top Alcohol after 17 years racing at the sportsman level.
“It took a small village to get me here, and I am just so humbled and grateful to everyone who played a part in this, this win has to go to all of you.”
Also drawing plenty of attention was visiting US star Dixon, who had the fans gasping when he suffered an incredible incident on the quarter-mile soon after leaving the start line during the qualifying round for Top Fuel.
The three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion was literally sent into a spin when his left rear wheel sheared off completely due to a broken axle.
After coming to a stop in the lane of Rapisarda Racing weekend team-mate Damien Harris (who had suffered an engine explosion), Dixon climbed unassisted from his dragster unhurt, lifting his arms to signal to the crowds he was okay before going to reassure his waiting family, who are in Australia to cheer him on this weekend.
“The engine left the starting line really nice but then it came up like it was spinning the tyres, so I lifted up the throttle and then the car started to come around – at that point the axle had broken, and was driving just one rear wheel. When that one wheel started to regain traction that is what shot it around,” said Dixon soon after the incident.
“My estimation without looking at the telemetry as yet is that we were at about 150 miles per hour when it all happened – that is pretty fast on road speed but as far as track speed it was maintainable."
After the incident, Dixon said he and the team would do everything they could to get back on track and after a frenetic rebuild of the car - made possible with the assistance of parts provided by local Nitro Funny Car team owner Rod Bailey – they did more than just ‘return’, with Dixon setting down the quickest Top Fuel pass of the night (4.684 seconds at 275.21mph) in an exhibition run, despite backing off the throttle early.
“We backed off early as it was a test pass after our accident, the car can definitely go quicker,” said Dixon.
“It was the quickest pass of the night so hopefully we can get back here tomorrow and put on a good show for the fans!”
Saturday’s day two of action will kick from 4.00pm, with the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol brackets making their first appearance of the day at 5.00pm. Racing will then be frantic, with the finals expected to run at 9.00pm. For full schedules please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au. Tickets are just $35 for adults, $30 for students and concession card holders who have ID, while children aged 13 and under gain free entry. For more information, please visit www.willowbankaceway.com.au
EVENT INFORMATION: Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race – 29 and 30 March 2013
For more information, full race schedules or to purchase tickets please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au
Feature racing from: Top Fuel, Top Alcohol
Racing also from: Outlaw 10.5, Pro/Modified Street Blown and the following fixed index, heads-up pro start categories: 6.90, 7.90, 8.90 and 9.50.
Ticket and grandstand seating prices:
Please note: Concession = age and disability pension holders only
Saturday 30 March 2013
- General Admission (Adult) - $35.00
- General Admission (Student/Concession) - $30.00 – must show ID
Top Fuel and Top Alcohol
The Super 3 Extreme Drag Race concept will operate on the idea of two individual championship rounds in one event, with a winner to be crowned on both the Friday and the Saturday of the event. Racing will begin with the first pass for all cars at approximately 5.00pm followed by an elimination round for all cars later in the evening. From this round, the third and fourth quickest winners will proceed to the ‘Preliminary Final’ while the two quickest winners battle it out in ‘The Final’, as per the Special 3 Round Format ratified this season in the ANDRA rulebook. Once the winner is crowned on Friday, the full field for each bracket will get ready to do it all over again on Saturday.
All other categories
All sportsman categories will complete three qualifying passes on Friday 29 March, before Saturday 30 March sees all sportsman brackets run a Chicago Shootout format with all competitors to race three rounds with the two best performing racers to make it into the final. At the completion of the bracket rounds, a count back will be made to establish the finalists.
Saturday 29 and 30 March 2013 (All times approximate and subject to change):
- On track action from 4.00pm
- Top Fuel and Top Alcohol ‘qualifying round’ – from 5.00pm
- Top Fuel and Top Alcohol ‘elimination round’ – from 7.00pm
- All finals from 9.00pm