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Kirsten Tucker eyes the prize as time ticks towards FUCHS Winternationals

Article Date: 6 June 2012

Just days remain until more than 500 racers and an estimated 38,000 spectators from all over Australia and New Zealand head to Queensland’s premier drag racing facility Willowbank Raceway for the FUCHS Winternationals.

The 8-11 June 2012 Queen’s Birthday long weekend event is the largest drag racing event in Australia and the final round in the 2011/2012 drag racing calendar for all categories including the ever-popular ANDRA Pro Series categories.

One ANDRA Pro Series racer for fans to keep their eye on in particular is Kirsten Tucker – sister of Pro Stock championship contender Shane Tucker – who will be looking to make her professional drag racing debut in the Pro Stock category at the prestigious event.

Tucker headed out to Willowbank Raceway last week in an attempt to gain her license, but with her track time cut short due to poor weather, she will now turn her attention to completing her final licensing test with a full pass just during Friday's FUCHS Winternationals on-track action.

“With only one full pass required for my license to be officially signed off, I was really disappointed that the weather got in the way at the weekend, but I am confident that come Friday I will be able to give the officials what they need to see me competing at the FUCHS Winternationals,” said Tucker.

Tucker impressed with her first day of testing seeing her surpass everyone’s expectations including her own.

“I was really happy with my progress during the testing we did get to do, I was a lot more comfortable in the car from the first few passes than I thought I would be,” said Tucker.

“It certainly wasn’t what I expected, but the feeling was amazing. I was pushed right back in my seat and the first few runs are just a blur, I have no idea what I was doing let alone how I got half track!” she laughed.

“I have never raced anything like this, the last thing I was on the race track in was a Junior Dragster, and so this was something really different.

“It was amazing, I love doing the burnouts, and I was really happy with how I went over the weekend – I can’t wait finalise my licensing so I can give it a crack at the FUCHS Winternationals!”

The Carbrook resident will be the first female driver ever in the Pro Stock category in Australia, following in the footsteps of women like Rachelle Splatt, Debbie Reed and Debbie O’Rourke making their mark in the professional levels of drag racing. The Tucker family also have a strong history in the Pro Stock category; with Kirsten’s father Rob a former championship winner and her brother driving the Monster Energy Pontiac GXP. Kirsten will be taking the wheel of the Holden Monaro Shane competed in last season.

Kirsten is married to ANDRA drag racer John Cannuli with two children Nixon (3) and Tiana, who will turn five on Tuesday.

“The kids are pretty excited about me getting in the driver’s seat, they watched me on video before coming out to the track to see me testing and the smiles were ear to ear,” said Tucker.

“They will definitely be trackside at the weekend – you can’t keep them away from the track for anything, Nixon cries when he sees his dad’s trailer pull out of the driveway when he can’t go with him!”

The family has been able to provide plenty of advice for Kirsten ahead of her debut.

“I am so thankful for the advice and support from my husband John, the opportunity from mum and dad, the driver training from my little brother Shane, and the love and support from all of our friends,” said Tucker.

“Everyone has helped immensely and I couldn’t have done it without all of their support. I also need to say a special thanks to my last minute crew of Beau McInerney, Mel Hambridge and of course my brother’s existing team members – without all of their input and endless late nights this would never have happened for me.

 “I’ve been sitting in the car going through the pass over and over in my head, as if the car was running, just like Shane and I used to do when we were kids. Practice makes perfect, Dad always says you need to be aware of what the car can do to you and have that little bit of fear.”

If Kirsten can successfully gain her license on Friday, she will be looking at qualifying for her debut event in front of an estimated 38,000 spectators.

“If I qualify, I qualify, if I don’t, I don’t. I’m just playing every day as it comes,” she said. “But if I drive well we’re not going to sit back, we’re going to go after it. I’d like to qualify and hope to soon be up there with the rest.”

Kirsten will be one of the 28 entries in the record-size Pro Stock field, just one of 18 racing categories at the Fuchs
Winternationals which has a total of 513 teams entered for the 45th running of the Winternationals event, featuring the final rounds for both the ANDRA Pro Series and the Rocket All Stars Racing Series.

The action will not be confined to the quarter-mile however, with family entertainment, trade shows and plenty of action in pit lane for the whole family. Tickets start from just $20 with students (with ID) able to access discounted entry and children 13 and under enjoying free admission.

For more information, schedules and entry lists please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au or visit Willowbank Raceway on Facebook by searching for Willowbank Raceway.

Before the racers get on track however, there will be no less than two fan events held on Thursday 7 June 2012, with a meet and greet at the Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre from 12.00pm to 1.00pm followed by a fan evening at the Riverlink Shopping Centre in the East Mall from 6.45pm to 8.00pm. Both events will feature ANDRA Pro Series racers and are free to attend.
 
The Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre is located at the Cnr of the Pacific Highway and Bryants Road, Loganholme. A map of the shopping centre can be viewed at www.hyperdomeshopping.com.au/ Riverlink Shopping Centre is located on the corner of Downer Street and the Terrace, North Ipswich. A map of the shopping centre can be found at: http://www.riverlink.net.au/store-directory.php


EVENT INFORMATION: FUCHS Winternationals: 8-11 June 2012

For more information, full race schedules or to purchase tickets please visit
www.willowbankraceway.com.au

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.

Schedule:

Friday 8 June 2012:

  • On track action from 8.00am, including the first round of qualifying for Pro Stock at approximately 4.50pm.
  • Approximate finish of 7.00pm

Saturday 9 June 2012:

  • On track action from 9.00am
  • Pro Series qualifying from 12.00noon
  • Approximate finish of 8.00pm

Sunday 10 June 2012:

  • On track action from 8.30am
  • Pro Series qualifying from 12.00noon
  • Approximate finish of 6.30pm

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:

Pre-purchase event deals via www.willowbankraceway.com.au - purchase before 6 June 2012

  • Adult Three-Day Admission Pass (including complimentary Friday admission) - $140.00
  • Student/Concession three Day Admission Pass (including complimentary Friday admission) - $110.00 – must show ID
  • Adult Two-Day Admission Pass – Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June 2012 - $90.00
  • Student/Concession Two-Day Admission Pass – Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June 2012 - $75.00 – must show ID
  • Adult Two-Day Admission Pass – Sunday 10 and Monday 11 June 2012 - $90.00
  • Student/Concession Two-Day Admission Pass – Sunday 10 and Monday 11 June 2012 - $75.00 – must show ID

On-track purchase:

Friday 8 June 2012

  • General Admission (Adult) - $20.00
  • General Admission (Student/Concession) - $20.00 – must show ID

Saturday 9 June 2012

  • General Admission (Adult) - $50.00
  • General Admission (Student/Concession) - $42.00 – must show ID
  • Grandstand seating - $12.00 (not including admission)
  • Startline Club seating - $16.00 (not including admission)

Sunday 10 June 2012

  • General Admission (Adult) - $50.00
  • General Admission (Student/Concession) - $42.00 – must show ID
  • Grandstand seating - $12.00 (not including admission)
  • Startline Club seating - $16.00 (not including admission)

Monday 11 June 2012

  • General Admission (Adult) - $50.00
  • General Admission (Student/Concession) - $42.00 – must show ID
  • Grandstand seating - $12.00 (not including admission)
Startline Club seating - $16.00 (not including admission)

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