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CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE UNQUESTIONABLE FOR WILLOWBANK EASTER SPECTACULAR

Article Date: 18 March 2013

Willowbank Raceway’s upcoming Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event (29/30 March) is set to host 17 Top Fuel and Top Alcohol racers boasting no less than 29 major season championships between them.

While the majority of these titles have been achieved on Australian soil, three are held by NHRA Top Fuel star Larry Dixon. The racer – who is the second most successful competitor in NHRA Top Fuel history - will jet over from America later this month with celebrated NHRA crew chief Lee Beard to compete alongside Aussie Top Fuel racers Damien Harris, Phil Lamattina, Steve Read, Terry Sainty and reigning Australian champion Darren Morgan on the Willowbank Raceway quarter-mile.

An amazing 16 Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) titles are held by Hillcrest’s Gary Phillips, who along with Wayne Newby, Steven Reed, John Cannuli, Rick Gauci, Steven Ham, Adam Marchant, Debbie O’Rourke, Wayne Price, Jon Sting and Darren Fry will compete in the Top Alcohol bracket.

“The Top Alcohol entry list for the Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event boasts the best this country has to offer,” said Phillips, who boasts the quickest (5.469s) and fastest (263.92mph) Top Alcohol funny car outside of the USA.

“Heading into Easter’s round four and five at Willowbank Raceway we are in the lead for the ANDRA Top Alcohol championship. The Lucas Oil Products funny car has been absolutely fantastic this season and with no parts issues so far we just need to snare some luck to make the most of the new format.

“It has been a while since the Top Alcohol bracket enjoyed a Queensland event and as Willowbank is my home track I am certainly looking forward to being able to sleep in my own bed instead of travelling all over the country.

“When you combine the pedigree of the racers signed up for this event with the expected weather conditions and track preparation this should be a really fast event, with my national records of 5.524 seconds and 261.07 miles per hour likely to get wacked – hopefully by me!”

Phillips isn’t the only ANDRA Top Alcohol Champion set to hit Willowbank Raceway either, with fellow competitors Newby (3) and Steven Reed (1) also having reached the pinnacle of drag racing in Australia.

Two-time ANDRA Top Fuel champion Steve Read of Raceview boasts an illustrious career with 23 major wins across Australia and Europe in both the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol categories, including two ANDRA Top Fuel season championship titles.

“Dixon and Beard are in my opinion up there with the best in the world for driving and tuning respectively, so it is definitely going to be interesting to pit ourselves up against them during this event,” said Read.

“They will have an advantage in terms of the length of their experience and the amount of events they do, but we will have the home track advantage as well as familiarity with the tricky Australian weather conditions, so it will make for some great matches I think.

“I have met Dixon before, he is just a regular guy who worked his way up from washing parts to be the driver he is today – he definitely earned his position in the sport and I am looking forward to potentially lining up against him and beating him – we have as good a chance as any!

“I am also looking forward to racing for the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel trophy – while I never met Louie, I raced for his father (Santo Rapisarda) for 12 years and Louie was always featured on each and every one of his cars.

“Although Dixon is probably the favourite for the trophy given he is racing for Santo at the event, it would be pretty special to me to be able to claim the first Louie Rapisarda challenge trophy.”

Read will be joined on track by fellow ANDRA Top Fuel champions Lamattina (1), Morgan (3), while Dixon brings three NHRA titles to the table.

Willowbank Raceway Managing Director Steve Bettes said the calibre of the racers for the Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event was unquestionable.

“A look at the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol racers who have signed on for the Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race throws up some amazing names, including the second most successful racer in NHRA Top Fuel history – Larry Dixon,” said Bettes.

“The quality of the racers is impeccable, with 29 season titles between them and plenty of major event wins; with our exciting new race format and the pressure of the championship chase thrown in, there is going to be some edge of your seat racing at Willowbank Raceway this Easter.

“Tickets are available for purchase now online at www.willowbankraceway.com.au, including special ‘pre-purchase’ two day passes – so make sure you get in now and secure your spot trackside for what is going to be an entertainment spectacular!”

Announced at the end of 2012, the Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race concept, featuring the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Trophy Race will see professional drag racing return to the Easter timeslot (29-30 March 2013) at Queensland’s premier drag racing facility for the first time in years.

The concept will operate on the idea of two individual championship rounds in one event for the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol categories, 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 Top Fuel and Top Alcohol 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, while the winner for the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Trophy will be decided at the conclusion of racing on day two using the combined points from both Friday and Saturday.

Joining the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol racers on-track will be an array of sportsman competitors across the Outlaw 10.5, Pro/Modified Street Blown and a range of fixed index, heads-up pro start categories; who will complete three qualifying sessions on Friday 29 March before racing in a Chicago Shootout plus final format on Saturday 30 March.

Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, located 45 minutes from Brisbane or just a short drive from Ipswich, offering a year-round program of events for the entire family. For more information including a full event calendar, please visit www.willowbankraceway.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

Friday 29 March 2013
- General Admission (Adult) - $35.00
- General Admission (Student/Concession) - $30.00 – must show ID

Saturday 30 March 2013
- General Admission (Adult) - $35.00
- General Admission (Student/Concession) - $30.00 – must show ID

Two day passes (available for pre-purchase via www.willowbankraceway.com.au only)
- General Admission (Adult) 2 day pass - $60.00
- General Admission (Student/Concession) 2 day pass - $50.00 – must show ID

Race format


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.

Schedule
Friday and Saturday 29 and 30 March 2013 (All times approximate and subject to change):
- Gates open to public – 3.00pm
- 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

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