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GO FAST OR GO HOME: US AND OZ STARS GET SET TO DO BATTLE AT WILLOWBANK RACEWAY

Article Date: 22 March 2013

According to three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and three-time ANDRA Top Alcohol champion Wayne Newby; the strategy for next weekend’s Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race is simple: go fast, or go home.

Featuring a new format for the professional brackets of Top Fuel and Top Alcohol seen in action only once before in Australia; the March 29 and 30 event takes a completely new approach to drag racing – focusing on action-packed entertainment centred around a high-stakes racing program which demands the best from its racers.

“The three-round format has been used here in the United States for exhibition racing, so it will be interesting to see it in action for a championship event,” said Dixon, the second most successful racer in NHRA Top Fuel history.

“When it comes down to it, whether you are racing in the United States or Australia, or on the 1000ft distance or the quarter-mile the ultimate strategy is always the same – the first car to the finish line wins!”

Newby, a stalwart of the Australian Top Alcohol scene and a three-time national champion, said the simple yet exciting premise of speed will be the deciding factor at the Easter event.

 “Every one of the Top Alcohol and Top Fuel racers are going to have to throw absolutely everything at it each and every time we head out,” said Newby.

“Each day, you have two passes to make it count and secure your place in either the Final or the Preliminary Final – there is no space for taking it easy or for mistakes - you will be forced to drive your car to its potential every time you venture out onto the Willowbank quarter-mile.

“That guarantees white-knuckle action for the spectators and points the focus well and truly onto going fast – being fast and getting to the finish line first is the only way you are going to win this event, all other strategic patterns go out the window with this format.

“We will certainly be doing everything we can – we have been doing well recently in our JBS Tools and Fabre Australia Funny Car which is nearing its first birthday, and we will be looking to keep that going at Willowbank Raceway this Easter.”

The Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event will also feature the inaugural Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Trophy Race, in memory of event sponsor and Rapisarda International Autosport principal Santo Rapisarda’s son and Top Fuel racer Louie, who passed away in 1990.

As part of the Rapisarda team this trophy will add another element to the weekend for Dixon and his celebrated NHRA crew chief Lee Beard, who will also jet over from the US as part of the campaign.

“For me and my crew chief Lee Beard it will be a steep learning curve as we look to adapt what we know from NHRA and our usual set-up to the Australian race conditions, but we will certainly be doing our best for the Rapisarda family and for the memory of Louie Rapisarda,” said Dixon.

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.

Seventeen competitors boasting 29 major season championships between them will take to the track across the Top Fuel and Top Alcohol brackets – including US Top Fuel star Larry Dixon, the second most successful Top Fuel driver in NHRA Top Fuel history, who will be joined at Willowbank Raceway by his celebrated NHRA crew chief Lee Beard in the Rapisarda Autosport International team.

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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