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Article Date: 5 June 2015

  • Ben Bray completes first pass in competition since his big crash at this same event 12 months ago – runs a strong 5.973 second pass at 241.02 miles per hour
  • Gary Phillips endures a tough crash in Top Alcohol qualifying, severely damaging his Lucas Oil Products Funny Car – emerges unscathed
  • Seven-time Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia sets the quickest elapsed time at Willowbank Raceway for the Top Doorslammer category with a 5.730 second pass
  • Round one of qualifying for all professional categories completed – two further qualifying rounds to be completed Saturday ahead of racing Sunday. 
Day two of the Fuchs Winternationals has been run in perfect weather conditions today, with the first of three qualifying sessions for the professional brackets and also qualifying action for all sportsman brackets held this afternoon at Willowbank Raceway.

Currently top qualified in the pro categories are Phil Lamattina (Top Fuel), Steve Reed (Top Alcohol), John Zappia (Wallace Bishop Jewellers Top Doorslammer), Aaron Tremayne (Pro Stock), Mark Drew (Top Fuel Motorcycle) and Maurice Allen (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Qualifying for all brackets will continue tomorrow (Saturday 6 June) with two further sessions to be held for the professional brackets between 1.00pm and 5.30pm ahead of Sunday’s race day. For full event information including schedules, please go to 

Amongst the qualifying action enjoyed by race fans under beautiful blue skies, 17-time national champion Gary Phillips endured a tough crash in Top Alcohol severely damaging his Lucas Oil Products Funny Car, Ben Bray made his comeback to competition following his big crash at this same event 12 months ago, and the now eight-time champion John Zappia set the quickest elapsed time ever set in Top Doorslammer at this venue with a 5.730 second pass in the Fuchs Striker Crusher and Screening Monaro.

Phillips’ wild ride started with a broken oil feed line off the start, with his Funny Car coming into contact hard with the wall from the left hand lane, before impacting it a second time with the body coming off the car (as they are designed to in an impact) and landing on the track wall.  Phillips was checked and cleared by medical staff on-track, but his wife Debbie was transported to the P.A. Hospital for checks related to blood pressure following the incident.

“The car broke the oil feed line that goes to the data unit right off the start and it squirted oil under the tyres, and that was all she wrote – when she drives on one wheel it is not fun,” said Phillips, who is also entered in the Top Doorslammer bracket this weekend.

“It jammed the fuel shut off and that was why the car wouldn’t turn off, but I am completely fine – we are at the forefront of safety and I am as good as gold. I would have jumped straight in the Top Doorslammer and run that right after, I was ready to go, but with Debbie I needed to see how she was and now we will wait to see how she is before we make a decision on what to do tomorrow, as she is the driving force behind both of these cars and this team.”

In Top Doorslammer, Bray impressed in his comeback to competition with a stout 5.973 second pass at 241.02 miles per hour – the second quickest elapsed time of the evening for the Top Doorslammer category behind Zappia’s quickest ever at the venue for the class.

“That first qualifying run was pretty nerve wracking, especially sitting in the back of staging lane and watching Gary wreck his funny car like he did,” said Bray. “That certainly sparked a couple of memories that I didn’t really want there and I did get pretty anxious and nervous about two or three pairings before I ran.

“But then getting ready Dad just said to me ‘just do a decent burnout and clear your head, just back up and forget everything and do your job. You’ve done it enough, you know you can do it.’ With those experienced words from him I just sat there and cleared my head and when the car started I was ready.

“We are the number two qualifier on the first pass, and were on the fastest until that last pairing – so I am pretty happy, the car performed pretty well, I drove it pretty well I think and got everything right for once,” he laughed, “the engine is in good knick, so hopefully tomorrow will be better.

“The environment up here has just been great - after that run when we got back here (to the pits) there was probably 60-70 people standing out front clapping us in even though Top Fuel was on-track. Even Dad said it was a pretty proud moment on the start line to hear the roar that come from the crowd when I went through the trap - the atmosphere here is pretty cool and the weekend’s been good so far.”

Zappia – who has clinched his eighth Top Doorslammer national title by virtue of his season performance – ran the quickest elapsed time for a Top Doorslammer at this venue with a 5.730 second pass, getting his pursuit of back-to-back event wins off to the best possible start.

“That was pretty good, it could have been a bit quicker off the start, it sort of pulled us a little bit off the start and at the top of low gear it started to spin the wheels and shake a little bit and I peddled it and punched second gear and carried on,” said Zappia. “I probably short shifted a little, but it was a pretty good run.

“I usually like to have my first pass during the day, but tomorrow should be good – we got (today) out of the way and the pressure is off. Tomorrow we’ll start fine tuning it. Obviously the track should be better tomorrow ‘cause it was a bit slippery for some and we nearly over did it in first gear but it was real close to being a 5.68 run. It’s there we’ve just gotta fine tune it to this track.

“Now that I’m qualified, it’s all going to plan like last year where we started with a senior six and just improved and improved during the day. That’s the plan.”

The Fuchs Winternationals action continues tomorrow (Saturday 5 June) with further qualifying for all brackets including the Pro Series racers of Top Fuel, Top Alcohol, Wallace Bishop Jewellers Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle. For more information, schedules and entry lists please visit 

The Fuchs Winternationals is the jewel in the crown of Willowbank Raceway and the Australian drag racing industry. A truly iconic event, not only is the Fuchs Winternationals the largest championship drag racing event held outside of North America, it is also the final championship round of the season for all of the country’s drag racing brackets. From the amazing flame-throwing Top Fuelers right through to Junior Dragsters, every single bracket that competes for national championship honours will be on-track at the FUCHS Winternationals, with more than 500 cars and bikes from all over the country expected to be on-track over four big days of racing. This guarantees non-stop action all day from Thursday 4 June to Sunday 7 June both on and off the track, with thrilling racing complimented by a wide range of things to see and do in the pits and spectator entries – all amongst an awesome festive atmosphere. Spectators have a range of viewing options available to them, from finding a grassy spot on ‘the hill’ to general admission and reserved grandstand seating; while corporate guests have a range of options available from the permanent fixtures of the instantly recognisable Willowbank Raceway corporate centre and the Bendigo Bank Corporate Club to the purpose-built Sky Marquee of the Fuchs Winternationals.

Tickets are available at the gate. Looking to bring the family? Don’t forget that children aged 13 and under gain free admission, while students with ID and Concession Card Holders can access discounted entry (terms and conditions apply). For full event information, please 
click here.


Individual day tickets – General Admission - CHILDREN AGED 13 AND UNDER GAIN FREE GENERAL ADMISSION

Saturday 6 June 2015
- General Admission – Adult - $50.00
- General Admission – Student 14 and over and Concession Card (Age and Disability Only) Holders (MUST SHOW ID) - $35.00

Sunday 7 June 2015
- General Admission – Adult - $50.00
- General Admission – Student 14 and over and Concession Card (Age and Disability Only) Holders (MUST SHOW ID) - $35.00

Multi-day tickets – General Admission - CHILDREN AGED 13 AND UNDER GAIN FREE GENERAL ADMISSION

- General Admission - Saturday 6 June and Sunday 7 June – Adult - $80.00
- General Admission - Student 14 and over and Concession Car (Age and Disability only) Holders (Must SHOW ID) - Saturday 6 June and Sunday 7 June – $50.00

Reserved seating (purchased in addition to GA ticket)  
- Grandstand Seat – Saturday 6 June 2015 - $12.00
- Grandstand Seat – Sunday 7 June 2015 - $12.00
- Startline Club Seat – Saturday 6 June 2015 - $16.00
- Startline Club Seat – Sunday 7 June 2015 -$16.00

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 

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