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Article Date: 18 April 2010

Tonight's qualifying in the ENZED Top Fuel Championships at Willowbank Raceway has ensured that race day Sunday will be a sizzler for the fans with championship battles heating up across Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Morgan and Wacker Pro Stock Bike.

Tomorrow's action will kick off from 8.00am, with the feature categories of Top Fuel, Pro Stock, Morgan & Wacker Pro Stock Bike and Pro FX set to hit the track for elimination rounds at 11.00am, 1.00pm, 2.30pm (Pro Stock only). Finals for all racing brackets will kick off from 4.00pm.

Leading the Top Fuel field after qualifying is Victorian Phil Lamattina in the Fuchs Top Fuel dragster. The defending ANDRA Pro Series Champion posted a 4.693s pass at 325.92mph (approx 521.47kmh) in his first of three qualifying runs this evening. Second fastest was Martin Stamatis who is incidentally chasing Lamattina in the points chase currently for the top spot, with third fastest going to Lamattina's fellow Victorian Darren Morgan.

For round one, Lamattina will have a bye to the semi-finals courtesy of his top qualifying spot, and will face either Mark Mariani or long-time rival and three-time champion Phil Read in the semis tomorrow. Morgan will face off against Allan Dobson while Stamatis will line up against Steve Read.

“It is of course only qualifying but it is obviously great to have the top spot and due to that the bye into the semi final, so we can head on track for round one knowing we are safe into the semis,” said Lamattina.

“Everyone had the same track today and Theo from Pavtek just read the conditions better for the Fuchs Top Fuel dragster and I think the pressure is on everyone else, I am really happy and comfortable with the car, this is the first time we have run the new car in anger here at Willowbank and we came out in the first pass and ran a big mile per hour.”

For “Pommy” Steve Read, there was one major difference to his racing preparation routine today, with his day kicking off with his wedding to long time partner Heather Bond on the spectator mound this morning, with the happy couples' guests sticking around in the specially erected marquee to watch the Read Speed Racing team’s qualifying this evening.

In Pro Stock, which features a 16 car field this weekend in a special treat for fans, North Queensland’s John Barbagallo dominated the field from first to last qualifier, taking the top spot with a 7.118s pass at 192.47 miles per hour (approx 307kmh).

Chasing at his tail is Dave Newcombe who runs a JB Automotive engine, and Bundaberg brothers Aaron and Tyronne Tremayne who are looking to reassert their authority on the category they have dominated for the past two seasons.

“Its good to be on top of the time sheets tonight, and to have the top speed for the bracket at this point as well,” said Barbagallo.

“The car definitely has more in it so we expect to be stronger tomorrow, and hopefully we can get back to running in the 7.0 region like we did the last time we raced when we ran a 7.03 second pass in Perth a few months ago.”

In Morgan & Wacker Pro Stock Bike, South Australia’s Andrew Badcock top qualified with defending champion Michael Gilbertson of Townsville chasing him in second spot ahead of Mackay’s Ross Lemberg, who was out of the order until his final qualifier that saw him leap into third on the time sheets ahead of tomorrow’s eliminations.

In Pro FX, New Zealand's Rod Harvey top qualified ahead of Gas Motorsport’s Joe Signorelli and Top Doorslammer regular Ben Bray. Also on track today, and continuing tomorrow, were over 200 sportsman racers, across the Lifestyle Floorcoverings Competition, Lifestyle Floorcoverings Super Stock, McKern & Associates Super Compact, Custom Central Competition Bike, Wheelboyz.com.au Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Speed Elec/Prime Signs Super Street, Modified Bike, Qld Diesel Spares Junior Dragster, Super Gas, Perfect Print Perfect Light categories.

Adult tickets for Sunday April 18 of the ENZED Australian Top Fuel Championships start from $35, with discounts available for students with ID and children 13 and under gaining free entry.

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