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The pits are enormous here at the 2017 Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, so we've been navigating them once again to hunt down the cool stories building at this year's event ahead of the commencement of pro qualifying tonight.

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That's John Zahra up top and this is his amazing machine. This bike isn't bought, it has all been hand built with the help of New Zealand nitro bike specialist Roger Bloor. This mean machine is about 100 pounds lighter than other fuel bikes with similar engines according to Zahra, which should help produce some tough times. First the north Queensland rider has to get through licensing.

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One of the most amazing places behind the scenes at the Winternationals is the Donnelly Blasting Services hospitality area. The Chev/American Diner theme is throughout and utterly spectacular. We have never seen a hospitality area as good, anywhere in the world.

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Early morning punters look over a rather bare Terry Sainty Pro Alcohol Funny Car in the pits.

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The crowd checks out early qualifying in Supercharged Outlaws. This torrid session would take hours to complete due to delays from oildowns and incidents.

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Ipwich City has come to the party with a cool information display on the midway. 

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Jon Sting's dragster has a new look and on the back of recent 5.4s he is hoping to be the dragster cat amongst the funny car pigeons this weekend.

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Rod Harvey's Toyota Celica warms up in the pits.


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Pro Bike racer Glenn Wooster has some new support on board from Force Wear Components, with a cool vinyl wrap going on to the Suzuki. Wooster ran a PB 7.13 last event out in Sydney and could break into the 7.0s with better air conditions this weekend.

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Tony Defelice is back at Willowbank for the first time in five years with his Murray Anderson-built Camaro. The unusual injector hat is an Anderson-crafted piece that surprsingly is nine years old.

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Brad Lemberg is a hot favourite to win Pro Bike. The VP Racing Fuels Suzuki reset the national record when it last ran and the team is edging closer to the six second zone. Lemberg said they are looking to find some more top end in the bike and improve on their current best speed of 186mph.

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Willowbank's food and drink offerings are their usual impressive self with the Raceway Cafe offering cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners along with a bar.

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Wayne Newby has reason to smile. By just staging his car tonight, he will claim the 400 Thunder Top Fuel championship and the team will be free to chase some big numbers.

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Chris Matheson's Top Bike from above. Chris said the team has endured a horror run of five lost engines, all due to a change in the compound of oil they were using. He has now reset most of the bike back to basics in an effort to get a baseline.

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Team MEGA wrapped up the Pro Stock final at Nitro Thunder and will be chasing another double up this weekend.

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You never know what you will find on merchandise tables!

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Terry Sainty fires up the Australian-built Gulf Western Oil/Sainty family Top Fuel car.

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MacLean Motorsport crew chief Darren Mayer (left) and Scott MacLean address the team ahead of qualifying. They will be racing two cars this weekend in Pro Alcohol and Pro Slammer.

Have you see Tales From the Winternationals Part One, Day One Results or the Day One Photo Gallery? Check them out!