Queensland's newest Top Fuel driver will get to display her skills in front of a Willowbank Raceway home crowd for the first time in competition at News Years Thunder on Saturday, January 6.
Kelly Bettes took over the steering duties for Victoria's Lamattina Top Fuel Racing team earlier this year and has since impressed in events at Sydney Dragway, Darwin's Hidden Valley and Alice Springs Inland Dragway.
But returning home and putting on a 500kmh show for family and friends is an opportunity Bettes is relishing.
“I have a lot of my family and friend coming out to see me, and nitro Top Fuel dragsters, for the first time,” she said.
“For me it just adds to the fun and it pumps me up that they will all be there to cheer us on. As far as the pressure goes, I have pressure on me in competition regardless.
“It will be great for my extended family and close friends who maybe don't get to see drag racing normally to see what the Lamattina Top Fuel Racing team can do.”
New Years Thunder at Willowbank Raceway marks the second round of the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series championship for Top Fuel. The opening round at Sydney Dragway in November did not run to the script Bettes would have liked with a first round exit from competition.
“As a whole we were pretty disappointed with the results in Sydney,” she said. “We came into it a little more confident than what the results showed.
“The team and our crew chief Aaron Hambridge have been doing some research and looking into what is going in the car and we will be doing testing before New Years Thunder, so hopefully we can nut out the issues.
“The car was strong when we raced at Nitro Up North in Darwin and we want to get back to that performance. We will be looking in the clutch area to find the solution to the tyre shake and dropped cylinders we were experiencing.
“I'm looking forward to another shot and seeing what we can do as a team, hopefully we will be a strong force.”
Top Fuel's shift to 1000 feet racing has been one of the big changes this season, but as a relative rookie to Top Fuel, Bettes said she was not having to change too many habits.
“You are getting the majority of the run like any other day. The reality is there is not much difference in speed, but you don't have to hang in the throttle for another 300 feet which is where it can get hairy.”
Bettes will be carrying the Queensland flag against an awesome field as part of the second round of the 400 Thunder championship, including the USA's Ashley Sanford, reigning champion Wayne Newby, Australia's quickest Top Fuel driver Damien Harris and new championship threat Peter Xiberras.
New Years Thunder at Willowbank Raceway on January 6, 2018, will feature a smorgasbord of drag racing action including the earth-shaking, 500kmh Top Fuel dragsters, Pro Slammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike in the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series as well as Supercharged Outlaws, Pro Radial, Extreme Bike, Top Sportsman, Super Sedan, Super Street and Super Gas in the 400 Thunder Sportsman Drag Racing Series.
Spectator tickets are available online at http://www.willowbankraceway.com.au/MembersArea/orders/choose_event.aspx.