Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder kicks off today at Sydney Dragway and Australian drag racing fans have given their opinions on who the winners will be.
Lamattina Top Fuel Racing driver Kelly Bettes is the favourite in Top Fuel, earning 45% of the vote, while Peter Xiberras' form has not gone unnoticed with 22% choosing the Premiair team to take victory. Despite holding the championship lead, just 11% of people rated Damien Harris as their expected winner. Eight cars will contest the all-run format on Saturday, with Rachelle Splatt and Terry Sainty both returning to the fray.
As expected, Pro Slammer was a two horse race in the fan vote. The home track advantage seems to have tipped the survey in Paul Mouhayet's favour, as Moits Racing secured 47% of the vote to John Zappia's 42% for the Fuchs/Dananni Hotshots Monaro. If you want a dark horse in the field, you could do worse than Ben Bray – with 5% of fans thinking he has a shot at the win. Thirteen cars in total will make the Pro Slammer field including the competition debut of Emilio Spinozzi's Speedmaster Chevelle.
Gary Phillips' time away from Pro Alcohol has not soured his reputation with the fans as the favourite to win on 51% of the vote. Championship leader Steve Reed is expected to rebound from an average showing at Santo's Super Thunder at Willowbank in March, with 30% of the vote while Russell Mills is perhaps a little underrated at 10%. It's great to see Pro Alcohol returning to strength with Geoff Blake and Alf Sciacca new additions to the field.
Pro Stock championship leader Aaron Tremayne is the favourite to win with 61% of the vote in his class, brother Tyronne Tremayne next on 18%. Jason Hedges has been in good race form recently and with 10% of the vote we think a few of our fans might have backed a winner! Pro Stock is also seeing numbers finally rise a little with Jodi Racco and Nick Xerakias back in action this weekend.
Top Bike saw a definitive opinion on the winner with Chris Matheson voted the victor by 88% of Drag News Magazine readers! Chris Porter is back in the nitro bike field this weekend and on 9% of the vote he might be the one to take it to Matheson.
The biggest split in votes was in Pro Bike, where it seems to be a coin toss between a number of front runners. Corey Buttigieg's recent win in Adelaide boosted his stakes and 32% of the vote was the result. Maurice Allen holds 22% of the vote, while Brad Lemberg was severely underrated in our opinion at 20% of the vote. Throw in Glenn Wooster on a new bike with 9% and Andrew Badcock, also on 9%, and for our money this is one of the toughest classes to pick.
Official testing begins tonight from 5.30pm at Sydney Dragway with racing from 3.30pm tomorrow.