Lee Bektash is no stranger to pressure situations and will have brand reputation on his shoulders for this weekend’s Southern Nationals presented by Fiat Professional and Essendon Chrysler Jeep Dodge at Calder Park.
Pro Stock finally makes its 2014 ANDRA Drag Racing season debut in a welcome return to Calder Park Raceway. It will be the first time Pro Stock has raced in championship competition in Victoria since 2001.
With crew chief Tomi Laine on board again this season, Bektash said he was confident of running in the low seven second zone right out of the gate.
“Based on the weather conditions (at) that time of the year it will be fast,” said Bektash. “Three years ago I ran 7.10 and have run 193.8 mph.
“Since then we have a better car, better suspension package thanks to Penske and around 50 more horsepower. I’m confident of low 7.0s.”
Fans can expect a tight Pro Stock field in addition to Bektash with defending champion Jason Grima, four-time champ Aaron Tremayne, the returning Jason Hedges and a string of up and comers ready to shake up the standings.
“Pro Stock is such a close bracket that you can’t be too confident on the outcome for each meeting let alone the season,” Bektash added. “But we are going in with the confidence that our team and preparation combined with great sponsors we will be strong.
“After our last round at the Nationals last year I’m looking forward to the challenge of how our off season preparations have gone and to try and maintain that gap that we had on our competitors last round; (it) would be nice to go into that first round with that up our sleeve.”
The Southern Nationals presented by Fiat Professional and Essendon Chrysler Jeep Dodge kicks off with sportsman qualifying at 1pm Friday, with the qualifying sessions of pro classes Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle at 5.45pm and 7.55pm. Saturday sees a final qualifying session for sportsman racers at 12pm and the pros at 2.20pm, with sportsman eliminations from 3.10pm and pros from 5pm.