Fresh faces in ANDRA championship’s western swing

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Nineteen Top Doorslammers and nine Top Alcohol Funny Cars and Dragsters are ready to do combat next weekend as the ANDRA championship moves on to the west coast for the 41st annual Goldenstates at Perth Motorplex.

Among them will be an amazing seven new drivers stepping up to the professional ranks for the first time, providing an influx of new blood into two of Australia’s most hotly contested drag racing categories.

Four competitors will be making their debut in the Top Doorslammer crucible – Shane Catalano, Mark Chapman, Pat Carbone and Simon Travaglini.

Another three will be stepping up into Top Alcohol – John Napier, Craig Glassby and Brian Robinson.

Many of the drivers have been competing for a while in the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship but are now taking the opportunity to step up to the big time.

Craig Glassby will be one of those drivers going pro, but he is far from inexperienced when it comes to Top Alcohol racing.

Glassby was part of the famed Castrol Top Alcohol Funny Car team, with Allan Dobson at the wheel, that ran Australia’s first five second pass in Top Alcohol in June 1993. Working together with the same crew chief from that team, Greg Gower, Glassby has been making some big gains.

He said it was sentimental timing to make his own debut in Top Alcohol.

“It’s the first time Greg and I have been back into Top Alcohol since the Castrol team and this season will be the 20th anniversary of that first five second pass in Top Alcohol,” Glassby explained. “Greg Gower came to me when I started running the car and said let’s step it up. Through the later part of last season we started to improve, eventually running a 5.70.

“This year was all about stepping into Top Alcohol trim and getting the car competitive enough to do some events on the east coast.”

Glassby admitted that entering the professional ranks is a little daunting but thrilling at the same time.
“I’m excited about running against guys like Gary Phillips,” he said. “I’ve watched him from the start line and he is a hero of mine.

I’m excited but not overwhelmed because Top Alcohol is an area we’ve always been around.”

After running as quick as 5.69 seconds in testing, Glassby has set himself a goal of first qualifying into the eight car field.

“If I could win a couple of rounds would be like a dream but it’s small steps for small children,” he said. “5.50 second times is definitely where the car will end up, without a doubt. Whether that is this meeting or in events to come, we will be there.”

The 41st annual Goldenstates will be contested at Perth Motorplex on November 16 and 17.

Image courtesy Lucas Gardner.

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