Nitro Champs event preview

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The Nitro Champs marks the penultimate round of every ANDRA championship, from Pro Series Top Fuel to Rocket Allstars Racing Series Junior Dragster with racers keen to get the most from the event.

 

 

Allan DobsonTop Fuel has recently become one of the most interesting championship battles with Martin Stamatis taking over from Phil Lamattina at Willowbank following a runner up result for him and a semi final exit for the Fuchs team. Phil Read also boosted himself well and truly into contention with the win. Stamatis was last year’s Nitro Champs winner over Allan Dobson.

 

Sydney has been the home to much Top Fuel controversy this season. The second round of the championship at the Australian Nationals saw Lamattina disqualified after blowing a tyre on the start line, a race he would have won given the red light in the other lane. Meantime in the fifth round of the championship there, the rained out Summernationals, a run by Phil Read in front of media on the morning of qualifying day drew the ire of the Lamattina team.

 

Controversy aside, the Nitro Champs consistently produces good conditions for fuel cars provided the track does not get too cold. 

 

In Top Alcohol, reigning champion Gary Phillips holds out John Cannuli by 33 points. It’s a good buffer to have and Phillips won the Nitro Champs last year. Sydney has been a haphazard hunting ground for Phillips however, the Lucas Oils Funny Car has failed to qualify three times and gone out in the first round twice over the last eight events.

 

Cannuli’s Hennock and Sons Funny Car found consistency at the last round of the championship in Perth, he now needs to apply this philosophy to Sydney.

 

Robin JuddTop Doorslammer has become a contest between the two West Aussies – Robin Judd and John Zappia. Zappia struck the most recent blow with a Westernationals win over Judd with national record setting performances.

 

Zappia is still running the borrowed ‘Crusher’ Holden Monaro, eventually destined to be driven by his major sponsor Craig Pedley.

 

Sydney has traditionally been a good track to Zappia, his car is a better cold weather performer than Judd who has a grip on hot surfaces.

 

Remarkably third place championship sitter Maurice Fabietti will be back after his major accident at Mildura. After saying he thought he was out for the rest of the series, he has now entered for the Nitro Champs and is still a mathematical chance at the championship if things go wrong for the leaders.

 

Top Bike has seen Chris Matheson run out as a clear leader, 78 points ahead of Jay Upton. It’s easy to forget that Matheson is in his rookie season, the Nitro Voodoo team has quickly shown world class performances.

 

The race within a race here is for the first five second pass on a motorcycle in Australia. Matheson and Upton are the two contenders for the goal. Both have recorded half track figures which equal five second times if they carry out for the full track.

 

Both have their demons though. Matheson went deep on a 220mph run and ended up in the sand trap earlier this season, while Upton had a horror crash at the Nitro Champs last season, abandoning his Honda at a similar speed.

 

Top Bike is a category for the brave. Sydney’s short braking area means Upton’s parachute-equipped bike can go faster while Matheson will likely only do what he needs to in order to win races.

 

Aaron TremaynePro Stock is the closest of all the categories in the ANDRA Pro Series. Lee Bektash and the Mopar team lead by just ten points over Aaron Tremayne, with John Barbagallo just another five back.

 

Interestingly, had Barbagallo simply made a pass in qualifying at the rained out Summernationals, he would be leading the points.

 

Aaron’s brother Tyronne can still make a play for the championship if results fall his way, while Nick Xerakis, winner of the last Pro Stock round in Sydney, is also a mathematical chance. Twenty one teams are entered for the weekend which features a 16 car field, offering more opportunity for championship chaos.

 

Pro Stock Bike has seen Andrew Badcock take a 78 point lead over Phil Howard. The Dutch Master team are now the performance leaders with a regular two tenths advantage over other competitors.

 

Howard’s Kawasaki lacks the outright pace of Badcock but his riding ability is second to none. He needs Badcock to go out early to keep the championship alive.

 

 

Full entry list: http://www.wsid.com.au/cms/uploads/NC_Entries.pdf

 

Pricing

 

Friday

Adult: $25

12-16 / Seniors: $15

Family: $65

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

Saturday

Adult: $40

12-16 / Seniors: $30

Family: $110

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

Sunday

Adult: $40

12-16 / Seniors: $30

Family: $110

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

Fri / Sat

Adult: $60

12-16 / Seniors: $45

Family: $160

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

Sat / Sun

Adult: $70

12-16 / Seniors: $50

Family: $200

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

Fri / Sat / Sun

Adult: $95

12-16 / Seniors: $70

Family: $250

Kids under 12 FREE with a paying adult

 

*Family consists of two adults and three children 12-16 years of age.

 

Schedule

 

Friday

 

Spectator gates open – 8am

Racing start time – between 8am and 10am (depending on entry numbers)

Group One Scheduled for 6pm

Group One format: Pro Stock, Top Bike, Pro Stock Bike, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel.

 

Saturday

 

Spectator gates open – 8am

Racing start time – between 8am and 10am (depending on entry numbers)

Group One Qualifying runs: two

Group One Scheduled for 3pm and 6pm

Group One format: Pro Stock, Top Bike, Pro Stock Bike, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel

 

Sunday

 

Spectator gates open – 8am

Racing start time – between 8am and 10am (depending on entry numbers)

Group One Scheduled for 10:30am (Pro Stock only), 12pm, 2:30pm and 5:00pm

Group One format: Pro Stock, Top Bike, Pro Stock Bike, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel (except for Round One where Top Fuel open the finals).

 

All times to be confirmed and may change depending on number of entries.

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