After three rounds, over six months, in three separate States, the Shannons Tri State Top Fuel Shootout winner has been crowned. Perth’s Martin Stamatis in his Billview Dragster grabbed the title, along with a $25,000 cheque courtesy of Shannons Insurance.
Heading into the final event of the tri-state series, any one of three drivers could have collected the money. Phil Read. Mark Mariani and Stamatis were all in contention with 100 points up for grabs at last weekend’s season-ending Winternationals at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway.
Mariani was leading the Shannons Shootout after the first two rounds courtesy of consistency and his lucky draw of 63 bonus points which were handed out at the launch of the series. There was also three time Australian Top Fuel Champ, Phil Read who could never be underestimated.
Crowd favourite Mariani was eliminated in the semi-finals (by Stamatis), so it all came down to a winner-takes-all final that not only would secure the Shannons Shootout crown but also the 2009/2010 Australian Top Fuel Championship as well.
In the end it was Stamatis, the consummate professional, that held his nerve and controlled his 7000 horsepower top fueler to dominate the final and win both titles.
“We knew that Phil [Read] could run competitively in the final and when my Billview dragster went up in flames at half track I thought at that point it was all over,” said Stamatis
“All I could do was keep on the throttle and hope for the best. When I saw the win-light at the finish line, it was a massive sense of relief.
“To win the Shannons Shootout and the Top Fuel Championship is amazing, just amazing! A huge thank you to Shannons for all their support of Top Fuel and ANDRA Pro Series drag racing,” Stamatis concluded.
Shannons Insurance’s support of the inaugural Tri State Shootout concept had proved to be a real hit, especially for the Top Fuel competitors and the sponsors themselves – “Shannons are proud to be able to support the country’s fastest form of motorsport and enjoyed the excitement of the competition coming down to the wire. It was fitting that Martin won the trifecta at Willowbank in a blaze of glory,” said Shannons’ National Sales Manager, Paul Gates.
“On behalf of Shannons I would like to congratulate all the Top Fuel teams and drivers on the season and their participation in the Shannons Tri State Shootout. A very special congratulations to Jim Read Racing and of course their driver, Martin Stamatis. It was genuinely a real pleasure to present to him the $25,000 cheque, Gates concluded.