2010 ANDRA Top Fuel champion Martin Stamatis will be back in action at Perth Motorplex this Friday and Saturday when the venue plays host to the opening round of the 2014 ANDRA Drag Racing Series.
Stamatis did make a brief appearance at the Australian Nationals in Sydney in November, but only for one qualifying session, with a rough launch giving him a concussion. On top of illness he had pre-event, the call was made to put team mate Phil Read into the seat instead for the remainder of the event.
“It was awful, my head was just throbbing,” he said. “But we had a premonition I wouldn’t be right to drive anyway so we had told Phil to bring his driving gear to the track.
“He did a great job in a car he wasn’t familiar with.”
The Billview team has been out testing recently to do some final checks to the 500kmh nitro-fuelled dragster before commencing competition in earnest.
“We tested the car to half track and got some good data despite really hot conditions,” Stamatis said.
“We noticed the engine was scuffing a few pistons at the Nationals in November so (crew chief) Rob Cavagnino had a brand new fuel pump on there and with that comes a new fuel curve he had to try and match up to our combination.”
The opening event in Perth will actually be a double header with two separate championship rounds over two nights on January 10 and 11.
Stamatis is looking forward to the format for the event which will see cars on track as much as possible over the two nights.
“I’m getting to the stage where I am not a big fan of spending a whole day qualifying then a whole day racing and limiting the show on race day,” he said. “I think it is wise in tough times to try and put the best possible show you can, getting all the cars out for all the rounds.”
Stamatis will also be back for the Westernationals in March which plays host to Top Fuel for the first time in the over four decades the event has been running.
“The car is staying in Perth between the events and we will send all the damaged stuff back to Sydney,” he said.
As for the rest of the season, Stamatis said it was case of what will be, will be.
“We’re thinking about the season, it’s not about points, we would just like to race for a whole season again,” he said. “But the reality is we are still building a team, we only made this meeting because Jim (Read) is not racing. If Jim decides he wants to go racing he takes his trailer back and his crew members back.
“It’s a tough situation but we will see how the year pans out. For 2015 we are looking at a full blown season. We’re definitely back.”
Stamatis will be taking on a tough field including Phil Lamattina, Damien Harris, Mark Sheehan and Allan Dobson. In addition to Top Fuel dragsters, the event also includes the opening round of the Top Fuel Motorcycle series and the second round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship.