The ANDRA Pro Series category of Pro Stock will boast not only the largest Pro field of the season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway over June 10-13, but also the tightest battle for the championship.
The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is an entertainment extravaganza held annually at Willowbank Raceway across the Queen’s Birthday weekend and is the season-finale for the ANDRA Pro Series – the elite professional level of drag racing in Australia.
In the Pro Stock category, the three-time and defending Champion Aaron Tremayne is just 14 points ahead of fellow Queenslander Dave Newcombe as an expected 20 plus Pro Stockers get ready for the largest drag racing event held outside of the US.
The margin means that this is the tightest Pro Stock championship in recent years, with Aaron Tremayne and his brother Tryonne Tremayne dominating the category since bursting onto the scene in 2007.
The younger of the Tremayne brothers, who won his maiden Castrol EDGE Winternationals gold Christmas tree on his way to his third consecutive Pro Stock championship in 2010, said he was feeling the pressure heading into the event.
“This season so far has been challenging, up to the Nitro Champs I had a good run winning both of the completed meetings, but the championship is really close – its really between myself, Dave (Newcombe) and Jason (Hedges),” said Tremayne. “Dave is the biggest danger as he is very much in reach points-wise and with reports that he will debut a new car and engine he will be hard to beat. I have great respect for him as a racer, his reaction times are excellent, he drives well and is very consistent and that is what wins championships, so I will have an eye on him all through the Castrol EDGE Winternationals.
“When we first started out in this game you had maybe eight cars racing in this class, today there are over 30 cars in competition and we are likely to get more than 20 at the Winternationals – the category has just exploded.”
So what does the three-time champion expect from the Castrol EDGE Winternationals?
“Willowbank has a great racing surface, and with the conditions at this time of year Pro Stock has the prime opportunity to really shine – the track is killer, and even if you miss your setup you still have the opportunity to go fast,” said Tremayne. “If the conditions are right I think you will see your first ‘six second’ pass, hopefully it will be either myself of my brother Tyronne who sets it, but I also think John Barbagallo, Lee Bektash, Andrew Stavroulakis, Peter Ridgeway and Nick Xerakias are also ones to watch closely! It is going to be great racing.”
Petries’ Dave Newcombe did himself a big favour at the recent Nitro Champs to reduce his gap to the leader from 73 to just 14 points, courtesy of an event win while Tremayne bowed out in round two.
“The Nitro Champs would have to be the most bizarre race meeting that I have attended with the weather and for the Pro Stock category there were more curve balls than a baseball match!” said Newcombe. “I mean I still can’t believe my luck – the first round and then the second round against the reigning champ with a perfect light and a win, and then in the semi despite my red light Nick Xerakias hitting the centre line to see me in the final where I went up against a red-lighting Lee Bektash to take the win!
“Hopefully I just haven’t used up all of my luck, as I want to carry some into the Winternationals, where I am in two minds as to whether to stick to the current set up and shoot for the championship, or to switch to my new car and try and run the first six second Australian pro stock pass.
“This year really should see that milestone surpassed, and I believe there a few teams capable of it so my crew and I are still tossing up whether there would be more fame in the record or the title!
“Perhaps I will test my luck and run the new car, you never know I might be lucky enough to pull off both! Whatever happens though, I have to thank my sponsors Village Motors, Brisbane Isuzu, Castrol Australia and also my crew as without all of them I would just be a spectator and not having to make these decisions!”
Heading into the June Willowbank Raceway event Aaron Tremayne is on 289 points followed by Dave Newcombe on 275 points and Jason Hedges on 196 points. Aaron Tremayne would like to thank his team and crew members (both past and present) and sponsors Tremaniac Racing Engines, SJ Fox Homes, Noonan Race Engineering, Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks, Bradnams Windows and Doors, LAT Racing Oils and Millers Hardware.
The Pro Stockers will be joined on track at the season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals by the rest of the ANDRA Pro Series ranks – including the 7000 horsepower Top Fuelers, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock, alongside the racers of the Rocket All Stars Racing Series sportsman categories, with in excess of 500 racers set to hit the Willowbank Raceway quarter-mile across Friday June 10 to Monday June 13.
The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is an entertainment extravaganza held annually across the Queen’s Birthday weekend and is expected to provide an economic injection of millions of dollars into the South East Queensland region. Children aged 13 and under are able to gain free admission to the Raceway during the Castrol EDGE Winternationals, and students with ID are able to gain discounted entry. One-day, two-day and full-event passes are all available – for more information, to purchase tickets and for schedules, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, hosting year-round racing including four ANDRA Pro Series rounds per year including the Castrol EDGE Winternationals. For more information, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au