Top End racer returning to Calder Park

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Northern Territory drag racer, Matt Abel, will again make the long trek south to Melbourne to compete in the True Blue event at Calder Park on Saturday and Sunday, January 22-23.

Darwin-based Abel will be racing in the Australian Eighth-mile (201metres) Doorslammer Championship. 

Abel last raced at Calder Park in the recent (November 20) Spring HorsePower Challenge in his new 1957 Chevrolet Belair Top Doorslammer.

While that event was only the second outing for the former US-built Pro Modified Chevy, which Abel bought in June last year after seeing it for sale on a US internet site, he is looking to start the New Year with a win. 

Abel, who owns and runs a commercial floor and wall tiling company in Darwin, bought the Chevy from Andy McCoy Race Cars in Washington, Missouri. The car arrived in Australia in August last year.   

“The car was built by Andy (McCoy). It was his personal race car. One of my friends saw it for sale on the internet and told me about it. The price was reasonable, so I phoned Andy and did the deal,” Abel said.

“Since the car arrived in Australia, we have spent the past five months sorting it out. Every time we take it to the (race) track we make improvements, which was the case when we raced at Calder in November. I think it will be a quick car at Calder Park this time around.” 

While the car was built in the US, the 1957 Chevrolet Belair body was moulded in Australia and shipped to the US.

“The body was moulded off Victor Bray’s ‘57 Chevrolet (Belair). Andy said it is the best looking ‘57 body for a Doorslammer race car in the world, which is why he bought the body,” Abel said.  

Joining Abel at Calder in the Eighth-mile championship is fellow Top End Doorslammer racer Scott McLean (‘53 Studebaker).

Other leading Doorslammer racers also competing include, Peter Kapiris (’59 Dodge Saratoga) from Melton, who won the eighth-mile Doorslammer event at the Spring HorsePower Challenge, Maurice Fabietti (’05 Holden Monaro CV8Z), Mark Belleri (’67 Chevrolet Camaro), Ben Bray (’05 Holden Monaro CV8Z), Victor Bray (‘57 Chevrolet Belair), Sean Mifsud (’41 Willys), Dennis Brijeski (’67 Chevrolet Camaro) and Tony DeFelice (’67 Chevrolet Camaro).

Also racing at the True Blue event are two new generation high-tech drag race cars, a turbocharged Toyota Aurion and rotary turbocharged Mazda 6. 

The Toyota Aurion, driven by former Australian Pro Stock champion, Tony Wedlock, and the Mazda 6 by Rocky Rehayem, are among the worlds quickest and fastest six-cylinder and rotary-powered cars will go head-to-head in the Pro FX (Pro Factory Xtreme) challenge.

While the Doorslammers will race over the eighth-mile, all other categories, including the Pro FX Challenge, will race over the traditional quarter-mile.

Qualifying is on Saturday, January 22, from 12 noon to 10pm, while racing is on Sunday, January 23, from 10am to 5.30pm.

Spectator entry: Single day pass; Adults, $40; Concession (pensioners/disabled/carers and children 14-17 years), $20; family (2 adults and 2 concession), $100; children 14 years and under free.
Weekend pass; Adults, $70; Concession, $30; family, $180.
Pre-purchase tickets now available. Phone: (03) 9091 0800 or visit

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