Wet Warm Up

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The 2012 Winter warm ups didn’t quite live up to the hype thanks mostly to mother nature sending some small showers over the track on Saturday and then dropping almost 50mm of rain overnight on the Willowbank Raceway facility.

Leading up to the warm up event, several racers took the opportunity to hire the track to get in some early testing or licensing.

Kirsten Tucker (Sister to Monster Energy Driver Shane) took her first steps at becoming the first ever female to be licensed to Drive an ANDRA Pro Stocker. She had done such a good job on the first day she is one full pass from having her license signed in the hope she can hit the track against 27 other cars at the Fuchs Winternationals (her 1000 foot shut off run was a 7.40 with a 1.01 sixty footer).

The other notable was Scott Mclean who has purchased Adam Crokers mustang Alcohol Funny Car, they had Daren Mayer from DMPE out to assist with licensing in the car making some big gains going 5.78 and 5.80 shutting off at 5.1 and 5.4 seconds, (He later had his upgrade approved going 5.82@247mph on Saturday).

Dennis Whiting and Peter Ridgeway were also testing with Whiting going 7.13@188 early on and Ridgeway going 7.040@195.48, (over the speed record).

Saturday we had Andrew Cowin only making the one pass and the car was set up real aggressive over powering the track in the first 20 feet and banging the blower with the over rev.

Mark Belleri was the only doorslammer to have a hit on Saturday and he left fairly easy (if you can call a 1.055 easy) then the car started to spin the tyres and head to the centerline, (Fabietti and Dack were lined up as the rain came to end the day).

Pro stock had  13 cars taking shots at the track, but it was John Barbagello who led the day with a 7.104@192.58, Aaron Tremayne ran a 7.118@192.66 to be close behind with his brother Tyronne running and identical 7.173 with Jason Hedges. Ridgeway and Whiting couldn’t improve on their weekday runs and Kirsten made an attempt at getting in that full pass but was met with what would possibly her first case of tyre shake. Bill Perdikaris, Dave Newcombe, Bruno Cavallo, Nino Cavallo and Shane Tucker stuck to early shut off runs in the 7.2-7.40 range. John Galea did a burnout only as the ANDRA officals shut him off and sent him to the back of the lanes for a safety infringement and Wayne Dayley who now has gone to RWR power was having small issues with the biggest being a linkage hitting the scoop only allowing ¼ throttle.

Chris Porter was out again with the Top Fuel Harley and he ran a lazy 7.208@189mph but in typical Nitro Harley style he had the front wheel in the air for about 300 feet of his run.

Only a handful of Modified, Super Sedan, Modified Bike, Jnr Dragster and Super Street vehicles were able to makes runs on Saturday. Scott Bettes being the quickest in Modified with a 7.66, Steven Fowler in Super sedan going 7.745 after a huge (by the teams standards) wheelstand, Kevin Cleeves was the quickest in Modified bike running 9.35 and  9.34 on his mostly street bike, Damien Morris was the only Super Street car running some high 11 second passes and Dale Duffy ran an 8.081 in the family Jnr Dragster.

With Rain putting a stop to testing for this years Winter Warm ups just before 4pm it has left the drag racing world with a lot of questions as to what will happen in 5 days. Who will win, how many Records will fall and will the closest battle in Top Fuel for many a year be decided in the last race of the event?

Photos by Cackling Pipes Photography (Paul Drady & Hayley Turns) and Black Track Photography (Mal Burgess)

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