Willowbank looking forward to the past, Nostalgia drag racing

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The second round of The Cruzin’ Magazine Nostalgia Drags and Hot Rod Reunion will see hundreds of Hot Rodders from around the country blow the dust out of their cars and set a course for Willowbank Raceway on 14th August, 2016 where they’ll be in for a celebration of the quickest and fastest cars of yesteryear. 

A three-part interstate series, the 14th August will be the second round put on by Cruzin’ Magazine and the second round to be held at Willowbank Raceway, which itself enjoys an exalted reputation amongst the Nostalgia Racing category thanks to the venue’s decades of rich, racing history.

“Being Brisbane based, when we originally wanted to do some Nostalgia Racing all the way back in 2004 of course the first place we went was Willowbank,” explains Cruzin’ Magazine’s Gavin Kelso. “It helped that there was a great story and plenty of history behind the track, as a facility originally built by enthusiasts and to this day, run by enthusiasts,” he goes on to add.

The Cruzin’ Magazine Nostalgia Drags boasts a horde of racing classes totally unique to the event, which Kelso explains was a deliberate move to foster a hot rod and classic muscle car environment for like-minded enthusiasts to race. “Not having late-model cars allows owners of these classic vehicles to line up and race against similar vehicles which is a real spectacle for the crowd and great for the entrants,” Kelso adds.

On track, fans of retro racing will be treated to fields from Top Eliminator, Wild Bunch, Vintage Gas, Top Gas, Middle Eliminator, Nostalgia Eliminator, Hot Rod, Nostalgia Super Stock, Stock, Street Machine, Nitro, HAMBster, and Classic Bike categories.

“It’s an exciting series but the beauty is that it’s grassroots racing,” explains Cruzin’ Magazine’s Paul Biagini. “You can build a HAMBster for example, for as little as $8,000! It’s all affordable and it’s goes back to the basics of the racing from the ’50s, harking back to the Southern California days. Drag Racing is such an important part of the hot rod landscape,” he explains.

More than just on-track action, the Cruzin’ Magazine Nostalgia Drags and Hot Rod Reunion offers spectators just as much to see and do around the rest of the venue with Cruzin’ Magazine and Willowbank collaborating to provide an unrivalled spectator experience, ensuring fans get their money’s worth.

As well as a DJ to provide a soundtrack for the event there’ll also be an extensive show’n’shine of some of the finest Hot Rods from around Queensland and interstate sponsored by Shannon’s Insurance. Racers and spectators alike will also have the opportunity to cruise their Hot Rods in a parade, which will be a sight not to be missed!

Car enthusiasts will also enjoy a specialised Hot Rodding Swap Meet at the event, as well as trade stands from some of the scene’s leading parts and accessories suppliers.

In another treat for the crowd, Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car drivers Rick Gauci and Shane Olive will be on site at the event, laying down exhibition passes in Nitro Hot Rods.

“I’ve been in and around Drag Racing since I was five years old,” begins Rick Gauci, who’ll pilot ‘Beserk’ at the Nostalgia Drags, while fellow Aeroflow driver Shane Olive will be behind the wheel of ‘Pyscho’.

Now a thirteen-year veteran of the sport, it was through Gauci’s heavy involvement in the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro that the Cowin family reached out regarding the Nitro Hot Rods. “I have a sponsorship deal with Aeroflow which led to Graeme and Wendy asking me to drive Beserk. I haven’t been out of the seat since!” he explains.

In the spirit of the Cruzin’ Magazine Nostalgia Drags, Beserk and Psycho are
almost as period-correct as they come. “Beserk is a 115-inch chassis and runs a ‘small pump’ combo’. The engine specs are in line, in fact except for the rear wing they’re very, very close to the cars of yesteryear,” continues Gauci.

“Compared to modern race cars, where you can be very aggressive with the steering wheel, the Nostalgia cars are a lot twitchier because they have very little down force. They basically wander down the track… they’re a handful!” laughs Gauci as we probe about the differences between the Nostalgia category and Gauci’s regular drive in his Nitro Funny Car.

“This will be the first time they’ve set foot on a track other than Sydney. Queensland fans can expect plenty of noise out of the dragster pipes and plenty of nitro flames. We’re also hoping for our first 5-second pass; they’re right on the brink,” says Gauci, listing the many reasons fans should flock to the Cruzin’ Magaizine Nostalgia Drags to check out the Nitro Hot Rods.

For more information on ticketing, including great value deals on Family Passes, visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au.


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