Winternats ready for race day Sunday

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V8 Supercar stars drag race for the crowd while qualifying concludes for the largest drag racing event outside of the US

Willowbank Raceway is officially race-ready following the close of qualifying at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals tonight, setting up an exciting day of finals racing tomorrow at the Ipswich facility.

The ontrack action will kick off from 8.30am, with ANDRA Pro Series elimination racing and final championship battles hitting the track from 10.30am.

Zap set to win
One racer set to have the championship chase particularly in mind is Top Doorslammer racer John Zappia, who top qualified for his bracket and is the defending champion, chasing fellow West Aussie Robin Judd in the standings by just nine points. Judd is second on the qualifying sheet.

“I am quietly confident, but at the same time I am aware that there are around four cars that are pretty fast and they are all in the top four positions,” said Zappia.

“The first thing is to get the Striker Crushing and Screening Monaro through the first round and not overpower the track, and just take it from there.”

Someone else for the fans to keep their eye on tomorrow is US racer and multiple NHRA event winner Todd Patterson in the Pro Stock category, who will be looking to pull out all of the stops to demonstrate just what he is capable of.

The Pro Stock category, unlike the other ANDRA Pro Series categories at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals, is enjoying a 16 car field and as such completed their first round of racing this afternoon, with Patterson, Wayne Daley, Dave Newcombe, Denis Whiting, Aaron Tremayne, John Barbagallo, Tyronne Tremayne and Scott Porter all advancing to their quarter final.

US racer Patterson takes on Australia’s best
“Unfortunately I had to face off against Peter Ridgeway (who was the top qualifier for the category) – the man responsible for bringing me out here – in the first round which wasn’t ideal,” said Patterson.

“We aren’t totally happy with how the car is performing, we know we can do better and we have made some changes so hopefully tomorrow we can make a big push.

“At the same time it has been a great trip, everyone has been very hospitable and to catch up with so many of my customers from the past 20 years I have been involved in Patterson Engines has been a great thing, we are really enjoying the trip over here and tomorrow is a new day, so hopefully we will have some better results to top it off.”

Joining Zappia and Ridgeway in the ANDRA Pro Series Top Qualifying ranks today were Martin Stamatis (Top Fuel), Aaron Hambridge (Top Alcohol), Chris Matheson (Top Bike) and Peter Cochrane (Pro Stock Bike) – with Matheson and Hambridge in particular having the crowd enthralled with stand-out performances.

Also gaining a large reaction from the crowd today were V8 Supercar stars Greg Murphy and Russell Ingall, who competed in three match races aboard actual V8 Supercars for the Castrol EDGE V8 Supercar Shootout.

Greg Murphy and his Castrol EDGE Racing Holden claimed the honours 2-1, after the Paul Morris Motorsport team-mates headed into their final run with a victory a piece

“What a great experience, the Castrol EDGE V8 Supercar Challenge was a lot of fun!” enthused Murphy following the event.

“Russell and I split the wins in the first two races, so it was all on the line in the final.

“I don’t think our reactions in the decider were anything to write about and my Castrol EDGE Commodore had a lot of wheel spin, but I was able to get the win light, which I’m pretty happy about – it also means I’ve got bragging rights in our team, at least until Darwin next weekend!”

While Murphy might have won, Ingall was quick to suggest that it was the least he could do following Murphy’s rough start to the V8 Supercar season.

“Today was great fun, we were a bit worried about too much grip being the biggest issue as the track is so tacky – that is the first time you will hear about a v8 driver complaining about too much grip!” said Ingall.

The V8 supcar boy’s strut their stuff (pic blacktrack)
“We got off to a good start though and ‘Murph’ and I had a few close runs – since he has had not a great start to the year though I thought I would let him win it – just call me a nice guy,” added a laughing Ingall.

“It was great to get out here today, the atmosphere and the crowd and the facility is just amazing and the racing from the guys here is just phenomenal – the times are so close and it is just intense – I got the chance to stand behind a 3000hp Top Fuel dragster and I can tell you, I don’t’ get scared too easy but that made me jump – those guys are certainly brave!”

The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is the largest drag racing event outside of the US and is the season-ending event for the ANDRA Pro Series.

Tomorrow’s racing action continues from 8.30am with ANDRA Pro Series eliminations racing from 10.30am, with all finals from 3.00pm. For more information and schedules, please visit

Thursday June 10 – Sunday June 13

Racing from:
Top Fuel, Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, Morgan & Wacker Top Bike and Morgan & Wacker Pro Stock Bike.
Also includes racing from Lifestyle Floorcoverings Competition, Lifestyle Floorcoverings Super Stock, McKern & Associates Super Compact, Custom Central Competition Bike, Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Speed Elec/Prime Signs Super Street, Modified Bike, Qld Diesel Spares Junior Dragster, Super Gas and Perfect Print Perfect Light

Ticketing information: pre-purchase available from
Adult Admission – Sunday 13th June 2010: $50.00
Student (with ID) Sunday 13th June 2010: $42.00

Please visit for full event information.

Stamatis leads the TF field
Hambridge’s 5.51 qualifier has set the bar

pictures|Luke Nieuwhof|

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