Willowbank Raceway - General News: 56th Gulf Western Oil Winternationals

56th Gulf Western Oil Winternationals

14 June 2024

The 56th Gulf Western Oil Winternationals on June 6-9 was a record-setter in many ways, with racers claiming a host of performance standards on the track’s brand new racing surface.

At least 18 track records were broken and up to 15 IHRA marks, subject to confirmation, may have been set.

Spectators and viewers witnessed the quickest elapsed time for a Nitro Funny Car with 2023 National Champion Morice McMillin recording a 3.945 in Sunday’s B final, while event winner and new National Champion Justin Walshe punched out the fastest speed for the breed at 322.11mph (518.38km/h) in the A final. McMillin’s ET and Walshe’s speed established new Willowbank Raceway track records and were the best performances ever recorded outside of North America.

On Saturday, McMillin’s 3.983 time at 316.97mph (510.11km/h) alongside Brandon Gosbell’s 4.047 at 311.70mph (501.63km/h) was Australia’s quickest and fastest side-by-side pass for Nitro Funny Cars since the breed switched to the 1000ft racing distance in May. It was also the first side-by-side 300mph pairing over 1000ft. Funny Car runner-up Gosbell was also runner-up last year and won Modified Bike at the 2016 Winternationals.

The Top Fuel cars got into the fast performances too, with repeat Australian Champion and runner-up in the final Damien Harris clocking 3.778 against event winner Wayne Newby’s 3.779, to record the quickest side-by-side pass outside of North America. It was Harris’s fourth national championship.

Earlier, in round one of eliminations, Newby’s top speed at the event of 326.48mph (525.42km/h) alongside Peter Xiberras’s 322.88mph (519.62km/h), was the fastest side-by-side pass outside of North America.

Newby’s speed matched the national and track records. Newby has been in nine Winternationals finals in Pro Alcohol and Top Fuel and this was his fourth overall win. Harris won Top Fuel in 2014 and 2018 and was set to run the 2011 final, which was washed-out.

In Top Doorslammer, West Australian Russell Taylor equalled Steve Ham’s 2021 track record of 258.81mph (416.51km/h), but took the ET mark at 5.592sec. Taylor won the National Championship and defeated Sydney’s Ronnie Palumbo in the final.

In Pro Alcohol, it was the third trip to a Winternationals final for third-generation racer Daniel Reed, who won Supercharged Outlaws in 2007 and was runner-up in that bracket in 2005. In the final, Reed defeated Russell Mills, who took the National Championship. Pro Alcohol set the quickest field in history, with a 5.598 bump-spot and in the first round of racing Reed’s 267mph (429.69km/h) blast alongside John Cannuli’s 261.78mph (421.29km/h) was the eliminator’s fastest side-by-side pass.

Pro Stock saw the quickest field in the unleaded era, with a bump spot of 7.049sec. Tyronne Tremayne defeated new National Champion Rob Dekert in the final. Tremayne has been in a total of seven Winternationals Pro Stock finals, with wins in 2007, 2008, 2023 and 2024, and runner-up placings in 2014, 2018 and 2019. The speeds recorded in Sunday’s final, 198.88mph, or 320.06km/h (Dekert) and 198.17mph, or 318.92km/h (Tremayne) made it the eliminator’s fastest side-by-side pass. Dekert set the track record at 198.88mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Luke Crowley again took home all the goodies, winning the final over Jason Lee and collecting his fourth National Championship. It was Crowley’s fourth consecutive Winternationals final. He was runner-up in 2021 and won in 2022, 2023 and this year. He also had victories in 2012 and 2014. It was Lee’s third runner-up, after also reaching finals in 1999 and 2008.

Aaron Deery won Top Fuel Motorcycle over Corey Buttigieg and in Pro Mod, Zoran Gajic defeated Daniel Camilleri. It was Gajic’s second consecutive Winternationals victory.

Other final-round results:

SuperComp: win Luke Cartledge, runner-up Darrin Gay.

Performance Bike: win Phillip Webster, runner-up Edge Mallis.

Extreme Bike: win Nathan Neilson, runner-up Dillan Lacey.

Supercharged Outlaws: win Toby Austin, runner-up: Davydd Estcourt.

Top Sportsman: win Paul Doeblien (his fourth Winternationals victory in three different eliminators), runner-up Neil Maxwell.

Modified: win Lucas Holz, runner-up Andrew Pinkstone.

Super Sedan: win Victor Tsatlogianis, runner-up Patrick Barron.

Super Street: win Josh Fletcher (his fifth Winternationals victory), runner-up Craig Warren.

Modified Bike: win Brian Alvisio, runner-up Dale Marshall.

Real Street: win Craig Collis, runner-up Paul Neilsen.

Junior Dragster: win Carlos Harvey, runner-up Vanz Peirano.

Junior Drag Bike: win Marcus McDonald, runner-up Jaidyn Schofield.

Factory Xtreme: Win Collin Willshire, runner-up Jason Payne. Willshire’s Mitsubishi Eclipse ran close to the five-second barrier for Australian four-cylinder cars during qualifying with a sensational 6.009/234.04 (376.65km/h).