8 June 2019


After glorious condition to open the event, the second day of the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals was cut short by weather as rain and then cold brought an early halt to Australia's biggest drag racing event.

The hard working team of officials at Willowbank Raceway worked diligently to dry the track after showers but with the track temperatures dropping to levels that would be unsafe for high horsepower vehicles, the decision was made to cancel the pro qualifying sessions that had been scheduled.

For the dedicated fans who sat through the weather delays, Saturday now presents itself as a high pressure situation for the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series teams who will have limited opportunity to qualify for race day. Every run will need to be made to count, or they will risk not being in the show.

While pro qualifying did not make it on track, fans were treated to a fun match race between Supercars driver Chaz Mostert in his Ford Mustang and drag racing legend Ben Bray, driving his turbocharged Toyota Solara drag car. Bray's run was off his usual six second pace but he still left Mostert in his rear view mirror in what was an interesting comparison to demonstrate the acceleration differences between the two cars.

Sportsman qualifying wrapped up with several drivers making late charges to the top.

Supercharged Outlaws driver Peter Gratz redeemed himself after a potential top qualifying pass on Thursday was disqualified, returning for an even better 6.221 at 230mph in his Hemi Cuda. It was a new personal best for the Queenslander, who once held the world record for the fastest supercharged sedan pass in the world.

Jason Ellem stepped up in the Extreme Bike class, knocking out a 7.105 run as the contenders edged closer to the six second zone.

Peter Anastasopoulos took his Ford Mustang to a blazing 6.893 in Top Sportsman to take over the number one position, while Jess Turner slightly extended her lead in Modified with an improved 6.883.

David McDonnell went extremely close to the perfect 9.900 pass in Super Gas, going 9.901.

While Barry Plumpton was unable to best Greg Tsakiridis' time in Pro Extreme qualifying, the New Zealand driver made an impression on Willowbank Raceway fans with a 5.886 from his Camaro, the quickest run by a nitrous vehicle ever at the venue.

Saturday marks the beginning of eliminations for the sportsman categories, before the pressure of 400 Thunder pro qualifying, with action set to resume at Willowbank Raceway from 8am.

Spectators are advised to monitor Willowbank Raceway's Website for any updates to the schedule for the day.

Photo: Chaz Mostert and Ben Bray provided a bit entertainment with a Supercar vs Drag Car match race. (Pic by Drag Photos)