New drag format has champions on board
TWO former drag racing champions have thrown their support behind the new model adopted for Willowbank's Easter meet, dubbing it "revolutionary".
Former national Top Fuel champion Phil Lamattina and Top Alcohol veteran Steve Reed, winner of the 2012 Winternationals Top Alcohol trophy, said the new Super 3 Extreme Drag Race event would see major tactical changes occur from the drivers.
"From my standpoint as a long-time drag racer, it is absolutely a revolutionary approach - light-years away from the traditional eliminations format we are all familiar with," Reed said.
"While tradition is a great thing, I am all for this event - the benefits to the fans, the sponsors and of course to the racers are undeniable.
"There is more entertainment for the fans and more track-time for the sponsors, and for the racers you are guaranteed at least two runs each day - eliminating the possibility of sitting out the action just because things didn't go your way during qualifying."
Announced at the end of last year, the concept sees professional drag racing not only return to the Easter timeslot at the state's premier drag racing facility, but do so with a format never before seen in Australian national title competition. The weekend of racing will operate on the idea of two individual championship rounds in one event, with a winner to be crowned on both the Friday and the Saturday of the event.
Racing will begin with the first pass for all cars followed by an elimination round for all cars later in the evening.
From this round, the third and fourth quickest winners will proceed to a preliminary final while the two quickest winners battle it out in the final, as per recent rule changes ratified this season in the ANDRA rulebook.
Once the winner is crowned on Friday, the full field for each bracket will get ready to do it all over again on Saturday.
Lamattina said he was looking forward to racing for the Louie Rapisarda Trophy as he chases the Top Fuel national championship.
"Easter at Willowbank Raceway is certainly going to be something different," he said.
"The new event format is going to deliver a real treat for the fans by creating a pressure-cooker for the racers - thanks to the pair of one-day events, we are going to have to be on our game and ready to win from when we roll off the trailer.
"Strategy and tactics are going to be key and there will be a fine line to tread between being too aggressive and too conservative.
"For the fans, that is going to mean intense and hard-fought racing right from the get-go.
"With two events in two days, if things don't go your way, you have the chance to redeem yourself on day two which is great and a benefit championship-wise as well with points on the line each day - having said that though, if you have a bad weekend overall, it could hurt!
"The pressure will certainly be on. I know for us personally we will be looking to milk every possible opportunity out of the weekend as we pursue the national championship - everyone wants to win, but we feel we are in a very strong position at the moment and we do not want to see any chance slip away."
The Super 3 Extreme Drag Race will be held at Willowbank Raceway on March 29-30.