International assault at Willowbank Raceway
Queensland's Willowbank Raceway has been given the International stamp of approval by United States Top Fuel drag racer Glenn Mikres, in the lead up to this weekend's Top Fuel and Top Alcohol National Open.
A regular fixture on the Australian drag racing scene for the past 13 years, Mikres has declared season 2004 as one which will further progress the sport to the elite level it enjoys back in his own country.
"Willowbank Raceway has always been the best in this country and it has benefited from the recent work done to the surface," said Mikres soon after touching down in Australia earlier this week.
"It's always going to be hard to compare Australian and American drag racing because back home we regularly have 25 top fuelers competing in a whole series, while at the moment there are much less here in Australia.
"But these are exciting times with Willowbank setting a high standard and the impending opening of the new facility in Sydney.
"It can only be a good thing for the development of the sport and there's no doubt Australia is making great headway.
"The quality of the cars, especially now, are as good as any and with the access to parts and pieces this has ensured Australian drag racing fans are being treated to the best entertainment in the World."
Mikres is well placed to comment on the state of Australian drag racing having driven in various regions of Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and back home in the States.
The well-travelled competitor refers to his many journeys back to Australia during the American off-season as just another commute to work.
"During the American season I'm crew chief for the J4 Team that races out of Denver and it's now a regular in my life to be behind the controls of the Santo's Cranes team under the instruction of my good friend Santo Rapisarda," added Mikres.
"My Australian experiences date back to 1990 when Jim Read called to see if I'd like to join a new series that was being launched here.
"Unlike many of the American drivers who like to take a break after our season, I love to travel and thought this would be a great way to see Australia.
"I've developed many new friendships here and am keen to maintain my involvement.
As far as this weekend is concerned, the American isn't making any rash predictions however he does declare his intentions toward a second Australian Championship in 2004 after securing the title in 1998.
"It's an exciting year ahead for us and we're currently developing a car that we hope will be up and running by the third round during the opening of the new track in Sydney.
"We haven't spent a great deal of time or money on the old car for this weekend but I'm sure we can be competitive and it'd certainly be nice to pick up some points towards the Championship after all that's what it's all about."
January 3, 2004 -- Featuring Top Fuel and Top Alcohol
Other racing includes: Supercharged Outlaws, SuperComp, Competition Bike, Modified, Super Sedan, Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster, Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson