AUS: Willowbank Winternationals Friday summary

Excellent racing conditions saw performance standards at an all-time high during qualifying for the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway tonight with current ANDRA Australian Top Doorslammer champion Ben Bray leading the charge. Bray top ...

Excellent racing conditions saw performance standards at an all-time high during qualifying for the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway tonight with current ANDRA Australian Top Doorslammer champion Ben Bray leading the charge.

Bray top qualified in the Top Doorslammer category with his quickest time of 6.07sec, which was 0.02 seconds quicker than the National record.

The qualifying pass was run alongside Grant O'Rourke, whose time of 6.156 made it the second quickest side-by-side clocking ever in Top Doorslammer.

Current Pro Stock Motorcycle championship leader Daniel Peatey delivered the quickest pass recorded for the drag racing category in Australia at 7.533sec.

With two qualifying sessions remaining tomorrow, the 23 year-old Queenslander leads the Pro Stock Motorcycle field, followed by defending Australian champion Sam Scerri, who clocked an equally impressive 7.55sec.

Peatey's record breaking achievement broke the existing record which had been held for the past four years.

Caloundra's Steve Read led a spectacular Top Fuel qualifying session by topping the timesheets with a 4.94sec.

Rookie Darrren Morgan exploded an engine in a spectacular flash of flame but still qualified second with a 5.64.

Read hasn't enjoyed the best of fortune in season 2003/04 and appears to have saved his best for last.

His first-up time was just a shade off the existing 4.75 second Australian record set by Andrew Cowin during the 2002 Winternationals.

In a major coup for Willowbank Raceway, an unprecedented 31 entries in Supercharged Outlaws has ensured a titanic battle to scale down to the final 16 qualifiers during tomorrow's final qualifying opportunity.

On today's performances it will take consistent mid-seven second passes just to make the final cut and then it's shaping as a cut-throat scenario during the eliminator phase.

Another pointer towards records being further challenged over the weekend is the fact many drivers across all three categories of racing have recorded personal best times.

In line with the performances on the quarter mile strip, Raceway officials couldn't have been happier with the tremendous support they received on day one.

Crowd numbers were exceptionally high and there's growing optimism of unprecedented numbers attending the next two days of competition, as the Winternationals edge closer to Sunday night's final eliminator program.

"Being part of the working week we can understand the numbers being down on a Friday, but this year it may have been a case of fans taking scheduled sick leave," said Willowbank Raceway General Manager Harry Rowsell.

"During the early part of the day our gate attendants were kept reasonably busy and then once the sun had dropped the momentum picked up.

"It's shaping as an excellent program of drag racing and it's obvious when we put on a good show the fans will show up.

"Judging by today's performances on the track coupled with the great numbers on hand to witness day one of the Winternationals it's shaping as a special occasion for Willowbank Raceway."

Grandstand seating is still available for the Winternationals and can be purchased at the gate.

As the final round of 15 ANDRA Australian Championships from Top Fuel to Junior Dragster, the Willowbank Winternationals will showcase the best teams from throughout Australia, racing for the coveted ANDRA Gold Christmas Trees.

The Ipswich City Council is fully committed to motorsport in the region and is an active member of the Carnival of Horsepower promotion that seeks to encourage the general public to attend three major events on the Ipswich sporting calendar.

The Willowbank Raceway Winternationals will be held on June 11-13, the Ipswich Turf Club will host the Ipswich Cup on June 19 while V8 Supercars are featured during the 6th round of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship series at Queensland Raceway on July 2-4.

-wbr-

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Series General
Drivers Andrew Cowin