Queensland 500 will have pre-qualifying, high entry list

"Highest Quality Field Ever For VIP Petfoods Queensland 500" Defending race champion Mark Skaife has declared the field for this month's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 as one of the best ever assembled for an endurance race in Australia. Friday...

"Highest Quality Field Ever For VIP Petfoods Queensland 500"

Defending race champion Mark Skaife has declared the field for this month's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 as one of the best ever assembled for an endurance race in Australia.

Friday pre-qualifying will be required after 42 cars entered to fill the 36 grid positions for the 500km endurance race, which is set to be one of the most vital contests of the year with double points up for grabs.

Skaife is hoping to lengthen his commanding lead in the Shell Championship Series by beating the 35 other entries to the chequered flag on August 26 at Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich in his Holden Racing Team Commodore. The 36-car grid will involve the stars of the Shell Championship Series, Konica V8 Supercar Series as well as international visitors.

"It's one of the best quality fields we have seen for an endurance race and the competition will possibly the toughest ever," said Skaife.

"It also shapes as one of the most open races we have seen for a long, long time.

"There are so many variables in these races, but the nature of the Queensland Raceway means that so many cars are kept in contention.

"Last year there were five of us battling up the front like a sprint race." The Holden Racing Team has nominated Skaife, Jason Bright, Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera to drive their two VT Commodores in the race, but final driving pairings are not expected to be made until the last minute.

Skaife believes the VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 has become one of the most crucial races of the Shell Championship Series and that the first two events have certainly had a major influence on the outcome of his own season. "In 1999 the event played a major part in us missing out on the championship," said Skaife.

"Last year it play a major role in us winning the championship, it's that important."

Skaife has joined a long list of V8 Supercar stars in push to tell race fans that the traffic problems at Queensland Raceway experienced in 1999 have been solved.

"There have been no problems since the first race, but this year this message is getting out," said Skaife. "The organizers have a traffic plan in the place and that's great for the fans.

"It would be great to see a massive crowd flood back for this race." Skaife currently lead the championship on 2006 points from teammate Jason Bright (1902) and Gold Coast-based Ford driver Steve Johnson (1692).

Tickets for this year's VIP Petfoods Queensland 500 can be purchased Ticketthrough master7.com or by phoning 1 300 888 086.

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About this article
Series Supercars
Drivers Jason Bright , Mark Skaife , Steve Johnson
Teams Holden Racing Team