Warm sunshine bathed the Willowbank Raceway for the opening day of the 2011 Castrol EDGE Winternationals, with close and fast fields being the order of the day in most classes.
In the feature class for today – ANDRA Pro Series Pro Stock, it was Dave Newcombe who continued his outstanding form from the Winters warmup to set the pace with a 7.044 second pass 194.24mph in the first qualifying session. There are three cars to be eliminated from the field after qualifying ends and currently those on the outside looking are favoured runners, Andrew Stavroulakis, veteran Peter Ridgeway and Nick Xerakis, who had a troubled run.
The Championship looks set to come down to the wire, with Newcombe set to make a claim on Aaron Tremayne’s current points lead – Tremayne ending tonight’s session fourth quickest.
In other categories, glamour girl Michelle Osborn set the pace in Modified. Meantime, in Super Sedan a very quick pass was recorded at the last moment in the final qualifying session by Mathew Basanovic – who popped into the six second bracket with a very quick 6.97 pass – at 200.00mph!
Both the Competition and Super Stock categories see drivers having to qualify under their index times if they wish to make the field, whilst the Supercharged Outlaws field sees racers needing to set a 7.40 to get in the field on an eight second cut off.
Tomorrow, action steps up when Top Fuel and all the big guns of the ANDRA Pro Series take to the track at lunchtime.
American NHRA Top Fuel Superstar – Cory McClenathan was at Willowbank making final preparations to his Rapisarda Racing Top Fuel dragster with spannerman and former racer, Glenn Mikres.
The likeable American is itching to take the track tomorrow – his first ever run at Willowbank Raceway.