Latest News Group One Revolutionary new event format promises Easter thrills

ANDRA and Willowbank Raceway are pleased to announce an exciting new event will be added to the 2013 calendar featuring championship rounds of Top Fuel and Top Alcohol.

The Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race concept, featuring the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Trophy Race, will see professional drag racing not only return to the Easter timeslot (29-30 March 2013) at Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, but do so with a format never before seen in Australian title competition.

Willowbank Raceway Managing Director Steve Bettes said the new format and event had come about after a long period of preparations with the Australian National Drag Racing Association.

“After more than three years of development by Willowbank Raceway and many months working closely with ANDRA’s new CEO Malcolm Bulley, I am so excited to be able to say everything is in place for this exciting new concept in Australian drag racing,” said Bettes.

“Answering the calls of the fans for more on-track passes from their favourite professional race categories, and rewarding the competitors for their efforts by giving them more chances to get their prized rides into the finals; I really feel this new format is an exciting experiment for the sport of drag racing, much like the Twenty20format was for cricket.”

The Super 3 Extreme Drag Race concept 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.

ANDRA CEO Malcolm Bulley said that he was excited about this concept and was delighted ANDRA, Willowbank Raceway and the competitors will be able to make it happen in 2013. Racers of the two feature brackets have been consulted and are keen to trial the new format.

“In my first year of being CEO of ANDRA I am proud to be strongly behind this new concept event, as we all believe that the sport needs some variety in its promotion and the Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race will certainly achieve that,” said Bulley.

“This is a unique trial event which we hope will be great for the track, racers, spectators, sponsors and the sport as a whole.”

Racing will begin with a qualifying pass for all cars at approximately 5.00pm, followed by an elimination round for all cars at approximately 7.00pm. From this round, the two quickest ‘winners’will go into the “A” Final and the third and fourth quickest winners will proceed to the “B” Final, as per the Special 3 Round Format 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.

“It really is a radical shift from the tournament-style format the spectators and the racers are used to; providing the chance for all entrants to the appropriate brackets to run at least twice each day, and three times each day for the finalists, rather than first having to qualify one day only to perhaps be eliminated in the first round the next day,” said Bettes.

The Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race will also feature the Louie Rapisarda Trophy Race, honouring the Top Fuel driver who passed away in 1990.

Thanks to a partnership between Louie’s father and event sponsor Santo Rapisarda and Willowbank Raceway, a special commemorative trophy for the winner of the Top Fuel bracket will be on offer.

Rapisarda - a stalwart in the Australian drag racing scene and an active member of the United States’ NHRA tour - is expected to field two cars in the event amongst his busy American race program.

“When Willowbank Raceway came to me about this event in Louie’s honour I was so pleased to be able to support it,” said Rapisarda Snr.

“I am continually taken aback by the support for my family and of Louie’s memory shown by the Australian drag racing community, and this is no exception.

“I sincerely hope we can see a full field of Top Fuel racers from across the country in the race for the Louie Rapisarda Trophy this coming Easter, a field amongst which we hope to enter two dragsters.

“No matter how our race campaign goes during this very special event, I know my family and I look forward to celebrating Louie’s life with our wider drag racing family once again and to presenting the trophy to the deserving winner.”

Bettes said the Louie Rapisarda Trophy Race would be a special event for all involved and that the specially built trophy will go to the highest point scorer in Top Fuel over the weekend. If there is a tie, the Trophy will go to the driver in the tie with the lowest elapsed time of the event.

“Willowbank Raceway and the Rapisarda family have always had a strong connection and for us to be able to once again show our support for Santo is something we are very proud of,” said Bettes.

“The action won’t just be limited to Top Fuel and Top Alcohol, with a full stable of exciting support categories also set to run the new three round format including Pro Street Blown and fixed index categories (6.50, 7.50, 8.50 and 9.50).

“It will all be heads-up, pro start racing, providing a spectacular and easy to understand show for the fans.”

Championship points for the event will be awarded for each day, based on 60% of a traditional event’s points, providing a 20% bonus overall for the event. Prize money will be based along the same lines with 60% on each day, meaning a total 20% increase for racers.

Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, located 45 minutes from Brisbane or just a short drive from Ipswich, offering a year-round program of events for the entire family. The Santo’s Cranes Super 3 Extreme Drag Race will be held on Good Friday and Easter Saturday 2013 (29 and 30 March 2013) at Willowbank Raceway, hosting ANDRA championship rounds for Top Fuel and Top Alcohol.

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