Grand slammin’ hits town
SIXTEEN of the country’s quickest Doorslammers will bring top-flight drag racing back to Melbourne tomorrow.
Victor Bray has had enough of the ‘‘stinking, rotten politics’’ that has stopped him racing in the state for the past decade and led an approach to Calder Park to be part of the Spring Horsepower Challenge.
‘‘One of the biggest regrets of my career is we haven’t raced in Melbourne — the biggest motorsport market in Australia — in a decade,’’ Bray says. ‘‘That’s hurt the racers, the spectators and the sponsors and the sport in general.
‘‘We desperately wanted to get back and this gives us the chance to do that.’’
Drag racing in Australia is sanctioned by ANDRA, and Calder Park isn’t affiliated with the body, but Bray says the politics aren’t his concern.
‘‘I don’t suppose they (ANDRA) are over the moon about it, but I don’t think it’s a problem. ANDRA’s view is they handle the quarter-mile stuff and we’re running the eighth-mile at Calder,’’ he says.
‘‘In the US just about all of the cars are running over the eighth mile, so it’s probably the way the sport is heading anyway.’’
Doorslammers are the quickest drag race sedans and the supercharged cars cover the 201m strip in about 3.9 seconds. All other classes on the program, including eight Pro Stockers, will race over the traditional quarter-mile run.
Calder Park has fitted 7500 new seats to the grandstand to cater for what general manager Ian McArthur expects to be a near-record crowd.
‘‘We’ve had to cap the number of entries — too many people want to be part of this,’’ he says.
‘‘The track’s been re-prepped and the launch pad’s just been redone. We know if we get the weather and the conditions right we’ll set records.’’
The Doorslammer field includes four former Australian champions — Bray in the 1957 Chevrolet Belair, his son Ben in an ’05 Holden Monaro CV8Z, Gary Phillips in a ’ 53 Studebaker and Peter Kapiris, who’ll run a ’59 Dodge Saratoga.
At the first Calder eighth-mile event in January last year, Phillips recorded the fastest pass, 4.095sec and at 188.96mph (304.10km/h).
Qualifying for the Spring HorsePower Challenge starts at 8.30am and elimination racing will be from 3pm.
Family entry (two adults, two children) is $100, adults $40, children 14-17 $20 and children under 14 are free.
Many of the competitors will tune their cars at tonight’s legal off-street drag racing at Calder Park ahead of tomorrow’s event, giving Victorian fans a second chance to see all the champions in action.
Doorslammin’ action: (left) Victor Bray will be back burning rubber at Calder Park tomorrow in his 1957 Chevrolet Belair.