Grand slam­min’ hits town

Herald Sun - Motoring - - What’s On - PAUL GOVER

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.

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