Over 3,000 drag racing fans packed Heathcote Park Raceway for the 1st round of the 2013 Slamfest. On hand were 8 of Australia's toughest Doorslammers, all looking to get the new Slamfest season off to a great start with maximum points.
With the boys from South Coast Raceway preparing the track and mild temperatures for this time of year hopes were up for some quick times. And the crowd wasn't to be disappointed with the top runners recording sub 4 second times over the eighth mile.
The day started with a non-compulsory test session with 6 of the 8 competitors deciding to try their luck on the fairly green track. At the end of the session it was no surprise to see John Zappia at the top of the table.
Racing for real began with the compulsory qualifier. Leading the way was John Zappia with a 3.966 closely followed by Peter Kapiris running a 3.984 to slot into second position.
Ben Bray suffered tyre shake during his run and Marcus Chambers had clutch issues to put him in eighth position.
First paring out for round 1 was meant to see number 1 qualifier John Zappia run up against Marcus Chambers. Unfortunately Marcus suffered clutch issues in the compulsory qualifier and couldn't make the call, leaving zappia to solo to a 3.944 at 192.64mph.
A timing issue in the second paring would see the win go to Peter Kapiris. Unfortunately for Ben Bray, the tree had been left in full rather than pro mode and he was judged to have left 1st and red lighted. For the record, PK ran a 4.042 at 180.58mph.
Number 3 qualifier Victor Bray dispatched Frank Mamone with a 4.108 to a slowing 5.57. While in the final race of the session, increased RPM off the start line caused Russell Pavey to roll the beams securing the win for John Brunner who ran a 4.67 at 157mph.
Semi finals time and it was Peter Kapiris v Victory Bray and John Zappia v John Brunner.
In a classic battle between two Doorslammer favourites, Peter Kapiris stunned the crowd when he laid down a 3.825 at only 162mph to put Victor Bray's 4.042 on the trailer.
John Brunner got the win light in the second semi over John Zappia. After a review of the time slips, the decision was reversed because the win light was activated by the quarter mile timers and not at the eighth mile.
John Zappia had a 0.623 reaction time and ran a 4.316, destroying a crank trigger in the process. John Brunner had a quicker 0.501 light but slower ET; 4.471. Based on this information, if you add the reaction time to the ET John Zappia crossed the finish line .033 in front of John Brunner.
The final of Doorslammer featured the number 1 and 2 qualifiers (who also happened to finish 1 and 2 in the ANDRA Pro Series in 2012).
With his 3.82 from the previous round, Peter Kapiris had lane choice and slotted into the favoured left lane, while John Zappia would need to manage his power output in the right lane.
When all the ambers lit up it was Zappia with a tiny .002 second advantage at the start line. The batmobile of Peter Kapiris ate this up by the 60' mark and marched on down the track to take the victory, a 4.154 at 167.54mph too good for Zappia's tyre shaking 4.447 at 177.48mph.
At the end of the day it was another successful showing for the Slamfest with some tight, fast racing and plenty of action for the fans.
Round 2 of the Slamfest will be at South Coast Raceway on the 15th and 16th of February, 2013.
Quick questions with Russell Pavey
Have your raced at Heathcote Park before?
"We came here last year for the Slamfest round - we had a good run and it was our maiden voyage at Slamfest. We were pretty pleased and came away with the runner-up."
What are your expectations from the track today?
"It looks pretty good. Everyone's been looking for more power like us which we've succeeded in doing. The challenge today is deciding how much power the track will take."
What do you think of the Slamfest concept?
"I love it; it's easily the best series around. Not only from a show point of view but from a racers point of view, the exposure for my sponsors and the track time we get is fantastic. The format is excellent and organisation is brilliant - I can't fault it."
Will you be following the series this year?
"The plan is to do all the rounds that we possibly can."
How did you go in last year's series?
"A little mixed. For a maiden effort we were pretty pleased and overall we finished in position number 6."
Will you be running the ANDRA Pro Series this year?
"As always budget's a challenge so we'll race everything we can afford to race but our priority will be with Slamfest."
How did you get involved in Top Doorslammer racing?
"There was a succession of cars that led to this one. I worked my way up from Super Street to Super Sedan, then to Supercharged Outlaws and then I built this car for Top Doorslammer."
How many years have you been involved in drag racing?
"I might give away my age here but around 25 years."
On hand to support the Doorslammers was a field of 11 Extreme Outlaws organised by the ADRP – Australian Drag Racing Promotions.
Run on a round robin format, the bracket included 8 blower, 2 turbocharged and 1 nitrous car. After qualifying, Mike Evans from Tasmania was on top with a 4.3 pass, followed by Craig Russo with a 4.43 in his funny car and a 4.48 from the 632 cube nitrous Pontiac of Mike Nola.
|1||Mike Evans Camaro||4.3|
|2||Craig Russo Pontiac FC||4.43|
|3||Mike Nola Pontiac F/Bird||4.48|
|4||Doina Day Dragster||4.7|
|5||Mike Trahar Studebaker||4.9|
|6||Cameron Ambesi Dragster||4.96|
|7||Chris Hargraves Altered||5.18|
|8||Steve Athans Mustang||5.2|
|9||Bruno Matiscenvic HG Holden||5.26|
|10||Daniel Camilleri VL Commodore||5.26|
|11||Grant Fraser Dragster||5.28|
Round 1 kicked off with the turbocharged Mustang of Steve Athans up against the blown small block dragster of Doina Day. From the launch Athan's had his hands full while the dragster pulled away to bring on the win light, a 4.67 easily accounting for the tyre turning 5.26 from the Mustang.
In the second paring Mike Trahar red lighted away his chances as Bruno Matiscenvic ran a 5.42 on his 4.90 dial-in. In the closest match up of the round, the funny car of Russo broke out by .07, running a 4.33 on a 4.40 to Grant Fraser's 4.91 on a 4.82 dial-in.
The run between Cameron Ambesi in his BB/DA and Chris Hargraves ended early when Ambesi rolled the beams. In a nitrous v turbocharger match-up between Nola and Camilleri, it was the giggle gas for the win; Mike Nola running a 4.56 on a 4.48, the VL of Camilleri slowing to record a 5.74 on a 5.00 dial-in.
As the top qualifier Mike Evans got the bye and the automatic win, running .06 over his 4.26 dial-in.
For the second round the field was cut to 7 vehicles with the departures of Athans, Camilleri, Ambesi and Hargraves.
First up was the HG Holden of Bruno Matiscenvic and Pontiac of Mike Nola. Bruno red lighted away his chances and Mike kept the throttle open to the eighth mile, running a tenth over his dial-in with a 4.58.
Top qualifier Mike Evans then faced off against Doina Day, with the Camaro of Evans going too quick and breaking out with a 4.20 on a 4.30 dial-in, Doina taking 2 from 2 with a 4.79 on a 4.55.
In the 3rd paring of the round it was the Studebaker of Trahar for the win; a 4.92 on a 4.90 too good for Grant Fraser's 5.24 on a 4.85 dial-in.
Craig Russo had the bye and recorded a 4.42 on his 4.40 dial-in.
Extreme Outlaw Finals
In the A final we had Mike Nola in is nitrous Pontiac dialled in with 4.48 and Doina Day with a 4.60 in her supercharged dragster. At the stripe it was a too quick 4.39 for Mike Nola, the Pontiac breaking out to give the win to Doina's 4.88 with a couple of peddles to get down the tricky right lane.
While in the B final, Craig Russo took the win over Mike Trahar, the funny car running a 4.51 on a 4.40 dial-in over a tyre shaking 7.09 for the Studebaker.
For Doina Day it was her second final in a few weeks, coming off the runner up at South Coast Raceway. "It was a pretty good meeting. In the 1st round I got off too early 'cos the crew chief was confused about where the finish line was," laughed Doina.
"It was tricky getting down that right lane when the track cooled but overall we had a great weekend and had a lot of fun doing what we like to do most – drag racing."
Runner-up Mike Nola also had a good day. "We had a few traction issues to start with - coming on and off the throttle plays havoc with the NOS timers. However, after the Doorslammers had been down the track a few times we hooked up in the final. I didn't care if we broke out or not, I just wanted to see how quick the car would go."
The ADRP will be organising the Extreme Outlaws bracket at South Coast Raceway for the next round of the Slamfest.