Queensland's Ben Bray has emerged victorious over Western Australia's Murray O'Connor this weekend at Benaraby Raceway, during the first of two North Queensland events for the 2013 Slamfest Series.
With Gladstone's showdown run and won, the eight 3,500 horsepower Top Doorslammer machines and their fearless pilots will now travel to Mackay's Palmyra Raceway for what will be the final round of the 2013 Series on 13 July.
More than 5,000 race fans took advantage of the perfect weather Saturday to pack out Gladstone's popular eighth-mile drag strip, with series organiser Peter Kapiris pleased to see 2012's enthusiasm raised to a new level by the local spectators.
"I may have broken a diff spindle during qualifying which saw me unable to compete in the racing, but that couldn't wipe the smile off my face when I looked around this great facility on Saturday, the place was bursting at the seams," said Kapiris.
"We are just so thankful to the people of Gladstone for throwing their whole-hearted support behind our Series, to see the Raceway at capacity and spectators watching from all vantage points including from the top of Matt Mingay's Stuntz Inc trailer really put a smile on my face that is for sure.
"Hopefully when we head to Mackay in two weeks time for our first ever Slamfest at Palmyra Raceway we will enjoy a similar reception – having said that though, the locals here at Benaraby have set the bar pretty high this weekend!"
Kallangur's Bray – a three-time national ANDRA (quarter-mile) champion and son of six-time national ANDRA champion Victor Bray – found himself facing the starting tree in the final courtesy of a semi-final win against his crowd favourite father and a round one victory from Varsity Lakes' Russ Pavey, while O'Connor prevailed over John Zappia – who snatched the ET track record from Bray Snr on his way to being top qualifier (3.866s) – in the first round before disposing of 16-time national ANDRA champion Gary Phillips in the semis.
"What can I say, I love coming to this end of town!" said Ben Bray, who took the win at Townsville's round of the 2012 Slamfest and faced his dad in the semi-finals of Benaraby's event last year, with his father taking the event victory that time around.
"This place has certainly been kind to Team Bray Racing that is for sure, and I cannot wait to head on up to Mackay in two weeks time and see if we can keep these results going!"
Following Saturday's racing, John Zappia leads the points heading into the final round with 255 points from 2012 Series winner Kapiris (215) while Victor and Ben Bray are tied for third with 190 points. For full Series points, please visit www.slamfest.com.au or for full event results, please visit http://slamfest.com.au/results-event.html