When the venue changed hands late last year, attempts to get Drag Racing kick-started in Victoria looked like they had stalled yet again.
However, the change in ownership has been a positive with an agreement reached between the new owners and ANDRA/Peter Pisalidis to hire the facility for Drag Racing events.
Under the new arrangements, the first competition event is locked in for the 19th of October and the Fuchs Nitro Thunder will be headlined by Top Fuel, Top Bike and Pro Stock Motorcycle. Numbers are capped at 170 entries to make sure this first event runs as smoothly as possible.
With all the boxes ticked, ANDRA joined forces with Peter Pisalidis to promote the events at Calder Park as joint venture partners, with both bringing relevant expertise to the table.
An experienced business man, acting Victorian Divisional Director and a well known drag racer, Peter has promoted a number of private events at Calder Park previously and is committing 100% of his time bringing ANDRA Drag Racing back to Melbourne.
“I’m focusing all my energies on the promotion of Calder Park Drag Racing,” said Peter. “Rather than sit on my hands and wait for something to happen, I’ve taken up the challenge to help bring ANDRA Championship Drag Racing back to Melbourne, the sporting capital of Australia.”
“We are taking a very conservative and step by step approach to the first race meetings. Whatever we do, whatever we say, whatever we promise, we want to make sure we deliver.”
With only a little over 7 weeks until the gates open at Calder Park for racers and fans, Peter and the management staff have been busy making sure that the event will be a success both on and off the track.
“Race schedules are drafted, bump in and out plans completed, utilities organised, staff rosters tabled, security, safety, traffic management, medical... you name it, we’ve got it covered, ” said Peter.
“While we haven’t locked in all the staff yet we will be drawing on experienced people both locally and from surrounding areas. “
“For the October meeting we’re not using the infield. Class scheduling and pit allocations will be the key to making sure the meeting runs to plan. We’ve been very careful with how this is organised to avoid the delays experienced in the past.”
With an absence of ANDRA Championship Drag Racing for past 12 years there are a lot of unlicensed racers and un-teched drag vehicles sitting in Melbourne sheds and factories.
“Our aim,” said Peter, “is to get those race cars and bikes out of the sheds and onto the race track. The consistency and quality of the meetings are vitality important to fill the staging lanes with racers and the spectator mounds with fans. That’s what we’re focused on.”
In the lead up to the October 19th event 3 tech days have been organised with a number of additional days likely to be added. There will also be ‘test and tunes’ leading up to the event; October 5 and October 12.
Street meets will also make a return to Friday nights. The first two have been schedule for September 27 and October 11, with more to be announced soon.
The 2014 ANDRA Championship calendar hasn’t been released yet, however Peter confirmed the JV wish to hold 2 national championship events and a number of state championship events, such as the Vic Champs or Rowe Memorial.
So the countdown is on for the return of ANDRA Drag Racing to Melbourne...
“Ever since we launched the Calder Park Drag Racing website last week we’ve had an impressive stream of entries and I have no doubt we’ll reach the cap very quickly. This is an opportunity to really show that Melbourne drag racing is very much alive and prove we are the sporting capital of Australia."
"ANDRA and I are doing our part to get Drag Racing back to where it once was in Melbourne – now it's up to the racers and supporters to do their part,” said Peter.
“My only disappointment is I won’t be racing at the return of ANDRA Drag Racing. I’ll be way to busy for that making sure racers and fans come way from the event with a smile on their faces and looking forward to the next event.”
Visit Calder Park Drag Racing for more information.