Allan Dobson has been around nitro racing long enough to know, it’s not the journey to the finals which determines the winner. The one who ges the win is the one who crosses the stripe first.
On a weekend where the Rapisarda Racing team struggled with fuel pump issues, tuner Santa Rapisarda Jr. rallied his troops, including Dobson, a cagey veteran, against the overwhelming adversity which had faced his team. Charged up they went on to win the FUCHS ANDRA Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway in Brisbane.
Dobson ran low elapsed time of the event with a 4.649-second pass at 307.09 to beat Andrew Cowin.
“This is unreal,” said Dobson. “I never thought I’d have a Winternationals title, a gold Christmas Tree [trophy] in me hands. After all the crazy s*** we’ve been doing all weekend, breaking engines and it was nearly one motor a pass. It wasn’t my fault. I was a good boy.”
Dobson entered eliminations as the No. 1 seed and in the first round drew a bye run. He then eliminated Phil Lamattina in a semi-final match where both cars exploded engines.
In the final race Dobson faced a youthfully exuberant Andrew Cowin who himself had failed to reach the finish line under power all weekend.
“This was a win for the older drivers,” said Dobson. “The older drivers who race against the younger and more flamboyant drivers. Those young drivers are sharp on the tree. This was one for the older guys.”
Both championship contenders Damien Harris and Darren Morgan fell in the first round of eliminations. Harris led the points headed into the event and out-qualified Morgan, but in procuring top speed of the event scored enough points to take the lead. Since no one beat Morgan’s top speed, he was awarded the championship.
Pro Stock racer Shane Tucker who often spends time in the United States with Cagnazzi Racing, put on a driving clinic behind the wheel of his Monster Energy Pontiac GXP on Tuesday at Willowbank by out-reacting those drivers who didn’t red-light against him. Tucker won his second race in the last three events when Michael Ali fouled in the final round.
“I don’t know that I could have beaten myself today,” said Tucker.
“Some weekends when you’re on, you’re on and you can do no wrong. It seems I couldn’t do anything wrong in the driver’s seat. I was thrown off a bit because he went red in the other lane.”
Tucker’s reaction times ranged from .021 to .013 in the first three rounds to beat Aaron Tremayne, Denis Whiting and Peter Ridgeway.
“I think I did what I had to do. The biggest thing in Pro Stock is that we haven’t had a repeat winner in nine races. That’s how tough it is. We always want to win because you never know when you will get to be back here.”
Tucker’s victory breaks up a logjam of one-event winners this season.
“I think it gives us momentum because traditionally, the one who runs the best at the end of the year has a leg up on the incoming season. I’d like to think we are looking good for next season.”
The Top Doorslammer title was handed to Andrew Sutton on a race where all evidence, both visual and clock data, pointed to a timing malfunction, likely a rear wheel start.
Sutton was credited with a .363 reaction time and the scoreboards illuminated with a 5.601, 245 elapsed time which put him three car-lengths ahead of retiring Robin Judd. Judd was declared runner-up with a 5.927, 249.86.
John Zappia was declared the series champion when Peter Kapiris fell in the second round of eliminations.
In the Top Alcohol division, Steven Reed’s Funny Car was the big winner when Josh Noonan couldn't make the call. Gary Phillips was declared the season champion when Adam Marchant lost in the semis.
Defending Top Bike series champion Chris Matheson added another title to his resume by winning at Willowbank Raceway with a 6.157-second pass.
Luke Crowley was the Pro Stock Bike winner.
The FUCHS ANDRA Winternationals concludes the 2011 – 2012 season in Australian drag racing.
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