MARCH 13, 2016: Whyalla’s own Australian Super Stock Champion Steve Norman has won his third ANDRA Christmas Tree this season at Steel City Raceway. The win, in front of his family and friends at his home track, is the second in a row following the Australian Nationals.
Norman was already guaranteed to contend for his second consecutive Championship at the ANDRA Grand Final in Adelaide April 9-10 and although anything can happen, he is the firm favourite to take the gold tree at AIR.
The marquee match up against fellow title hope Kim Fardella fell Norman’s way in the first round allowing the defending champ to take a solo in the semi. In the final Norman had the reaction advantage and led all the way over Jim Ioannidis for a 5.214 second pass at 134.28 mph to a 6.049 ET at 115.83 mph.
“It’s a real honour to have a Championship round in Whyalla,” said Norman. “The first Championship event here we top qualified, won the event and I’ll be sleeping in my own bed tonight so it doesn’t get much better than that.”
“I’d really like to thank ANDRA and Summit Racing Equipment for being on board the last couple of seasons. It’s extra special today because I’ve got all my family here and I think it’s the first time ever I’ve had all the family at a race meeting.
“Big thanks to Rich, Ryan, Paul and my wife Lynn who crewed today and a big thank you to Steel City Raceway – without them none of this would have happened, it’s just been phenomenal what they achieved out here.”
Shane Kramer scored an emotional win for his first ever ANDRA Christmas Tree trophy in Supercharged Outlaws.
Kramer top qualified and added the event win by out reacting Doina Day at the start line and recording a 4.531 ET on a 4.51 dial in at 154.30 mph to a 4.924 ET on a 4.80 dial in at 142.59 mph in the final.
Kramer had earlier sent David Thornton and Graham Sheill packing as he found the consistency needed to go rounds.
“Oh my God, it’s an amazing feeling I just can’t believe it,” said Kramer. “I came here just hoping to get some runs down without tyre shake and it’s been a dream weekend the whole time. We were within a tenth of our dial in all weekend I can’t believe it.
“I want to thank my mate Dave Lee, he’s been beside me for 20 years and thanks to everyone that’s helped me along the way, it’s been awesome.”
Also in Supercharged Outlaws, Mark Kuhn and his team were awarded the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Award. They receive the Best Presented trophy, six Best Presented caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher.
Before this season Paul Russo had never won an ANDRA Christmas Tree. He now has two in his last three races after taking Top Sportsman in Whyalla and boosting his bid for the Championship.
Russo took down friend Jason Arbery in Round 1 followed by a solo in the semi final to hone in on his dial in. His opponent Stuart McBain reacted quickly in .026 seconds but it wasn’t quick enough with Russo recording a .014 reaction time to win on a 4.999 ET with a 4.96 dial in at 143.30 mph. McBain could only muster a 5.471 on a 5.39 dial in at 120.70 mph.
“We needed to make the final (for the Championship), we didn’t need to win but winning is such a bonus because last week we didn’t have an engine in the car.
“I don’t even know what to say but without my brothers, without Bob Sherry we never would have got this car going. This win goes to my crew and thanks to everyone else. Whyalla, great venue, Stewie McBain great run – we finally beat him in a final and Jase (Jason Stares) we’re coming after you still!”
Simon Barlow won his third Modified trophy of the season taking a final showdown against Craig Baker. Barlow dialled in at 4.74 to run a 4.770 second pass at 137.70 mph and defeat Baker on a 5.564 on a 5.48 dial in at 122.94 mph.
Barlow benefited from a solo in Round 1 following his top qualifying effort and ran a near perfect pass for his dial in during the semi final win over Bradley Hicks.
“It’s been a great season so far, it’s been exceptional actually,” said Barlow.
“There are a lot of people to thank for that. Read’s Transport, they’re doing a great job supporting us. Lawrence and Hansen Gawler, Just Muscle Cars – they’ve done a terrific job towing the car all around Australia for me, my crew – they’ve been awesome getting the job done and Infinity Signs, MV Automatics and Walkom Automotive. They are all my sponsors and happy to have them on board.”
Gavin Dohnt had previously lost to Gordon Crawford in the Modified Bike final at South Coast Raceway in Portland but he got his revenge today defeating Crawford and taking home his second win in a row following the Australian Nationals.
Dohnt had an inferior reaction time and needed to ride around Crawford on a 6.006 ET with a 5.98 dial in at 112.53 mph from a 6.487 ET on a 6.40 dial at 107.93 mph. Dohnt defeated Don Baird, Toni Keating and Championship leader Shane Walker on his way to the final.
“That’s pretty exciting, you never know what’s going to happen on a race weekend,” said Dohnt.
“Guys like Gordon pull one out of their back pocket every now and then so I’m really happy. It’s been a fantastic weekend, the Steel City Drag Club has been brilliant, our bracket marshal has been awesome, and it’s just been great.”
Three time defending Super Sedan Champion John Kapiris secured yet another Christmas Tree in his bid for a fourth title defeating George Tipoukidis in the final. Kapiris drove around Tipoukidis with a quicker reaction time to run a 6.408 on a 6.37 dial in at 108.72 mph from a 6.497 ET on a 6.44 dial in at 106.15 mph to add to earlier wins over Andrew Thompson and Steve Hunt.
Creagh Stuart took the honours in Super Street first eliminating Michael Bridges, Kylie Tanner and Harry Harris to earn a bye into the decider. There Stuart out reacted Rod Kerr to claim the win with a 7.964 on a 7.90 dial in at 85.33 mph from a 7.249 on a 7.22 dial in at 90.21 mph.
Michael Naylor won his first ever Christmas Tree in Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster dedicating the victory to his friend and Modified racer Simon Lekias who recently passed away. Naylor reacted in just .003 seconds at the start line and stopped the beams at 8.144 seconds on an 8.10 dial in at 81.25 mph. Natalie Bishop broke out in her chase by running an 8.048 on an 8.06 dial in at 81.71 mph.
In Super Gas, Colin Griffin picked up another win defeating Johnny Ienco with a 6.582 second pass at 106.96 mph in the 6.30 fixed index class over the eighth-mile to a 7.093 at 106.04 mph. Griffin earned a bye in the semi final following his first round win over Frank Fontanelli.
ANDRA would like to thank the Steel City Drag Club and their volunteers for their hard work in staging the event and to Whyalla City Council for their support in bringing the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series to the region.
The 10th and final round of the 2015/2016 ANDRA Championship Season takes place at Adelaide International Raceway April 9-10 as part of the ANDRA Championship Grand Final alongside the ANDRA Drag Racing Series.
For more information please visit www.adelaideraceway.com.au