Any of the top 4 in point enters the 50th Anniversary Winternationals with a shot at the title – but it won’t be easy for any one of the.
Defending event champion and Current points leader Mark Belleri has a 39 point lead over his nearest competitor, Gary Phillips. The AC Delco driver had a sensational start to the season, winning 11 consecutive rounds of racing dating back to the 2016 Winternationals, however Phillips turned the points chase on it’s head with a dramatic win at the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder in Sydney in May.
With Ben Bray only a further 14 points adrift of Phillips, and Sydney sider Jeff Wilson 9 points behind him, it really will be a battle to the finish in Pro Slammer
Qualifying is the first step though, and with 16 cars entered to race qualifying will be equally important as it will be brutal.
Fan favourite Victor Bray will be missing from the event due to an unforeseen personal matter, however there is no shortage of cars making the annual pilgrimage north for the winter, with some of the nation’s toughest Pro Slammers including Paul Cannulli, Jason Donnelly, Sam Fenech, Scott MacLean, Andrew Searle, Rob Taylor and John Zappia sure to put the cat among the birds.
In addition, Tony DeFelice, Pino Priolo and Wade Wagstaff will be making their season debuts, and fans will warmly welcome Russ Pavey back into the Pro Slammer fold after a nasty accident at this event last year destroyed the team’s 1963 Corvette.
The only one of the 400 Thunder Professional Series Championships that is mathematically over, Pro Stock, has seen the dominance of Aaron Tremayne return to the factory hot rod class.
Tremayne comes into the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals with a a new corporate partner in Mega Bulk Fuels and an unassailable 201 point lead over his brother Tyronne, courtesy of 3 consecutive wins and 4 consecutive final round appearances this season.
Tyronne Tremayne will have a battle on his hands this weekend though, with the retiring Lee Bektash only 23 points behind and determined to go out on a high. With their number one engine returning to the framerails of the Mopar Dodge Avenger, Bektash is not holding anything back is will be wanting to leave the sport on a high note.
The only man to beat Aaron Tremayne this season is Brian Pursell, and the early season point leader has laid down personal best numbers in testing in the lead up to the event. Wayne Daley is the dark horse of the top 5 though, with a strong 6.92 in testing hinting at the potential of the Diamond T Toolbox Car.
With past front runner John Barbagallo travelling down from north Queensland , Jason Hedges entering after a strong showing at the Nitro Thunder in Sydney, New South Welshman Bill Perdikaris and Victorian Chris Soldatos all raring to go it promises to be a great field.
Also on the entry list for the first time this season is Victorian Bill Kotsias, Scott Porter making his return to pro stock for the first time in 12 months, and the speed merchant from Victoria, Nick Xerakias.
With 12 cars fighting for only 8 spots open for Race Day, Pro Stock will undoubtedly be one of the toughest categories at the 50th Anniversary of the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals.
Brad Lemberg has all but wrapped up the 2016-17 400 Thunder Pro Bike Title, only needing to qualify at this event to become the new champ. He has been almost flawless over the course of the season, including record setting runs at the Nitro Thunder event in May, culminating in 3 consecutive event wins.
Defending Series Titleholder, Glenn Wooster, will be trying to take the event trophy home to Warnanmbool – some consolation for losing the title although he has a battle on his hands to maintain second as Daniel Rabnott is breathing down his neck with only an 18 point deficit – or less than 1 round of racing.
Experienced racers Andrew Badcock, Mark Hancock and Phil Howards all return for this event, as well as debutants George Vella and Ethan Wright contributing to the largest field of Pro Bikes seen this season.
The Gulf Western Oil 50th Winternationals begins on Thursday, 8th June with sportsman qualifying. The 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series hits the track on Friday 9th June for their first qualifying run, with all the action to be streamed live via OVO from 3pm AEST.