Sportsman Racers Amped For New Year Nitro
The fastest sportsman racers in the country will descend on Willowbank Raceway across January 6-7 as part of an action-packed New Year Nitro show which features the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and Australian Drag Racing Championship (ADRC) racing for Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Stock and Pro Mod.
Max Carpenter, Phillip Webster, and Rodney Williams are three racers who are already signed up for the event and ready to take advantage of entry inclusions such as free tickets and the chance to race for prize money in front of not only a packed crowd, but also a worldwide audience with their racing and sponsors to feature on the free, live event broadcast on 7Plus and Facebook.
Carpenter has been racing for more than 20 years and following some time away due to major surgery, is keen to chase a breakthrough victory in his new 460 Big Block powered 2018 Ford Mustang in Super Sedan.
“One of my employees challenged me to a drag race with my AC Cobra replica I had built, and we went to Willowbank Raceway on Boxing Day of 1998. My family and I enjoyed ourselves so much that we were there three weeks later in an XF Falcon I managed to put together in that short timeframe and I started racing in Super Street, running 11 seconds with a 351 Windsor.
“In 2001 we debuted our hero car, the XR8 AU Falcon, at Willowbank and later that year we were awarded as ANDRA’s Best Engineered Race Car at Calder Park. Another highlight was winning the Nationals in Super Street in 2002 to win my first Gold Christmas Tree, and the next year, in Super Sedan, I was awarded as the Willowbank Raceway track champion.
“Now we are contesting my new 2018 Mustang in which I have only done a handful of passes. We are still making slight improvements to the set up, and I would love to take out my next round win at New Year Nitro.
“It will be a great weekend having the full house of competitor classes at the track, including Top Fuel and it would be awesome to take out a win, but just being back out at the track and surrounded by fellow racers and family will already be a highlight on its own.
“It has been 12 months since my major pancreatic surgery, so making the most of our time at the track as a team is a victory in itself. I am looking forward to racing my daughter Kirstin Coulston at the event also as she has taken over the reins of the XR8 AU race car and this will be her first major event.
“With the help of my son Steven, we as a family hope to be back as a three-car family race team soon!” concluded Carpenter, who is supported on track by Lockyer Car Wash, Gatton Power Sports, Goodyear Gatton, LAPD911 and Mitre 10.
Webster will be in action in Modified Bike, contesting his turbocharged 1299cc 2007 Suzuki Hayabusa.
“I have raced everything I can in every form wherever I have lived. In Townsville we didn’t have a drag strip, so I raced jet skis, and then in Mackay I started racing drag bikes at Palmyra. I really loved the community atmosphere,” explains Webster, who is supported on track by STS Speed Shop and Elite Projects.
“Once I moved down to Brisbane, I got another bike and have been working on that and racing it for two years now, and we also recently travelled to Perth for the Goldenstates.
“It is disassembled at the moment, but when I learned about the New Year Nitro event, I knew we had to be there, so I entered, and we are now working hard to be ready.
“So far, my biggest achievement would be the first time we ran into the sevens. I tend to race myself more than the person in the other lane, I like going out there and trying to better my personal best every time. The all-run format of New Year Nitro definitely appealed to me for that purpose, knowing we would get more passes than normal eliminations racing.
“As far as my racing goes, we have a whole new turbo intake set-up on the bike so to get out there and get some seat time and hopefully set a new PB is a big goal for us at this event. But my other goal is just to see Top Fuelers again after not seeing them since I was a kid! I am very excited to see them, and to be running at the same event!
“To go to the final would be amazing, it would be a win for myself and all of the team that support me as well as we have put so much work into this bike.
“Not a lot of people realise we run without a wheelie bar and with a street legal back tyre – we aren’t running slicks or anything – so we are running sevens on a radial tyre. There aren’t many people out there doing that, but I like the radial racing.
“I am really excited for the New Year Nitro event, and I am really liking the effort we are seeing Top Fuel Australia put into building up the event to get people involved. I can’t wait to race in front of a larger crowd.”
Williams’ supercharged 250ci 1927 Ford Altered will be one to watch in the Modified ranks.
“I am 45 now and I have been around drag strips since I was 16, starting out in a street car. I actually still race my street car, a six-cylinder supercharged 1927 T Model Ford Hot Rod, in the Kenda Radial Series where it is possibly the winningest car of the series – I have more cheques for that car than you can poke a stick at!” grinned Williams, who is supported on-track by RAW Automotive and Performance.
“That car pushed me to build a few other cars to run in Modified. The Altered I will race at New Year Nitro is nicknamed Barry and has had plenty of wins, but the stand out would be rolling off the trailer for its first ever event at none other than the 2019 Jamboree, and going all the way to the final in the Extreme class.
“I actually had to beat my daughter Emily to go to the final, she was racing my rear engine dragster named NoJ, and that was pretty cool for me, although she wasn’t so happy about it! Our racing is really family orientated, I have two daughters Chloe (26) and Emily (24), and we all go racing together, with my four-year-old granddaughter Penny our very talented crew chief who absolutely loves drag racing.
“Williams Family Racing, or WFR, has three cars and we are all very excited and proud to be racing together at this event. I hope the other sportsman racers and every other category out there will support the day and we can all together put on a great show for the fans.
“We would love to win of course, but just getting to the track makes me happy. We will be out there in a little six-cylinder powered car amongst a bunch of V8s, so we will see if we can stir things up a bit!”
The New Year Nitro event at Willowbank Raceway will be held across January 6 and 7, followed soon after by the Top Fuel Slam at Sydney Dragway across Australia Day weekend, January 27 and 28.
Both events will see the fastest drag racing vehicles in the country on track over two massive days and nights with vital championship points on the line as drivers continue their battle for the biggest prize in drag racing – the Stan Sainty Cup.
Top Fuel headlines both events, with the massive New Year Nitro line up to also include Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Mod, Pro Stock and Sportsman categories. Joining the on-track action is a huge firework spectacular, Freestyle Motocross, show and shine, food trucks, and more.
For New Year Nitro event information, visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au
To learn more about the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championships, visit www.topfuelchampionship.com.au