The Drag Racing Grand Final this Saturday at Perth Motorplex will not just be a show of fire and nitro thanks to Jet Dragsters and Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars, but it also marks the conclusion of the 2016/17 WA Drag Racing Championship.
Some brackets are wrapped up already but there are plenty of compelling battles across the entry list.
As we reported earlier, Top Comp will be a three way battle between Adam Marchant, John Zappia and Steve Aldridge. With the season’s worst round being dropped, that benefits Zappia who has missed two events, as well as Aldridge who suffered a DNQ at the Westernationals. Marchant has been consistent but will need to drop 65 points which lifts Zappia and Aldridge well into contention. There is a lot of maths to consider in this title fight.
Marchant will be returning to his spare motor in hopes of consistency, but Zappia and Aldridge are likely to be throwing the kitchen sink at their rides, with Zappia planning to shoot for records and Aldridge wanting to record a five second pass in his big, black Chev before he moves into his new Barracuda.
The Nitro Bikes are just as competitive up top with Wayne McGuinness currently leading, but likely to face strong competition from Ben Stevens and Greg Durack who will rally up the points by dropping a zero points round each. McGuinness has great consistency on his side by Stevens and Durack have the outright performance advantage.
Last season’s champion Errol Quartermaine has a 30 point buffer in Super Comp, but the 50% bonus points on offer across the event mean he is far from safe from a last minute charge by Ralph Lewis. Excepting DNQs or breakages from the leaders in qualifying, third placed Michael Buckley is unlikely to play a role in the chase for number one.
Phill Paton is hammering back from Adelaide right now to be back at home in time for the Grand Final and it will be something of a victory lap for him with second placed Ryan Learmonth not entered.
Greg James needs to fend off Jodie Mellitt and Darren White in the Supercharged Outlaws points chase. The driver of one of the wildest Lamborghinis in the world will benefit from dropping his Westernationals points, where he had to withdraw before eliminations.
Mark Grieve can already claim the Modified championship. Being the only driver to attend every round has worked in his favour and his support will be rewarded with some fine silverware.
Nick Panagopoulos, Martin Mirco and Kim Bastow are the contenders for the Super Sedan title, with Panagopoulos holding a very slender lead over his opponents. Consistent finishes in the later rounds, albeit not necessarily finals, have worked to Nick’s favour.
Modified Bike is one of the closest chases of all with six riders in with a mathematical shot at the championship. Last season’s rookie rider of the year Zoe Nieuwhof is coming off a Westernationals final round but has Ian Read, Geoff Smith, Ross Garrett, Chris Moore and Luke Seaton all within striking distance.
Two Wroe family members lead Super Street’s championship, with Nicholas slightly ahead of sister Kirstie. Richard Stevens and John Szabo are also still in the chase and who knows what will happen come Grand Final day?
Finally in Junior Dragster the championship will come down to Alanah Cope, Madison Brown and Jack Wasley. Cope and Brown went head to head recently at the Westernationals and all eyes will be on their title aspirations for the Grand Final.
Throw in four Jet Dragsters and three Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars and you have the recipe for one awesome night out at the drags, this Saturday! Don’t forget, we’ll be kicking off the main show early from 5.30pm (sportsman qualifying from 10am).