DAY one of the Fuchs Lubricants 48th Winternationals finished with a bang at Willowbank Raceway yesterday, when Supercharged Outlaws driver Greg Ward put his blown altered into the wall hard.

It was a massive hit, and it came after the car ended upside at halftrack in the right hand lane before returning to its wheels and spearing into the left hand wall. Thankfully he managed to miss Leigh Ryan’s blown Chevy pickup which ran through for a 6.81@196.5mph in the same lane. It was the first big hit for the weekend, and hopefully the last.

The first day of Winternats saw more than 500 cars and teams begin their hunt for the ultimate trophy; it’s the biggest four-day event in the Australian drag racing calendar.

The first incident of the day occurred in the first round of Super Sedan. Mick Gamble qualified 10th with an 8.81@148mph, but as he completed his pass things went wrong and he rolled the blue-and-white Monza at the end of the track. Shortly after, Jay Goodwin in the MENICE Capri was looking for a new windscreen after it went flying at the end of the track. Andrew Lange gave himself a scare as well when his ONMETH Torana almost lost control, but he went on to qualify in 13th position with an 8.86@153mph.

With Super Sedan slowed down to 8.50, Brian Hammond from Kirwan, Queensland  finished the day in number-one spot with his Cortina running an 8.68@153mph. Andrew Saliba with the blue WOGBOY Nova isn’t far behind, with an 8.72@152mph.

The new Top Sportsman class is for quicker Super Sedans, and it allows for full-bodied cars running pretty much any engine combination, with ETs between 5.8 at 8.49 seconds. The idea was to eliminate the massive speed differences between five- and 10-second cars in Super Sedan. Nobody wants to see a 220mph car cleaning up a 10-second streeter in the deep end.

Top qualifier after round two is Mark Harris in the wild ’41 Willys coupe with a 6.55@ 228mph. Not far behind is Stew Walsh in the Paramount Performance ’69 Camaro, with a 6.69@228mph, while Steve Fowler from Morisset, NSW is in the third spot with his hot pink Pontiac running 6.85@203mph.

ANDRA’s eventual plan is to merge Super Street into Super Sedan and raise the Super Sedan limit to 11.99. But Super Street is still with us for the moment and there was a very impressive field of 53 tough cars fronting the tree. Lucas Holz from Queensland should be happy, qualifying first in his LC Torana with an 11.008@ 126mph, ahead of fellow Queenslander Shaun Taskis’s Capri with 11.027@121mph.

Racing was suspended during Super Stock qualifying last night due to moisture in the air. They will get their first look at the track today. Most group two, three and four classes will get their third qualifier today, and group one qualifying starts this afternoon around 3pm.

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