Drag strip highlights from the 'heads up, no lights' racing at Calder Park's King of The Hill event


NO LIGHTS racing comes to Calder Park for their King Of The Hill event, and with a bit of cash on the table plenty of racers came out to play. Throw in well over 2000 spectators and you’ve got a big night at the drags.

The concept was pretty simple, and one that’s been doing well both here and in the US. Heads up, eighth mile, no times; just a win light. Add a bit of start line spectacle with crew and fans allowed right down near the cars, and some cash prizemoney, and you’ve got a dynamic racing experience. Calder Park promoter Peter Pisalidis was happy with the result. “It was an excellent turnout for a Friday night. We’ll definitely being doing it again,” he says. “There’s probably a few things we’ll need to take a look at in terms of where everyone is pitted and making sure everyone has a seeding sheet before racing starts, but I think it worked pretty well.”

With 19 cars in the competition class there wasn’t quite enough for a full field so the prize money was reduced to $2000; still, it’s not a bad nights work if you win. The racing format was Chicago Shootout with three rounds of competition, much in the way that the APSA (Australian Pro Street Association) meetings run with cars scoring points for each round win. It’s a format that ensures everyone gets plenty of track time. Everyone races three times and the two cars with the most wins after three rounds, or the quickest two cars with three wins in the last round, go through to the finals.

There were some serious contenders. Steve Athans twin-turbo big block-powered Mustang was the quickest in the field, but he had to fend off cars like Mick McGrath’s nitrous big-block Torana, Frank Marchese’s twin-turbo XW Falcon, Chris Wright’s stout XW Falcon ute, Barry Hall’s Holden ute and the South Coast Rotary RX7. The racing was close and fast, but breakages and withdrawals saw more than a few solo runs when seeded opponents couldn’t front. After three runs it was Steve Athans up against former AFL footballer Barry Hall in the final, but the race had an anti-climactic ending when Hall failed to stage in time and the start tree activated automatically, handing the win and $2000 to Athans.

We captured plenty of action from the night, check it out, and stay tuned for the street class video. Calder Park will be planning more King Of The Hill meetings after winter; the next one is scheduled for September 30th, so mark your calendars.