in the world of drag racing
The latest update as of May 10, 1998
Unfortunately, most of the news this week is of the baaaaddd!!! variety. Larry Pfister of "Horsepower Heaven" fame finally hit the rev-limiter at Mission Raceway last Saturday night and now his awesome new web-site has become an empty, lifeless shell. Nobody but Larry knows the full story, but whatever the reason(s), one of the best drag racing websites on the planet has bitten the dust. Despite his claims to the contrary, don't be surprised to see the site resurrected someday soon. "Horsepower Heaven 3", perhaps?
Coming all the way from Australia is the sad news of the demise of Steve Bettes' Raceway Park in Bendigo, Victoria. The former Heathcote Park Dragway which had lain dormant since going into receivership in early 1993, has once again fallen into the hands of the "administrators" (receivers). After a promising start in late 1997, the refurbished and revitalized facility saw a lack of spectator and racer attendance and support from creditors combine to close another dragstrip. The closing is a double blow to drag racing in Australia, as the track provided an alternative to Calder Park (Melbourne) for racers in the state of Victoria, and the talents of Steve Bettes as a promoter and manager are lost to the sport (for at least the time being).
In other "downunder" drag news, ANDRA has scheduled meetings for May 17-18 to discuss the future of drag racing in Australia. The current season has seen the demise of two venues (Heathcote and Eastern Creek), a "revolt" by North Queensland racers, the near-death of Fuel Funny Car racing and a thinning of the ranks in the Group One (Professional) classes. Radical action to completely restructure the Australian National Drag Racing Association has been proposed and decisions will be made next week that will have a profound effect on the sport in Oz. As long as they don't drop Top Alcohol then any change to the current situation will be welcomed by this writer. The lack of a firm schedule, major sponsorship, and consistent application of the rules over the past few years has seen the sport slide backwards from it's previous peak during the 1995 season. For a full report on the situation, check out the ANDRA web site.
Got to end this piece with at least one bit of good news.... At the end of this month I'm off to the Konica Winternationals at my favourite dragstrip downunder, Willowbank Raceway. The Winternats in June ??? Only in Australia, as down there it's winter now, and the biggest (car count) and best (by popular acclaim) race of the season takes place from June 5-7. See all the results updated daily directly from Willowbank Raceway and check out my personal report on the event when I return from Australia in mid-June.