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Tony Thorton (far right) is seen here in 1989 at Melbourne’s Calder Park presenting funny car racer, Romeo Capitano (centre) with the five second trophy while Calder Park (and now Willowbank) general manager, Steve Bettes watches on.

One thing that ANDRA must do is accommodate current technologies. Not in the “traditional” areas because we still deliver some of the most spectacular racecars in motor sport with those, but rather in areas that will attract younger people to the sport - as competitors or fans. Again, the import car culture is different but the sport must embrace that. Not everyone loves to spend two or three days watching drag racing and the show should be reconfigured to maximise the entertainment component, while maintaining the challenges for the racers.

: As an extension of that we currently have the world’s quickest and fastest rotary and knocking on the door for turbo import engines too – Australia is a hot bed of performance really. Taking that one step further some of the competitors in regular ANDRA drag racing classes have run world record times and speeds especially in the Top Doorslammer bracket. Also in Top Fuel we have run within a tenth of the world’s quickest Top Fuel quarter-mile times and around about the same speeds.

TT: I have always been impressed by the ability of Australian racers to deliver world-class performances. Given the distance we are from many suppliers and the increased costs and while things have got a little easier on that front lately (the Australian Dollar is now worth more than the Greenback – Ed)  – the results are staggering.

: Further on from this, probably a lot of our American readers are wondering why ANDRA didn’t follow NHRA and most of the European tracks in reducing the length of the racing surface for the fuel classes down to the 1000-foot strip length?

TT: Our three major tracks have adequate braking distances and very good emergency gravel traps and catch net devices. Moving to the shorter distance creates difficulties for other classes with varying levels of track preparation required. At this stage Australia is able to continue with the common distance but things like the availability of equipment and technology will dictate how that goes in the future.

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