V8 Utes at the Castrol Townsville 500

About the Track:Location: Reid Park, Townsville, QLDLength: 2.84km longTurns: 13 turnsDirection: Clockwise Fastest Average Speed: 118kph

1) The 2014 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series – fuelled by Hogs Breath Café will return to the Townsville Street Circuit for the fifth time. The V8 Utes were at the inaugural round in 2009 and in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

2) Lap Record:George “Slick” Miedecke set the first lap record in a V8 Ute at the Sucrogen Townsville 500, however Ford rival Jack Elsegood snatched it by the end of the weekend (Race 2 2009) and held it for two years. Reigning V8 Ute Champion Ryal Harris broke the 2009 record in 2011 in Race 1 in a time of 1:28.2930, Kim Jane holds the current Race Lap record in a time of 1:28.2333 set in Race 1 2013.

After almost 3 years, Nathan Pretty broke the Qualifying lap record drought in 2013 by almost six tenths of a second, the record was set in 2009 by Jack “The Hustler” Elsegood.

3) Historical Moment:One of the fiercest battles for the ARMOR ALL Pole Award took place in Townsville. In 2009 Jack Elsegood pipped George Miedecke, in the last 30 seconds of the Qualifying session by only 1/100ths of a second in a time of 1:27.94. In 2011, Harris pipped Chris Pither, the 2011 Champion, by only 9/100ths of a second.

4) Performance Record:Jack Elsegood and Grant Johnson have the best track record in Townsville; Two-time V8 Ute Champion Grant Johnson has two race wins and three podiums (2nd 2011 & 2010, 3rd 2009) under his belt. Elsegood has claimed two podiums (1st in 2010 and 2nd in 2009) and two poles however he is yet to win a race at the Reid Park circuit. Ryal Harris, the reigning V8 Ute Champion, has won two races and one pole and stood on podium for the first time in 2013.

5) Race 3 at Townsville will mark the halfway point for the Australian V8 Ute Racing Series – fuelled by Hogs Breath Café.

6) The local Lad:Townsville local, Graham “The Local Lad” Edwards will make his fourth appearance at his home track. He debuted in the V8 Utes in Townsville in 2010 and raced at home again in 2011 and 2013, he has competed in 4 other V8 Ute rounds including 2011 Clipsal 500, 2011 Sandown 500 and the 2011 ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600.

7) Ford v’s Holden:2013 was the first year the Ford FG’s raced in Townsville, however the new model wasn’t enough to give the Fords one race win last year. Holden have eight race wins in total compared to Ford who have four, Ryal Harris won a race in Townsville in both a Ford and a Holden. Holden have only won one ARMOR ALL Pole Award (Nathan Pretty 2013), whilst Ford dominated as the fastest Ute on the track, claiming all lap records until last year.

8) The Line-up:Twenty three of the 32 drivers in the Series have competed in Townsville at all V8 Ute events, including Craig Dontas, Peter Burnitt, Kim Jane, Andrew Fisher, Ryal Harris, Noel Edge, Adam Marjoram, Multispares Ryan Hansford, David Sieders, Wayne Wakefield, Gary MacDonald, Matthew Nolan, Craig Dontas, Cam “Slideways” Wilson, Stratco Racing’s Rhys McNally, Jesse Dixon, Gerard McLeod, Nathan Pretty, Elliot Barbour, Jeremy Gray, Kris Walton, George Miedecke, Graham Edwards, and Grant Johnson.

Johnson hasn’t raced in Townsville since 2011 and will step into Danny Buzadzic’s #72 Ford for the round with backing from Crane Trucks R Us, Cement and Aggregate suppliers Holcim and Industrial Galvanizers

George Miedecke is also returning to the Townsville circuit after a long absence (2009). The former NASCAR Development driver posted some of the fastest results Qualifying second and winning Race 1, he was unfortunate to get mixed up in a Race 2 incident causing extensive damage to his Ford and unable to return to the field for the remainder of the weekend. Miedecke returned full-time to the Series this year and is now racing a Holden.

Eight drivers will race on the streets of Townsville for the first time including; New Zealander James Urquhart, Rookie Philip Woodbury, Michael Almond, Peter McNiven with backing from Vibe Audio Motorsport, Henry Nickolls – Team Kleen Racing/Kleen Group, Tim Blanchard, Charlie Kovacs Jr and Battery World’s John “Spud” Wood.

Wood was unable to attend Townsville last year after his Ute was written off in his debut round at Darwin.

Kiwi driver James “Huggi” Urquhart will join the V8 Ute Series for the second time in Townsville. The New Zealand V8 Ute Series regular, first drove in the Aussie Series at Bathurst in 2012 for team Kiwi.

Former V8 Supercar driver Tim “The Toolman” Blanchard will return to the Series for the first time since Darwin 2012. The Victorian drove the Auto One Wildcard at the same event in 2011 and 2012.Charlie Kovacs Jnr will take over from Dad Kovacs Snr and drive the #43 RED Express Deliveries Holden at this round.

9) ARMOR ALL Drivers Championship:Kris Walton leads the ARMOR ALL Drivers championship by a mere 2 points heading into this round ahead of David “Sideways” Sieders. Sieders is on 364 points, 52 points ahead of Jesus Racing’s Andrew Fisher on 312, Craig Dontas 302 points, young-gun Jesse Dixon on 300. 2013 front-runner Nathan Pretty GoPro Racing is on 288 from Ryal Harris only one point further back.

10) Townsville will mark the memorial of Allan Simonsen, the former V8 Ute driver passed away in June 2013 at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Simonsen ran in a three-car V8 Ute team in 2005 alongside Ian McAlister and Jack Elsegood for Coopers Pale Ale Racing. All 32 Utes ran stickers in his memory last year.

Points Breakdown:There is a total of 175 points up for grabs on the weekend.

The point system award’s the top three place getters with bonus points. First place will receive 35 points, second place 33 points, third place 31 points and fourth place 29 points; it then reduces one point for every position to 32nd place.

The determination of the Grids is determined as follows. Race 1 Grid is determined by Qualifying. Race 2 grid is determined by a random ballot drawn by the Race 1 winner. The number that is drawn is the number of Utes that will be reversed on the grid for that race. The Grid for Race 3 will be determined by the highest aggregate points earned from the results of Race 1, 2 and 3. (Qualifying points not included.) In the event of a tie, the highest grid position will go to the fastest qualifier.

The new qualifying format will also be run at this Round. The new format, similar to the qualifying system used in Formula 1, features a 30 minute session broken up into 3 individual segments.

Qualifying 1 will include all 32 V8 Utes and after 10 minutes, the top 20 fastest drivers will continue into Qualifying 2, for a shorter 7 minute session. The top 10 drivers from this session will then start Qualifying 3, a short 5 minute session allowing for a 1 or 2 lap shootout. The fastest lap times will then determine the top ten grid for the start of Race 1, with the balance of the grid filled as they drop off in lap time from each segment.

Broadcast time:Race 1 and Race 3 will be televised as live through 7Mate, Race 1 Saturday, 5th July at 12pm AEST and Race 3 12:30pm AEST (check local guides).

Event Schedule:Friday, 4th July Practice 1 8:30amFriday, 4th July Practice 2 12:15pmFriday, 4th July Qualifying 3:20pmSaturday, 5th July Race 1 8:15amSaturday, 5th July Race 2 12:35pmSaturday, 6th July Race 3 10:15am

Past Race and ARMOR ALL Pole Winners:2013Qualifying Nathan “Nitrous” Pretty (Holden VE)Race 1 Kim “The Assassin” Jane (Holden VE)Race 2 Stephen “Whitedog” White (Holden VE)Race 3 Nathan “Nitrous” Pretty (Holden VE)

2011Qualifying Ryal “The Kid” Harris (Ford BF)Race 1 Ryal “The Kid” Harris (Ford BF)Race 2 Chris “Crispy” Pither (Holden VE)Race 3 Chris “Crispy” Pither (Holden VE)

2010Qualifying Jack “The Hustler” Elsegood (Ford BF)Race 1 Grant “Grunta” Johnson (Holden VE)Race 2 Jeremy “Lost It” Gray (Ford BF)Race 3 Grant “Grunta” Johnson (Holden VE)

2009Qualifying Jack “The Hustler” Elsegood (Ford BF)Race 1 George “Slick” Miedecke (Ford BF)Race 2 Ryal “The Kid” Harris (Holden VE )Race 3 Layton “Leadfoot” Crambrook (Ford BF)

Past Round Winners:20131st Nathan “Nitrous” Pretty (Holden VE)2nd Kim “The Assassin” Jane (Holden VE)3rd Ryal “The Kid” Harris (Ford FG)

20111ST Chris “Crispy” Pither (Holden VE)2nd Grant “Grunta” Johnson (Holden VE)3rd Cameron “Conkers” McConville (Holden VE)

20101st Jack “The Hustler” Elsegood (Ford BF)2nd Grant “Grunta” Johnson (Holden VE)3rd Jeremy “Lost It” Gray (Ford BF)

20091st Layton “Leadfoot” Crambrook (Ford BF)2nd Jack “The Hustler” Elsegood (Ford BF)3rd Grant “Grunta” Johnson (Holden VE)(Gary Baxter originally came third for the round but was later excluded)