When Darren Nichele took out the Top Sportsman victory at the recent South Coast 660, he achieved a lifelong dream – taking home a ANDRA Christmas Tree.
The 47-year-old owner of Shelves for Shops in Dandenong (Victoria) has been in love with drag racing since he was a youngster, and always hoped to hold aloft one of the ANDRA’s prestigious trophies.
“I have been around the sport basically since I could walk – my father had an involvement in it and my passion has always been there and never gone away,” Nichele explained.
“The dream was always to get a car one day, and then the next one was to do what we did at the South Coast 660 – win a silver ANDRA Christmas Tree.
“Hopefully now there is more to come, but I can tell you, there is nothing like winning – to get my first ANDRA Top Sportsman Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Christmas Tree, well, all I can say is that dreams do come true!”
The South Coast 660 was a two-day event held at Portland’s South Coast Raceway (January 20/21), and day one was certainly a successful start for Nichele – seeing him take out the Top Sportsman Top Qualifiers Medallion – sponsored by The Tile Co-The Shower People, KC Tools and Summit Racing.
“The track was in absolutely excellent condition and the car was being as consistent as it had ever been, so after Top Qualifying I knew I just had to make sure I took advantage of how good the car and the track was and try and capitalise on that opportunity to win my first ANDRA Christmas Tree,” Nichele explained.
“To get it done was just brilliant, a dream come true.”
The Mulgrave resident is quick to point out that no victory is a solo effort, taking the time to thank those around him who have made this result possible.
“I want to thank my fellow competitors and especially Jason on a great final race,” Nichele said.
“I couldn’t have won either without the help of some great people along the way – Nick, Scott, Mark, Enio and Frank in particular, and also the companies that have put their valued support behind us to allow us to do what we do: SDPC Race Shop from Lubbock in Texas, Cavallo Drag Racing for their supply of VP Race Fuels, Bob Maslen Race Cars and Drayich Inc Sportsman Race Services.”
The South Coast 660 was round seven of the 2017/2018 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series. Round eight will be held at the Perth Motorplex across March 3-4 before the season grand finale hits Adelaide International Raceway across March 23-24. For more information, please visit www.andra.com.au