Chris Lioulios heads to this weekend’s Twilight Nationals (March 13/14) not only on maximum Super Sedan points for the 2019/2020 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series, but also with the added confidence of his first ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree.
There is no doubt that the South Australian has quite a collection of ANDRA Christmas Trees on his mantelpiece, but at the recent Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex, he picked up his first ever Gold tree and says this has boosted his confidence as he gets ready for what will be the penultimate round of the title chase this weekend at Mildura’s Sunset Strip.
“Everything went right for me to win in Perth and I won my first Gold Christmas Tree while the car also ran its personal best,” Lioulios explained.
“One of my goals at the start of the season was to take a win at Perth, as my last three meetings there have not been so successful! I find it one of the harder tracks to get right in Australia due to the rapid changes in air conditions and wind but it all came together at the Westernats.
“We have had some suspension problems with the car this season and we changed a few things before Perth and were hoping to try them out at the test and tune. When that was rained out, we were doing this throughout the qualifiers.
“One of the changes was going to a radial tyre so we were trying to make that work between qualifiers and thankfully the car left better each pass, allowing us to have more confidence in our dial-ins as we progressed through rounds and as such, we were able to improve our competitiveness.
“It was definitely special to win my first Gold tree, especially at this point of the championship, and it was great as well to have my wife and my daughter present at the event – it made the win extra special.”
Now with just two rounds left in the current season, the Roxby Downs racer is on maximum points for the Super Sedan bracket after coming third in last year’s standings.
“At the start of this season we decided to run as many Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series events as possible to strive to win the championship. It takes a lot of kilometres, but it is well worth it,” Lioulios said.
“Overall we are having a good season and I have enjoyed experiencing tracks that I have not raced at before like Darwin and Alice Springs. Winning at Darwin was a great way to start the chase and it was also very satisfying getting the win in Perth due to the challenges I had before that event.
“I feel like we have done enough so far to be in a position to be able to contend for the championship – but as we all know, this is drag racing so anything can happen!
“For the penultimate round, we have had a much more relaxed build-up as we have not been having to change anything or try and fix issues like we have for most of the season, so that is really great. I love the Mildura track too, it is nice and wide and the track staff never give up – they do whatever they can to provide the best track possible. We are also looking forward to taking advantage of the night racing format to be tourists during the day and enjoy what the town of Mildura has to offer!
“When it comes to the ANDRA Grand Finals, they are close to home so we won’t be on the road for thousands of kilometres before having to race and there will be a lot of support on-site for me from family and friends so I am looking forward to that.
“Overall we are also a lot more confident now with the car following the Perth result and this will help our competitiveness across the final two meetings.
“As we get ready for this weekend I would like to thank my pit crew – Jim and Elana Dalakis – for taking time out from work and family to support my racing. I would also like to send a special thanks to Mick Yfantidis for his never-ending support and guidance; to my wife Natalie for her encouragement and support; and also to Mark form Lost Race Products for going out of his way to help me re-balance my rims and tyres while in Perth.”
Round nine of the 2019/2020 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series, the Twilight Nationals, will be held at the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association’s Sunset Strip across March 13 and 14, 2020. For event information, please visit www.sunsetstrip.org.au or www.andra.com.au
The Twilight Nationals will be the Series’ penultimate round, ahead of the ANDRA Grand Final which will be hosted by Adelaide International Raceway across March 28 and 29.