National Title 50th Anniversary

National Title 50th Anniversary – Withers 200MPH Mangled Mess

Two cars line up, the engines rev and the crowd roars as Graham Withers enters the track tyres smokin’. In Ampol colours, Red, White and Blue, the GT-Rail Dragster in a spectacular wheel-stand entertain the mob as Withers, Australia’s first full-time Professional Drag Racer sets his sights on victory in his front engine 392 Chrysler Supercharged Hemi slingshot, which Withers designed and built himself. Withers seeking new sponsorship teamed up with Ampol and a legend was born.

‘It was Big Daddy Don Garlits, Florida, who was always at the leading edge of innovation in Top Fuel Drag Racing in the USA who influenced my driving. I had the will, drive and determination to be the best and challenge the norm’s’, says Wither.

The 3 November 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of Withers three wins across 1966-67-68 making him a National Hero across Australia through the live television broadcasts at the time. There were no points system during the early years, it came down to the best driver on the day. Withers was the first Top Fuel driver to win the three events in consecutive years and this made him a legend at that time and created quite a stir. It is now 50 years since that historic moment at Calder Park Raceway.

When Keith Williams, the developer (Hamilton Island, Sea World etc.) offered appearance money to compete at his venue, Surfers Paradise International Raceway I knew Drag Racing was going to be more than just a hobby for me, says Withers.

Withers made the Sun newspapers front page after a miraculous escape while crashing at 200 mph at Calder Park Raceway. The accident was not his first or last incident; however other competitors were not happy with the domination of Withers, they sought for his removal. The Australian Hot Rod Federation established in 1966 (AHRF) intervened and sidelined Withers with no right of appeal. This situation would never happen today. A fierce competitor and dedicated engineer, it wasn’t long before he was back in his dragster to claim his three titles. Withers fondly remembers winning the first of his titles and describes it as his best experience.

The early days were frustrating as AHRF catered for both Show/Street and Drag Racing facets of the Sport. It was obvious Drag Racing was becoming a popular sport and required a new direction. Drag Racing set up their own organisation and Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) was formed in 1971.

I asked Withers if he did any other sports as a youngster, his reply, ‘no, as I wasn’t very sporty, so I built model aircraft and boats. However, my favourtie childhood race car driver was Circuit Racer Norm ‘Stormin Norman’ Beechey’.

After retiring from Top Fuel Drag Racing, Withers opened an automotive components parts business know as Graham Withers Speed Shop in 1972 where his many fans would stop by for a chat and advice. The shop in Cheltenham became Australia’s largest high-performance speed shop. Withers diversified into manufacturing where he designed, developed and patented his World-First High-Performance All-Steel Crankshaft Dampers.

Now 77, and with 95 per cent of PRO/RACE business in the USA, today Withers (President) sits at the helm of PRO/RACE Performance Products and continues to do business manufacturing and selling Dampers to Ford, General Motors and others in the USA and Australia. His range of Dampers includes PRO/STREET and SFI Spec-18.1 Certified PRO/RACER and PRO/SPORT.

Withers says, ‘If you have a passion for an activity, go for the challenge to be the best in your field’.

 

The Australian National Drag Racing Association would like to congratulate Graham Withers on his National Title 50 year anniversary. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Pauline Csuba MA(ProfWrit), Student, BA(ProfWrit/Journalism), Swinburne, DIP(PWE), CertIV(PWE), Box Hill Institute.
Writer/Freelance Journalist

Executive Personal Assistant to Mr Graham Withers.
Director- Graham Withers Charity Limited.

SEMA Show Las Vegas 2017

SEMA 2017 Pro Race

SEMA 2017 Pro Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRO/RACE Performance Products will be an exhibitor @
The 2017 SEMA SHOW in LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA from OCT 31 – NOV 3, 2017.

Come and visit our booth #73009 in The Racing Annex!

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

SEMA Show Las Vegas 2017 Pro Race performance products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2016 SEMA Show drew more than 70,000 domestic and international buyers. The displays are segmented into 12 sections, and a “New Products Showcase” featured nearly 3,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

There will be a host of Celebrity Appearances which you can view here.

You can view the Floor Plan below or for a larger image please click here.

SEMA Show Las Vegas 2017 Pro Race performance products Floor Plan

 

PRO/RACE Under Drive Damper

Pro-Race Under Drive Damper

Under Drive Damper by PRO/RACE ®.

Accessory drive systems have been made more compact on Late Model V8 engines like the Ford 4.6L and the GM LS1 by machining serpentine belt grooves on the OD of the crankshaft damper. The crankshaft damper functions as a combination crank damper and crank pulley on these engines.

Under drive dampers are smaller in diameter than stock production crank dampers which slows the speed of the accessories and reduces the HP required to drive them. Since performance and racing engine applications generally run at higher RPM, the water pump, alternator and power steering pump speeds can be reduced to save HP and still meet engine cooling, electrical and vehicle steering requirements.

Features:

  • High quality at an affordable price
  • Expertly made from premium materials
  • Built to match your exact requirements

The trick is to reduce the crank damper diameter without losing the torsion control capability required to prevent engine vibration and possible damage. The PRO/SPORT Under Drive dampers have been specially tuned to control crankshaft torsional vibration to stock production levels.

Dynamometer tests of the PRO/SPORT 25% under drive damper on a 2005 Mustang 4.6L 3V engine at Livernois Motorsports in Dearborn Heights, Michigan produced a 13 HP gain over a stock production damper.

#underdrivedampers #prorace

WHAT IS TORSIONAL VIBRATION?

PRO RACE Torsional Vibration

Each crankshaft has a natural frequency. If a crankshaft is held stationary at one end and a rotating load is applied to the other end, a twisting stress is created in the crankshaft. If the rotating load is released, the crankshaft springs back past its at-rest position and a twisting stress is briefly present  in the opposite direction.

The crankshaft again springs back past its at-rest position. This oscillation continues, in reducing amounts, until the crankshaft stops oscillating. The rate of the oscillation is referred to as the crankshaft’s natural frequency.

Torsional Vibration

In the engine, each power impulse imparts a torque, or rotating force to the crankshaft. Because one end of the crankshaft resists this rotation, full-power torque impulses can overcome the inherent stiffness of the crankshaft, causing it to twist. As the power pulse ceases, the crankshaft springs back in the opposite direction to “undo” the twist. It springs back past its at-rest position and a twisting stress or torsion is briefly present in the opposite direction.

 

PRO/RACE All Steel Crankshaft Vibration Damper

PRO/RACE All Steel Crankshaft Vibration Damper

The PRO/RACE “All Steel” Crankshaft Vibration Damper has a precision machined inner bore which requires special attention prior to installing.

It is also important to note that your PRO/RACE Damper is supplied “IN BALANCE” condition, therefore, if any balancing operations are to be carried out on the engine, weight must be added or removed from the crankshaft only.
To view our complete application list please contact us.

PRO/RACE

pro race performance products logo

Pro Race Graham Withers is Australia’s Premier Drag Racing Champion from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

During his racing career Graham broke every outright speed and elapsed time record at every drag racing strip across Australia, and was Australian Champion on three Occasion in a race car that he himself built.

After retiring in the mid 70’s Graham turned his attention to business with the same passion, drive and commitments he displayed during his racing career.  Capitalizing on his racing experience and know how, he established a retailing operation for high performance automotive components.

2016 SEMA Show Highlights

SEMA SHOW 2016 Highlights

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world.

It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

Here are some highlights from the 2016 Show.

 

 

Graham Withers – 75 Years Young & Still Going ……

In August of this year Graham Withers will turn 75 years young and is still heavily involved in business and his love for Drag Racing. I speak to many people who revisit the ‘Good Old Days’ of the antics that they and Graham would get up to whether it was racing to work in their ‘pride and joy’ cars of that era or at the Riverside Raceway back in mid 1960’s. Others reminisce about the days that they grew up with Graham visiting him at his speed shop in Cheltenham or watching him on the various tracks in Australia in the ‘Ampol GT’ or his funny car ‘Demons Disciple’ which not only did he race ‘aswell as other drivers’, Graham also built the chassis for the funny car. Till my next blog J.

Ampol-gt

 

Demons-Disciple

Never too Old to Learn…..

National-Championship-1966

 

National-Championship-1966

 

 

2016 is bringing many new things to Pro-Race & Graham Withers so where do I start ? Well its already June, yes half the year has gone already….. So what has the first half of the year brought Pro-Race?

Well firstly I have had Nicole Coughlin Senior Online Producer, Institute of Online Business Pty Ltd upgrade the Pro-Race website & I will be doing weekly blogs which hopefully everyone in cyber land will enjoy! The Facebook page is going well with many lively conversations, I attempt to post one or two new pictures a week and then share to the Australian Drag Racing History & Memorabilia Facebook page.

Pro-Race has Geoff ‘Mr G’ working hard in Sydney to get us more presence in the NSW market and this will then increase our Australian market client base.

 

Murray Anderson – The Real Wizard of Oz

Outside of North America, the other great “hot spot” for drag racing in the world is the continent of Australia. For years many professional, and some not quite so professional, racers from the U.S. took advantage of the opposite seasons and traveled “down under” to supplement their incomes by match racing and putting on exhibitions during the Australian summer. It was during the preliminary stages of one of the more quirky, and ultimately ill fated, of these exhibitions that an inquisitive youngster from the country had his first brush with what would soon become an overpowering passion.

Murray Anderson moved with his large family to the sprawling city of Melbourne on the south coast of Australia in 1971. Always interested in things mechanical while growing up, 14 year-old Murray continued to tinker with old motorbikes or whatever motorized piece of gear he could lay his hands on after moving to the city. Shortly after graduating from high school at the age of 17, he embellished a bit on his technical qualifications and took a job as a Mini Minor mechanic at a Leyland garage. Ironically, directly across the road was a speed shop owned by Aussie Top Fuel legend Graham Withers, and unbeknownst to young Murray at the time, the future course of his life would eventually be charted due to that very juxtaposition of circumstances.

Looking back, Murray vividly recalled his first encounter with a professional drag racer. “It was in 1974, not long after I had talked my way into my first motor mechanic job,” he said. “Graham Withers brought an American Top Fuel driver over to Australia with the intention of putting on a demonstration on an unfinished section of freeway here in Melbourne. A major bridge collapse had left the road sitting unused for several years, and Graham thought it would be a perfect place to stage a Top Fuel exhibition. While waiting for government red tape to be cleared, he put the car on display in front of his shop. At the time, I knew nothing of drag racing; I’d only ever been to a speedway bike meeting in my local country town. During my lunch hours, I’d go across the road and just look the car over from every angle. I did this every day for a week, even bringing my camera to work so that I could get a few photos because I’d never seen anything like it. Like I said, I knew absolutely nothing of drag racing up to this time.