DRAG racing newcomer Mick Petrov, of Ararat, has slid into third place at the Westernationals in the Super Street category at Perth Motorplex.
The event is the penultimate round of the 2018-19 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series - a national points based competition open to all Australian National Drag Racing Association license holders.
Petrov faced off against about 40 other drivers on the quarter-mile drag strip, where he represented the Beat the Heat Victoria team.
The team is part of a program founded by off-duty emergency services workers that gets young people involved in motorsport and automotive, working alongside them to learn mechanics and race driving.
The event was only Petrov's fifth drag racing event.
He previously raced at events in Warracknabeal, Ballarat, Whoop A*** Wednesday in Perth, and the Casterton Street Drags, which he won.
"I'm very junior in the scene," he said.
"I expected to be knocked out in the very first round due to the calibre of the competitors over there.
"The facility, their vehicles, they're extremely advanced so I expected to get knocked out straight away."
Each time he qualified, Petrov fought his disbelief.
"It was complete and utter shock," he said.
"I didn't know to look for certain things that would tell me that I'd won.
"So every time I finished a race, I'd be driving back towards the start to get my time slip, and all the crew are there and they give you the thumbs up - then I realised I'd won."
Petrov drove Tango 3, a Super Street class VE Commodore station wagon.
Tango 3 runs mid 11 second passes on the quarter mile, which is about 190 kilometres an hour.
Now that he's back in Victoria, Petrov is already looking for his next race with Beat the Heat Victoria.
"I'll continue racing. I know we have drags in Warracknabeal in October, which we'll be running in conjunction with Wimmera Off Street Drag Racing," he said.
"We might be entering the June Hill Climb in Ararat but there is a plan with Portland (Summer Sportsman Series round) - they want us to race in their summit series."
Other than the racing, the engagement of young people in automotive and motorsport is what drives Petrov.
"The biggest thing for youth in the country is isolation, which then leads to youth suicide and we have way too high a rate - we're four times more likely than in the city for youth suicide," he said.
"Our program is designed to interact with youth and give them purpose."
Related:Hitting the track.
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