Big names fell and locals made a name for themselves during qualifying at the Pro Showdown for round one of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series for Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer.
The Perth Motorplex track proved tricky with numerous teams in both brackets experiencing tyre shake and pedalling out in the first stanza before settling down and finding their groove. Well… most of them.
Heavy hitter Steven Reed failed to make the show in Top Alcohol while the Brays, Andrew Sutton and Peter Kapiris bowed out in Top Doorslammer in what was the tightest field ever split by one tenth of a second.
Murray O’Connor in ‘the little Flacon that could” had a big night finishing as number one qualifier in Top Doorslammer posting 6.072, 5.908 and 5.989 in his three runs.
O’Connor said the car felt good and that some of the other teams didn't perform as he was expecting. He also offered some insight into why that may have been the case.
“The weather was a bit odd tonight,” said O’Connor. “The humidity came in late and even we went a little slower in that last one than we expected.”
“I think a lot of the guys outside of the field had to really push to try and get in and that’s when you over step the mark.”
O’Connor isn't getting ahead of himself preferring to take it as it comes with a strong field missing some very strong competitors on race day.
“(We’ll take it) one lap at a time,” he said. “We’ll go through the car tonight, service it, rock up tomorrow afternoon, put whatever tune up we think is right and it’s in the lap of the gods from there.”
“To sit here and say you are confident in a field as fast as what some of these guys do would be foolish. Any one of those guys can come up and bite you and it’s very easy to make a mistake yourself.”
Stealing the show in Top Alcohol was 21 year old Shane Weston in the CNE Dragster who snuck into top spot ahead of Gary Phillips by three thousandths of a second with a final run of 5.562 at 252.80 mph.
The young gun was feeling pumped with his team’s performance especially as they are running the car on the spares.
“It’s overwhelming; I still don’t believe it at the moment,” said Weston. “All my crew have worked so hard to get where we are.”
“For my team, what parts and knowledge we have its awesome, we haven’t got a big bank balance. We’re running the car on all our spares right now. We haven’t got any big sponsors but we hope to get some so we can do the full series, but at the moment it’s just the local rounds.”
Weston echoed O’Connor’s thoughts in taking it one lap at a time come race day just as he did on his final solo pass of 5.652 to take top spot.
“On the actual run I just had to take it as it comes. I’m racing against all the big guys and if I take it as it comes I’ve got a chance and that chance just happened to pay off.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the world but it’s coming quicker than I expected.”
Eliminations in round one of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series for Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer take place from 6:00pm on Saturday night at Perth Motorplex.
Image of Murray O'Connor (credit Phil Luyer / High Octane Photos)