Six times Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia (6.141) went out in the first round to Grant O’Rourke (5.992) and two other West Aussie’s picked up the mantle to fly the flag, but it was two Queenslanders landing the points and the ANDRA Silver Christmas Trees at the Pro Showdown.
Stuart Bishop would take the win in Top Doorslammer from Pino Priolo with a 5.972 from a 6.028 storming past the West Aussie at the half track for his first ANDRA Drag Racing Series victory in 15 years of trying.
After being handed the trophy Bishop said he was in disbelief as the usual suspects were eliminated early allowing the Wallace Bishop Jewellers team to take advantage.
“It’s special, he said. “I’ve usually been out in the first round the last couple of years and Doorslammer feels like I’m always up against Zappia who went out first round. Unfortunately I’m used to that.”
“I don’t get to race every race so Daniel Reed (crew chief) gets to tinker with the car, play with different things and do different things. We came out here to use a race meeting as a test run and we came away with the win.”
Referring to the ANDRA Silver Christmas tree Bishop said, “I’m a jeweller by trade and this is the most expensive piece of metal I’ve ever held!”
Earlier in the night eliminations got off to hairy start with Martyn Dack and Maurice Fabietti opening proceedings in Top Doorslammer.
Fabietti put two wheels in the air turning sharply to the right and over the centre line while Dack posted a 6.442 blowing heavy smoke in the process.
Dack would make it out in time for the semis though his night would end with a big tyre shake and oil down the length of the track as Pino Priolo advanced on a 6.039.
When racing resumed Stuart Bishop propelled his Chevy 67 Camaro to a win in a pedal fest on a 6.408 leaving Grant O’Rourke pedalling out himself to draw his weekend to a close.
Then it was onto that final run to pick up his very first piece of silverware.
Unfortunately in Top Alcohol, the other fairy tale involving Shane Weston came to an end in the semi-finals as Weston blazed the tyres on a 5.726 while Craig Glassby took full advantage going first across the line with a 5.768.
His opponent in the final would be John Cannuli who had his Dudu Funny Car on a rail all night with a 6.667 to defeat a pedalling Steve Ham (8.425) and then taking out 16 times Top Alcohol champion Gary Phillips (5.724) on a pass of 5.650.
In the final Cannuli went across the stripe on a 5.609 leaving Glassby frustrated as his Chevy Monte Carlo funny car came out of the holeshot untidy for a 9.270 handing Cannuli his fourth ANDRA Drag Racing Series win.
Cannuli did not qualify in Top Doorslammer but his priority was always the Top Alcohol championship saying it was a great feeling to beat Gary Phillips and Steve Ham along the way.
“That’s why we came here to get this funny car in the final and that’s what we did,” he said “It was consistent all weekend; it ran 5.60s and we brought the win home.”
“To beat those guys is really great; to beat the likes of Steve Ham and Gary Phillips is really good.”
“I love the trophy. Any win is good but these Christmas trees are really special.”
From here Cannuli’s plan is to run in Top Comp at the Westernationals to further challenge his fellow Queenslanders Phillips and Ham.
“We’ve got a consistent 5.60 car but we want to run 5.50s so we can chase the likes of Gary Phillips and Steve Ham where they can run 5.40s and 5.50s on a good track. And that’s what we’re going to try to do and go to Easter and try run 5.40s and 5.50s.”
Attention now turns to round two of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series for Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer at the Westernationals back at Perth Motorplex Februay 28-March 2, 2014.
For all the full race results visit www.andra.com.au/series/results.html
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