Darren Morgan made his debut on Saturday as a runner up to Phil Lamattina. He finished his weekend as a winner on Sunday night to shake up the ANDRA Drag Racing Series Top Fuel standings.
DMR did what they always do, get quicker with each pass running 4.758 in qualifying, 4.712 during eliminations and 4.695 in the A Final from Allan Dosbon’s 4.717.
Morgan said the car has new clutch disconnects, blowers and injector but the team is very happy with the set up.
“We’re really happy with the changes (to the car), it’s perfect,” he said. “Everything is just mint, it goes faster and faster every time we tell it to.”
“The next time we have a good track we’ll run low 60s or high 50s.”
Lamattina went quickest again in qualifying on a pulsating 4.693 pass from Damien Harris’ 4.803 during qualifying while Allan Dobson went side by side with Morgan posting a 4.748. Martin Stamatis also went into the fours despite a pop and haze at 1000ft on a 4.868 against Mark Sheehan stepping out just shy of 1000ft.
During eliminations, a red light for the first time since 2012 ended Lamattina’s dream run out west meaning Dobson would go quickest and reach the A Final against DMR on a 4.687 from Stamatis (5.091). Mark Sheehan reached the B Final thanks to an ET of 4.879. He would take the honours for third position with a run of 4.695.
Daniel Gregorini posted consecutive PBs in Top Doorslammer surging first to a 5.921 in eliminations as Victor Bray shut down early in the opposite lane, while Gary Phillips posted the second quickest time of the round to make the A Final on a 5.928.
Unfortunately Phillips would not make the start due to a damaged main rear bearing on the previous pass leaving Gregorini to take a solo 5.914 in his first ever final and lift his first ever ANDRA Christmas tree of any colour, never mind gold.
Gregorini said he had clutch issues in Round 2 on Saturday meaning the team had to make changes and revert to old data in Round 3 on Sunday.
“I did a short shifting pass on the 6.08 but then did 5.92 and 5.91 to back it up. That last pass I had to short shift again as it got a bit skatey out there.”
“I’ve got posters from when Zap first started when I was seven years old and I’ve been following him since. That was the dream and I finally got here and did it, it’s awesome.”
Earlier Gregorini’s childhood hero John Zappia was back in a big way qualifying first with a 5.863. Andrew Sutton slotted into second running 5.868 from Gary Phillips in third with 5.923. From there it was a string of sixes led by Marty Dack (6.004) and Pat Carbone (6.008) in fourth and fifth.
Surprisingly Zappia’s night would end in the elimination round on a holeshot as Peter Kapiris got the win on a 6.139 thanks to an RT of .084 from Zap’s 6.036 and .196.
Ben Bray overcame his recent teething problems with a new auto and converter to reach the B Final on a 6.045 pass against Bishop (6.337). Pino Priolo’s 6.069 defeated the engine popping Andrew Sutton to join him.
Ben Bray’s difficulties resurfaced however laying fluid and shutting down after the burnout leaving Priolo to take the B Final solo in a pedalling 6.459.
Top Fuel now moves onto Willowbank Raceway for Rounds 5 and 6 at the Super 3 on April 18-19 while Top Doorslammer is back in action for Round 4 at Calder Park Raceway April 4-5.
Pic Phil Luyer