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In The West



You can read the 'Drag Racing' column every Wednesday in The West Australian's motoring section.

 
Events

November 18
Top Alcohol

November 24
Fast Friday

Dec 1/2
Goldenstates
TD and TB

 
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Event Coverage

October 21 - Season Opener
It was Phil Read up against Allan Dobson in a battle of Top Fuel Dragster to open up the 2006/2007 season at Perth Motorplex. This was one of the quietest meetings for some time at the Motorplex but still had the quality we expect! For photos click here.

October 7 - Test and Tune
For photos click here.

 

April 8 - USA Jets
The usual jet show was put on for the Grand Finals with the full complement of local championship brackets also turning on some good racing as the season closed with warm weather and a neat sort of crowd. bitcoin trading in pakistan For photos click here.

 
Latest News

19/11/2006 - Top Alcohol tops
A website update at 7:30am on a Sunday after a drag event, you are lucky. Well what a round of Top Alcohol!Wayne Newby
Brett Stevens was the form runner all through qualifying. He hit the track with a first up 5.67, then a 5.65, then a 5.64! He also ran a big 255mph in the heat of the day. In the first round he stepped it up again and defeated Debbie Reed with a 5.62 before smoking the tyres against Aaron Lynch in the semis.
Speaking of Lynch he made his first ever final in Top Alcohol but crossed the centreline against Wayne Newby who took a 5.71 win. Newby just played it safe most of the day, relying on 5.7 times and even a 5.68 thrown in to take out the event.
It was a race of attrition in many ways, read the Dragster Australia magazine report in a few weeks for all the details but just quickly Stuart Rowland made a little mistake down the top end and bunted a wall necessitating some body repairs but he did qualify with a 5.95.
The Reed family had a torrid event, Steve losing a motor on his first qualifer and not being able to repair in time while Debbie torched a head and only just made the field.
Meanwhile the O'Rourke Motorsport team were really frustrated with sprags proving an unreliable item in Damien Harris's car while Grant O'Rourke got used to his combination but had to shut off in the first round.
Well there will no doubt be some more goss and photos in days to come, keep a look out. crypto currency pakistan

16/11/2006 - The Big Top Alcohol Update
The first ever round of the Australian Top Alcohol Championship will be held this Saturday at Perth Motorplex.
Here is an introduction to some of the personalities who will be hitting the track.

Wayne Newby

The current points leader is New South Wales' Wayne Newby , a fairly young racer who has been around the drag racing scene for about a decade and before that was involved in drag boats with his father David Newby.
Newby is one of the last racers to be using the dragster configuration which in recent years has lost popularity to the Funny Car combination which is allowed more power to make up for the heavier weight and slightly more difficult chassis characteristics.
Newby still holds the quickest official Top Alcohol dragster time in Australia with a 5.61sec. recorded over four years ago, and is the current speed record holder at 402.09km/h.
The team are innovators, running their own manifold, supercharger and heads on a 470cu. in. race engine and are currently backed by Gatorz Eyewear.
The team comes in in hot form, having just won the Australian Nationals.

O'Rourke Motorsport

For the first time the West Australian O'Rourke Motorsport team is mounting a two-pronged attack on Top Alcohol with Damien Harris, currently second in the points, looking to establish himself at his home track and Grant O'Rourke who will be competing for the first time in a newly built car.
Harris races a US import Camaro Funny Car, with O'Rourke's car running a similar chassis and the same body.
Harris went to a runner up at the Australian Nationals in Queensland and comes in to Kwinana as the only regular championship runner who has got some decent experience on the Perth Motorplex drag strip.
O'Rourke
, used to driving a Top Doorslammer, will just be looking for straight and clean passes with the new combination.

Reed Racing

One of the most popular teams on the Top Alcohol circuit is Queensland's Reed Racing, made up of husband and wife Steve and Debbie Reed.
Debbie is currently third in the points after becoming the first woman to ever win a Top Alcohol event at the recent East Coast Nationals in Sydney.
She races a dragster as opposed to her spouse who drives a Funny Car. forex in pakistan
"I'm really looking forward to putting in a good performance at the Motorplex, I have never raced here before but have heard a lot about how fast it is," she said.
"And I am itching to take it up to the guys again!"
Meanwhile Steve, who races one of the oldest cars in the category, is just as keen to be a part of the action.
"My car has been performing strongly lately and I have been able to match it with the newer cars," he said.
Steve's best time is a 5.62sec. at 405km/h while Debbie has run a 5.72sec. at 399km/h.

Brett Stevens

A relative newcomer to Top Alcohol, that hasn't stopped Queensland's Brett "The Boss" Stevens becoming a tough competitor in his Kitten Mustang Funny Car.
Using resources from his Top Doorslammer operation, Stevens was quickly on the pace and even held the national record for a brief time with a 5.63sec. time.
His car is built of his own chassis workshop and was runner up in the 2005/2006 Top Alcohol championship.
Stevens is looking forward to seeing what the Funny Car will do for its first time at the Motorplex.
"We have a lot of data for the track from racing the Doorslammers and Top Bikes here so we should be able to dial the car's set-up straight in," he said.
Speaking of his Doorslammers and Top Bikes, Stevens will have those competing two weeks later at the Goldenstate Challenge, also at Perth Motorplex.

Aaron Lynch

Queensland's Aaron Lynch is one of the newest drivers in Top Alcohol and is running a Mustang Funny Car car built by Brett Stevens.
Like Stevens, Lynch started out in Top Doorslammer before deciding to add a Funny Car.
Lynch is still to get on top of the Funny Car, having only competed in two events so far but with all the right gear behind him he has the capacity to surprise the more seasoned runners.

Frank Intini

South Australia's Frank Intini was a surprise entry to the Kwinana round of the Top Alcohol championship as a privateer who has spent several years out of the main game.
He has contested the Sydney round of the championship in September in his dragster so far this year and will be racing at the Motorplex for the first time.
His dragster uses a unique combination in the field, a small block 388cu. in. Brodix engine powering this land locked missile.

Stuart Rowland

For Western Australia's Stuart Rowland it has been a long time between Top Alcohol drinks.
He played in the category briefly in the early 90s but has since mainly raced in the AA/Funny Car class of the Competition bracket.
His Pontiac Funny Car is running one of Damien Harris's old engines equipped with a PSI supercharger, and he has also spent a lot of time crewing and learning with the O'Rourke Motorsport team.Rowland has run a best time of 5.91sec. but that was in the restrictions of his old class, in Top Alcohol he is permitted more overdrive in the supercharger, which basically means more power.
He is a bucks down racer with the fibreglass body on the car bearing many scars but he will stand to surprise a few people in Top Alcohol.

Mark Sheehan

Finally we come to Mark Sheehan, a genuine dark horse in Top Alcohol.
He will be racing the only Altered in the field, basically a Funny Car chassis running an open carbon-fibre shell.
Sheehan has had difficulties with getting consistency with the Altered, with tyre shake making the launch difficult and a lack of downforce making the car fairly skittish through the top end of the race track.
However with a 5.69sec. pass to his credit, Sheehan is no slouch and will be one to watch for some wild runs.

Meeting Details

Round 3 of the Australian Top Alcohol Championship will be held on Saturday November 18.
The three qualifying sessions will be held at 1:30pm, 3:00pm and 4:30pm with round one eliminations at 6:00pm, semi finals at 8:00pm and the finals at approximately 10:00pm.
The spectator gates open at 10:00am with qualifying action for all other eliminators getting underway at 10:00am and the early Group 3 Eliminations start at approx. 3:30pm.
GT Radial Tyres Top Comp and Genie Exhaust Supercharged Outlaws will follow the first round of Top Alcohol at 6:10pm and 8:15pm.
Additional event information can be obtained by contacting the Perth Motorplex office on 9419 6622.

Ben Bray Latest Update

Young Aussie drag racing star Ben Bray and Team Bray crew member Mark 'Choc' Richmond have been discharged from hospital and are now at home recuperating, after suffering serious injuries in a freak workshop accident last week.
Ben suffered fractured and chipped vertebrae and Choc, an amputee, a badly damaged ankle when the pair was loading a car into the Team Bray transporter and the tailgate lift mechanism failed and dropped three metres to the ground.
Ben's relieved father, six times Top Doorslammer champion Victor, said Ben was happy to be home and is complying with doctor's orders in order to be fit enough to race as soon as possible.
"Benny's really glad to be home but he's going to have to live with the back brace for the next two to three months while his back repairs," Victor said. "Choc, obviously, being an amputee, will be in a wheelchair until he's fully recovered. Ben's got a wheelchair too so I guess the only thing both of them will be racing in the next couple of months will be wheelchairs!
"Ben can stand up and walk but not for long distances and he has to do specific exercises and the only time he can take the brace off is when he is lying flat on his back. Three months seems like a long time but it'll go quickly."
Ben was happy to back in familiar surroundings and starting his rehabilitation.
"The accident was a big eye-opener and I'm really glad to be home," he said. "I'd like to thank all the fans and my sponsors who have supported me over this last week and especially my family and girlfriend, Sam, who has been beside me the whole time.
"I still have to be careful, I can't lift anything, but I can walk up stairs although I'm not really stable on my feet yet, and I can't take big steps because I can't twist my back. It's like being a little kid again and taking baby steps; you know you're going slow when (baby son) Zac passes you."

9/11/2006 - Ben Bray injured
Bray Racing Release
Young drag racing star Ben Bray and a crewmember of Team Bray, Australia's best known Top Doorslammer team, have been seriously injured in a freak accident while loading a car into a transporter at the team's workshop yesterday. Another crewmember luckily escaped with minor injuries.
Ben was in the car and Mark 'Choc' Richmond and Anthony Vloedmans were on the transporter's tailgate, which had just reached its full extension some three metres off the ground when the tailgate lifting mechanism failed, sending the tailgate and the vehicle crashing to the ground.
After being stabilised at the scene, all three were taken by ambulance to Royal Brisbane Hospital, Ben with extensive injuries to his back and Mark to his leg. Anthony's injuries will require bed rest and he was released the same day after being examined by doctors. Ben and Mark are expected to be in hospital for some time, while the full extent of their injuries is determined.
"We'd like to thank everybody who has rung us expressing their concern," said Ben's father Victor. "Ben would like to apologise to all his fans in Perth, particularly, because he now won't be able to make the upcoming Top Alcohol event at Kwinana and at this early stage we're not sure when Ben will return to racing, it all depends on the doctors and how quickly he recovers.
"Everyone at Team Bray is hoping Choc makes a quick recovery too because he's been a valuable member of the team for five years and we're also grateful that Anthony wasn't badly hurt."

9/11/2006 - Pilkington prepares return
Rob Pikington has been sitting out of drag racing for some time but now the former supercharged Ute racer is bringing in a Top Alcohol Funny Car complete from the USA.
Pilkington has purchased the race car as a running operation which will have the latest BAE Hemi motor sitting up front along with a PSI supercharger and B&J Transmission.
The car has been raced by Bucky Austin in the US and Pilkington will be going to the World Finals in California to see its final laps before shipping it back to Australia.
Rob and wife Jackie plan to run the car in the AA/Funny Car class first in Top Comp before stepping up into Top Alcohol. He will certainly have a bit to get used to with the Monte Carlo-bodied car running a best of 5.53sec. at over 410km/h.
"It's a long way from running the HG ute doing 7.0sec.," said Pilkington.
"It's been a long time in the making, Jackie and I have worked pretty hard to be able to get back into racing competitively."
Pilkington is not an entire stranger to Funny Cars, having steered Damien Harris's car briefly in 2002.

17/10/2006 - Need party? Find Hudsons!
Not that this is much different from a normal event but anyhow...
Happy 50th Birthday to Clive Hudson!
According to our anonymous tipster who had better be right.

16/10/2006 - Champ to take on home town hero
Australian Top Fuel Champion Phil Read will be racing at Perth Motorplex in this Saturday's season opener, taking on the local Allan Greene-owned, Allan Dobson-driven Crank-n-Stein dragster in a massive grudge match.
The New South Welshman Read is coming off two event wins in a row in the 2006/2007 season and will be looking to continue his domination even if it is a match race.Phil Read
Read has reset the national time and speed records to 4.61sec. and 523km/h respectively so far and he freely admits that a 4.5sec. time is his next target.
"The team chasing consistency but 4.5 is always a goal," he said.
"We're coming to Perth to entertain, but if we get the best track conditions, who knows?"
While Read describes his current ex-United States car as the perfect package, he is hoping that the Crank-n-Stein team proves a potent challenge.
"I'm hoping they can stick it to us," he said.
"I prefer to run with people who can run flat out with us. The most exciting race I have ever had was still in Perth earlier this year when I raced Darren (Morgan) and we ran side by side all the way.
"The whole team is really looking forward to Perth. It is like a team bonding session, we all travel together. It's more relaxed, the people are friendly and I've never lost a round of racing there, hopefully it is still the same after October!"
The WA side is formulating a surprise attack on the national champions however.
Team owner Greene says a new Motec data logger, high pressure fuel pump, clutch and supercharger will be bringing the armoury to bear on Read.
"It will go pretty hard," he said.Allan Dobson - Picture by Greg Davis
"We'd like to do any time that starts with a four, even a 4.99sec., and if it all clicks it will go even harder that that."
Last year the Crank-n-Stein dragster took on former national champion Darren Morgan in an early season match race and came out of it 3-0 victors.
"We'll be as good as we can," said Greene.
"Their outright performance can't be matched, but we've got to get it down that track, in different conditions who would know the result?"
While Greene is kicking off the season with the dragster it is his Camaro Funny Car which remains the passion and he says there are high expectations for that car too.
"We are developing unique fuel and clutch set ups on both cars," he said.
"We'll be testing the Funny Car in about a month. Last year was about rebuilding, this year it is perfecting."

16/10/2006 - Crank-N-Stein testing movie
Thanks to Phil Blondel here is an exclusive movie of Crank-N-Stein's Friday test session.
As you can see the car is making plenty of power, now just to get those front wheels down! Looks spectacular though.
Right click here, then select save target as.

14/10/2006 - It's alive!
Our top secret spies managed to capture exclusive images of the Crank-N-Stein dragster's testing at Quit Motorplex.
They seem to suggest that coming opponent, Australian Top Fuel Champion Phil Read is in for more of a fight than he thinks.
Crank-N-Stein is now a brutish, powerful weapon - and more than capable of taking down the Black Mamba.

Crank-N-Stein - Pic by Greg Davis

12/10/2006 - Scott's secrets to Super Street
Neil Scott is now on his second championship reign in a row in the Super Street category, but as a man of few words he is not likely to tell you much.
Perhaps it is his closed in personality that has yielded the success, keeping secrets close to his chest and his ambitions tightly guarded.
Asking how he even feel about his wins does not reveal much, just a quick quip about the dominance of the "blue oval" on the front of his 11sec. Ford Escort and a quick nod to the combination's reliability.
"I just look out for myself, you need to run your own race," he said. It's hard to believe any racing situation would phase Scott and he certainly isn't prepared to reveal much on what gives him a winning edge.
While his local success at Perth Motorplex was a highlight, at least you would assume so, Scott seems frustrated by a title that eluded him, that of the Winternationals at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway in June where he took a runner up spot.
"It was great but I was a bit disappointed," he said.
"We have never raced in those conditions before, it was getting a bit slippery, it was cold, it was definitely unusual.
"I had food poisoning and didn't get a qualifier, we got away with it though."
One of the few things Scott was prepared to open up about was plans for his son Jordan to race after growing too old for the Junior Dragster ranks.
"We're trying to find a ride for Jordan, he wants a Modified Altered with a Funny Car body," he said.
Scott has found less time for his own goal of a new car as he starts to concentrate on Jordan's plans.
Jordan may be a little more attention-seeking than his father but with the same racing traits inherent they will form a complementary team.

10/10/2006 - Thunderbird is go
Shane Kosteszyn will prepare to make a comeback to Super Stock racing at Quit Motorplex with a new 1992 Thunderbird race car freshly imported from America.
The plan is to run the car with a freshened 350cu. in. Ford motor as run in Kosteszyn's last race car.
The current Thunderbird was built to Pro Stock specifications in the US and came with a big block, nitrous motor which has been sold to a local racer.
Kosteszyn says the new car is comparable chassis-wise to the old one but has vast improvements aerodynamically.
"It has a laid back windscreen, and a ground effects package underneath the car, the old car was like having a big parachute under there where all the air got trapped," said Kosteszyn.
"We've also got a longer wheelbase, we can run bigger tyres and is just very modern and slick."
Kosteszyn took last season off though he was put somewhat behind in his plans after dramas with his engine builder.
"He had the motor for six months and then said he didn't want it any more and I had three days to get it out of there," he said.
"The engine has gone to Pro Stock racer John Barbagallo and held up for a while as we wait for parts for the update."
Kosteszyn has the national record for the B/Gas class in his sights.
"We're not expecting miracles but the car should be in the 7sec. area almost straight away," he said.
"We will have more power, a new RacePak data logger and a new clutch. I want that record."
Kosteszyn is a man with big ambitions and a drive to achieve them and cites the professional category of Pro Stock as his eventual goal.
No rounds of the Australian Pro Stock Championship currently attend Kwinana.
"I've always had aspirations for Pro Stock," he said.
"Before that I want to just experience different tracks on the east coast and might even have a look at chasing the championship."

7/10/2006 - Racers put to the test
The WA drag racing scene awakes from its slumbe rtoday with the first official test and tune for the season at Perth Motorplex.
It will be a day-night event with racing going from 2pm in the afternoon to 9pm at night.
Several big name racers are expected to be putting down some laps including Adam Croker's gorgeous new Corvette Top Doorslammer.
The start of season test and tune has become something of an institution for WA drag racing and offers the first chance to see new combinations on track.
Spectators are welcome to attend with gates opening from 1pm.

1/10/2006 - Thunderous racing from Gregorini
Daniel Gregorini campaigned his family Super Sedan Torana to a championship win last season at Quit Motorplex, coming home comfortably in what is one of WA's toughest motorsport categories.
The 22 year old spray painter finished the season with one win and two runner ups which was enough to defeat the talented field including former champion Alistair McClure.Daniel Gregorini
"It was a goal I set and good for Dad to get what we knew the car had in it," said Gregorini.
"We had a season with no major problems and just did everything the same every time, consistency was the key to success."
Gregorini also said the addition of a data logger to the car has enabled them to tune with greater accuracy than ever before.
"Before we would take out the spark plugs after every run and 'read' them," he said.
"Now it's back into the pits, read the computer, put more fuel in, pack the parachute and back out there."
With one goal down it is on to the next for the "Thunda Struk" racing team.
The championship winning, 9sec. Torana is now up for sale so they can move to a Supercharged Outlaws race car.
"We can't move up until we sell the race car so we're going to take a couple of years off," he said.
Gregorini said he is also happy to continue his association with the Make A Wish Foundation, which has strengthened in recent years with fundraisers at Quit Motorplex for the cause.
Gregorini had cancer at just 8 years old and it is a miracle he is alive today.
To bounce back from a killer disease to making 230km/h passes down the drag strip is a sign that whatever Gregorini sets as his goal he is more than capable of achieving.

1/10/2006 - Pro racing possible
Doug Bird is contemplating running the Top Alcohol championship round at Quit Motorplex in November in his supercharged Chev-powered Altered.
Bird says whether or not the team competes or not depends on the entry numbers the event attracts.
"You need to run 5sec. to be competitive, and we haven't run that quick yet," he said.Doug Bird
"We will see how we go at the first event. The supercharger and cylinder heads are back in the States and our tuner Jim Oddy has given us some horsepower."
Top Alcohol rules would allow the team to run more overdrive in the supercharger (which creates more boost), and Bird says that is all they would change in their combination.
In terms of overall goals for the season, Bird wants to get that 5sec. run out of the way and bravely predicted it could happen at the first event for the season, which kicks off in October.
"It can be easily done with the right tune," he said.
"We just need more horsepower to overcome the tyre shake (where the tyre violently shakes under certain conditions) we have been getting."

29/9/2006 - 300km/h fireball survival
Top Doorslammer racer Grant O'Rourke survived an horrific fire in his supercharged 1968 Monaro at Sydney's East Coast Nationals.
But the unlucky O'Rourke kept a cool head during the incident and lived to tell the tale.Grant O'Rourke on fire - Picture by Grant Stpehens/dragster.com.au
O'Rourke said the sequence of events that led to the fire began when the engine put a rod out of the side of the block while doing about 300km/h.
"After it kicked the rods it has lifted the blower (supercharger), it was such a big bang that it broke the fuel fitting and it was pumping raw fuel out of it at 18 gallons a minute," he said.
"It was then a matter of trying to get the car stopped and get out."
With oil spewing from the wounded engine and vicious flames all around this proved a difficult task with the slick rear tyres simply sliding around every time O'Rourke applied the brakes.
"I was running out of air towards the end, I left the fire system till the last minute in case I really needed it," he said.
"It's not a superhero thing, you just deal with it. That's the bottom line, get it stopped."
As it was O'Rourke put the Monaro against the wall in order to bring things to a halt as the safety crew came to the scene.
It continued a tumultuous relationship with the Sydney strip, O'Rourke has now had three bad accidents at the track.
Despite the severity of the fire, and the minor burns to his face, O'Rourke rebuilt the car at fellow racer Victor Bray's workshop in Queensland and competed at the Australian Nationals two weeks later where unfortunately he failed to qualify.
Meanwhile all eyes will be on Perth for the next round of the Top Alcohol championship coming up in November after Damien Harris moved to second in the points following a runner up finish to Wayne Newby at the Nationals.
Harris qualified third before taking out the defending champion Ben Bray in round one with a 5.653sec. pass, the win taken by only three thousandths of a second at the finish line.
Harris backed up the first round with a 5.68sec. pass to defeat Steve Reed in the semi finals.Damien Harris
This left just the Newby dragster to defeat but unfortunately Harris found himself on the losing end of a "holeshot" with Newby's better reaction time to the starting lights seeing a 5.77sec. defeat a 5.71sec. at a fast closing 413km/h.
"It was fantastic to go a few rounds," said Harris.
"My focus wasn't on the Christmas tree (start lights) in the final and that's what killed me."
Harris will have at least a psychological advantage at the upcoming Perth round as one of the few racers to have raced his car on the Perth Motorplex.
"It will be a slight advantage but nothing overwhelming," he said.

27/9/2006 - Stanic shock to Doorslammers
Steve Stanic was the form man of the 2005/2006 Top Doorslammer championship and with a consistent combination in the Lucky Belleri-owned Camaro he was able to take the title.
The short statured New South Welshman drove to holeshot wins, wrestled the Camaro down slick tracks and proved himself the better of just about every driver.
For Stanic it was his first championship and was still sinking in at the end of last season.
"It is very much a roller-coaster ride in drag racing," he said.
"Since we got this car things have turned our way and after three years it has culminated in a championship."
Stanic began driving for Lucky Belleri in the late nineties and hasn't looked back since.Steve Stanic
The partnership is strong but Stanic claims that fate had a lot to do with the title.
"Really, everyone else stuffed up," he said.
"But we came strong when we needed too, it is vital to do well at the Perth rounds (for the bonus points), and we did."
The team runs on a tight budget, with merchandise trailers, big pit areas and publicity not their main feature but it is a focus on racing that allows them to tackle the bigger-funded competition.
This season Stanic says the goal is to stay put, but this alone requires massive work just to keep up with the competitive Top Doorslammer eight ball.
"The car has not achieved its real potential, there is development left but you can say the same thing about every car," he said.
"We got in a rut last season where because we were doing so well we could not afford to change the set up. Now to just get a combo together that will click would be good."
Like every other team in Top Doorslammer, the 5sec. zone remains a target.
"Realistically we've all got the same stuff so anyone can do it," said Stanic.
"It's just a matter of finding that key."

27/9/2006 - Hort hots dragster up
Junior Dragster racer Ethan Hort is entering the 2006/2007 drag racing season at Quit Motorplex next season with a freshened race car to take on the field.
Hort says the motor is being swapped to a 350cc version of the single cylinder engines that Junior Dragsters run while the body is to be raised 100mm and getting a new paint scheme.
"I'm changing the car because I think it is time for a new look," he said.
"We'll hopefully be running high 8sec. or low 9sec. times and look good doing it."
Hort says with some more horsepower on board he is aiming for some consistent times to rack up a couple of wins during the season.

22/9/2006 - Upton finds challenge in championship
Jay Upton is champion in Top Bike, but for a man single minded in pursuit of fast motorcycles it is only small reward.
"It was not a particularly good (last) season," he said, ruling a line through what may be notched up as incredible achievements.
"We did not go as fast as we wanted and we didn't qualify at one event. It's competitive but still a two horse race with Brett Stevens, his winning tally in Top Bike was higher than any other Group One racer. Without the points spread around it's easier to have a bad result."
Despite a downcast view, Upton cites the Nitro Champs in Sydney as a high point to the season.
"We finally saw some direction on where we were going," he said.
"The rain killed the Winternationals where we were pretty hopeful following that."
Another thing killing the Sprintex supercharged, nitro fuelled motorcycle that Upton rides aboard was the tyre technology.
"We had trouble with the Goodyear tyres, it seems that if you are too much under powered or too over powered they do not survive, they have a very narrow band of usability," he said.
While the big rubber band on the back wheel was causing issues, Upton was getting a handle on the unique clutch in his missile that will propel him to 350kph in 6sec.
"We've been susceptible to sowing down when the track is good," said Upton.
"But we're learning how to match the clutch to the track and we're trying new Ace clutch plates which are helping."
Upton makes no secret of the fact he would like to go Top Fuel dragster racing one day, and as he spoke he was in fact just arriving in New York with a plan to look at some cars while there.

20/9/2006 - Successful sortie at Nationals
Western Australian racers enjoyed good success at the Australian Nationals held on the weekend at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway.
With sunny weather at least ensuring the Nationals was completed on its allocated date for the first time in three years, racers had to deal with humid and hot conditions.
It was the Top Bikes leading the charge for WA with Jay Upton taking yet another easy win from the field.
Upton couldn't get in a full pass in qualifying which saw him narrowly give up top qualifier's position with Brett Stevens's 6.49 taking the honours, a new best for the Jack Daniel's Harley.
Upton dealt with Alan Herriman and Dennis grant in the early rounds before facing fellow West Aussie Mark Drew in the final.
Drew also had troubles in qualifying but stormed to two upsets in a row with a 6.84sec. win against Troy McLean and a 6.83sec. against Stevens.
In the final an out of shape start from Drew meant he had to watch as Upton stormed to a 6.36sec., his best run all weekend.
Upton now carries an already significant lead into the next round of the championship to be held in Perth in December.
All eyes will also be on Perth for the next round of the Top Alcohol championship coming up in November after Damien Harris moved to second in the points following a runner up finish to Wayne Newby.
Harris qualified third before taking out the defending champion Ben Bray in round one with a 5.653sec. pass, the win taken by only three thousandths of a second at the finish line.
Harris backed up the first round with a 5.68sec. pass to defeat Steve Reed in the semi finals.
This left just the Newby dragster to defeat but unfortunately Harris found himself on the losing end of a "holeshot" with Newby's better reaction time to the starting lights seeing a 5.77sec. defeat a 5.71sec. at a fast closing 413km/h.
"It was fantastic to go a few rounds," said Harris.
"My focus wasn't on the Christmas tree (start lights) in the final and that's what killed me."
Harris will have at least a psychological advantage at the upcoming Perth round as one of the few racers to have raced his car on the Perth Motorplex.
"It will be a slight advantage but nothing overwhelming," he said.
Alan Gerritsen broke a long drought for WA Modified Bike riders by reaching the final of the Australian Nationals.
Gerritsen, who joined the Queensland-based Wolf Racing team earlier this year to chase national rounds, advanced through six rounds of racing to eventually come runner up to David Stevenson.
The good result boosted Gerritsen in the national series and he has put himself in a good position to take advantage of the double points on offer come the Westernationals at Perth Motorplex in March, 2007.
Harris said the result was a great culmination to a three week roadtrip which also included the season-opening East Coast Nationals in Sydney.
Assistance provided by Dave Wolf in launching the bike with more power proved valuable.
"It was a real experiment with more power and with more seat time it was getting easier," said Gerritsen.
The experience will also prove valuable for the local series at Perth Motorplex where Gerritsen hopes having two meetings under the belt will provide him with a kickstart to season 2006/2007.

17/9/2006 - Rant ahead
Well somewhat bleary eyed I am trying to come out of a state of drag racing unconsciousness. The new season has snuck up a little and before long you and I will be back out there.
It's funny how the real world comes back at you in the off-season, I'm sure many of you find the same. You concentrate on work, maybe abuse the ridiculous house prices and see a little of the family even. But before long that weird alternate universe of drag racing is coming back with a vengeance.
I don't know about you but I am going to try and enjoy this season, work hard, talk to lots of people and soak it all up. Last season that annoying real world kept calling me back and it's been annoying me all off season too.
Anyway that's probably enough waxing lyrical for now. Just remember to soak up your weekends at the Motorplex where you can be a hero for the day and part of something that means so much to so many people, even if the real world does come back to bite from time to time.

7/9/2006 - Déjà vu on east coast
There was a familiar feeling about the opening round of the Australian Drag Racing Series for several WA racers with glory on one side but extreme pain on the other.
Top Doorslammer saw John Zappia conduct a similar demolition of the category to his efforts last year to take out the win along with Jay Upton in Top Bike but it was demolition of a different kind for Grant O'Rourke who burned his car severely after the engine exploded.
O'Rourke had an horrific crash at the same event two years ago.
The supercharged 1968 Monaro was in good form until the incident, having reached the semi finals after defeating former champion Ben Bray in the first round with a 6.15sec. pass.
O'Rourke had minor burns but for the size of the fire it was a good result and testament to the full safety gear the racers run.
The loss of the O'Rourke race car took some of the gloss off the win by Zappia after a succession of 6.0sec. times.
Running with consistency rarely seen, Zappia went no slower than 6.08sec. time for the quarter mile (402m) track all weekend and bested with a top qualifying 6.00sec.
Zappia said the team knew they had a performance margin on the rest of the field.
"We could only beat ourselves," he said.
"We just had to stick to our game plan."
The only issue for Zappia was a burnt piston following his last qualifying pass however it was just another piece of déjà vu after a similar event last year.
"It was just the usual all night rebuild, again," remarked Zappia.
"I was making sure I was on the ball with my reaction times, I was trying to get sleep. But I am starting to like Sydney, we know we can do it again."
Echoing Zappia's stellar performance was fellow West Australian Jay Upton who reset the national record to 6.26sec. on his way to a win in Top Bike.
Upton was almost without competition in the field and a 6.65sec. run from Troy McLean was the closest challenge to his domination.
In other results from the event, Phil Read won Top Fuel and set a new national record of 4.61sec. along the way, defeating Terry Sainty in the final.
Debbie Reed took her first ever win in Top Alcohol while Shane Tucker and Dion Prowse won Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike respectively.

31/7/2006 - Kwinana to help in Melbourne push
After 6 years of no ANDRA Championship Drag Racing in Melbourne, ANDRA has appointed the Kwinana Motorplex management team, that were responsible for the Government funded venue in Perth, to pursue a new ANDRA Championship Drag Racing venue in Melbourne.
ANDRA has appointed Gary Miocevich as ANDRA Project Director for the venue planning, lobbying and construction. The Kwinana Motorplex Board members will fully fund the process in exchange for the operating rights for a period, after which ANDRA will be entitled to appoint any operator of its choosing.
This approach was endorsed by the ANDRA National Executive Committee (NEC) and is supported by Australia's three major Drag Racing venue General Managers/CEOs:
Steve Bettes - Willowbank Raceway,
Jim Read - Western Sydney International Dragway
and
Kevin Prendergast - Kwinana Motorplex
ANDRA CEO, Tony Thornton has ensured that should Government support this proposal, ANDRA will end up holding a permanent Championship Drag Racing venue in Melbourne.
Drag Racers in Victoria Association (DRiVA) president Helen Russo and ANDRA Victorian Divisional Director, David Baker have also been involved and are supportive of this approach. Their help and encouragement is important for the success of the Melbourne Drag Racing venue.

22/7/2006 - Ball a turbocharged champion
Modified is the category renowned as the place where some of drag racing's best sportsman racers can be found, dedicated to their craft and skilled in what they do.
The tried and true combination is generally a dragster with some form of V8 engine; while Jeremy Ball got the dragster bit right, the combination is certainly different.
Running a turbocharged 2.0 litre four cylinder SR20, a motor commonly found in Nissans, some may regard as sacrilege but Ball proved the validity of his course with a championship win this season.
Ball graduated from the Junior Dragster ranks about four years ago and has since proved himself a worthy competitor in the big leagues, coming second in the 2004/2005 championship.
Ball said the unusual choice of engine did not make it harder to win, but there was a lot of knowledge the team needed to build.
"Not many people have done this before so we needed to build the know how," he said.
"The compensation tuning has been the biggest thing to learn for consistency, we have to adjust the computer for changes in temperature."
Modified is a dial-your-own category, where racers nominate their own handicap but are not allowed to go under the time they nominate.
The Ball car works as a family operation with father Ian building and putting in the maintenance hours on the car as mother Sue "sorts out the bills" for the team.
For next season Ball's plans are to step the car into the low 8sec. range for the quarter mile, something he believes is well within the potential of the combination.
"It could run low sevens," he said.
"We'd change the cam and the head and do some more porting. Of course there's more boost as well."
Ball says the trend of young people stepping up from Junior Dragster to Modified is a good thing.
"It's quite cheap and you can go fairly fast because of the power to weight," he said.
One of Ball's favourite opponents is one of these young racers, Mark Mackay, who came second in the championship this year.
Ball says the championship was satisfying in that the car was made consistent and has enjoyed the individual nature of the green dragster.
"It stands out from the crowd," he said.
"A lot of guys from the street with their Silvias and 180SXs like to compare it with what they have, there is still a lot of stock bits on it."
Variety remains the spice of life, especially in Modified.

19/7/2006 - Zap has new name
Zappia Racing Release
John Zappia announced his Zappia Racing sponsors for the 2006/2007 Top Doorslammer Championship Season this week, with Naming Rights Sponsorship for the HQ Monaro secured by Striker Crushing.
Zappia Racing had a stellar 2005/2006 season - the first national round season for the new Top Doorslammer team from Spearwood.
The first legal five second pass in the world, setting the ANDRA National Record and World's fastest and quickest Tin Top records, stunned the world's drag racing community and was a highlight of achieving Championship Runner-up.
"Last season was a mixed bag for us in our first year on the road
attending all rounds. Perth is a long way from most of the meetings, and stretches our sportsman budget," said Zap. "We had some reliability issues, and we are thrilled that Striker Crushing has come on board with a significant Naming Rights sponsorship package to allow us to address some of those concerns.
"Our achievements last season were a direct result of Rentco's Naming Rights sponsorship, and we are pleased to announce they will be staying on as a Major Sponsor for next season. We plan on running all rounds of the championship, and all local rounds at our home track - the Kwinana Motorplex."
Striker Crushing came on as a Major Sponsor late last season, as the
company directors and staff were avid drag racing fans.
"We are thrilled to be in a position to upgrade our sponsorship this season with Zappia Racing," said Striker Crushing Managing Directors Chris Lane and Craig Pedley.
"Zap is a small local Perth identity taking on the big teams, and
we see parallels with our company.
"Our naming rights sponsorship with John Zappia should assist the team to continue to perform well and more consistently, with purchase of new engines and spare components. It also gives the team resources to travel to all rounds of the championship comfortably, and continue research and development to increase performance and stay ahead of the competition."
"We are ready for Round 1 of the 2006/2007 Top Doorslammer Championship on 1st - 2nd September 2006 at the AC Delco East Coast Nationals held at Western Sydney International Dragway, NSW,"said Zap this week, "This coming season should see some exciting and close racing, with the Brays turning their fortunes around late last season, Steve Stannic continuing his good form and consistency, Brett Stevens starting his new Ford Falcons well, Phillips always at the top, and many other teams like Lynch, Judd, Fabietti, Kapiris and O'Rourke who are real threats on any race day.
"We have our plans locked in for the season, all our parts secured and on their way, and we just can't wait to race. Top Doorslammer is at a very exciting stage of development here in Australia, with larger fields and more top level cars being built. Our sponsors have indicated to us that sponsorship in drag racing gives excellent value for money compared to V8 Supercars and other forms of motorsport, where huge team budgets often preclude involvement on a scale larger than a very small sticker on the car."
John also supports the new initiative by WSID to offer the "Pro Comp" bracket For Top Alcohol/Top Doorslammer Non-qualifiers at Group 1 events.
" Having high dollar cars sit in the pits after not qualifying in small eight car fields does not do the sport any favours and deprives sponsors of exposure and spectators of seeing better class fields throughout the event. We are entertainers as well as racers, and to have more opportunities to race in front of the crowd and sponsors is excellent and, if successful, will hopefully extend to other venues. Getting the indexes right between the classes will be the key, to ensure close competitive racing."

19/7/2006 - Beat the Heat
A new community safety initiative is about to be launched through drag racing with the Beat the Heat drag racing team being debuted at this weekend's Holden v Ford Show.
The Super Street team aims to encourage the young, or young at heart, who may be tempted into illegal street racing to compete in a safe and controlled environment such as Quit Motorplex.
Beat the Heat president Mike Pearson was behind the old Tango 1 police drag car and is running this new team with the same goals and ideals.
"Illegal street racing is not just a problem for the police but a problem that the community needs to be active in trying to reduce," he said.
Most of the Beat the Heat team are police officers but the team runs entirely on donation and is done while off duty.
The Beat the Heat program originated in the USA where there are now over 50 cars running, reaching thousands of people.
The West Australian version of Beat the Heat will be conducted in a 1997 VT HSV Manta sedan donated by Holden using a Chris Mills Performance 355cu. in. V8 for power.
"Police involvement with young people through the common interest of motor sport provides an exciting environment to bring about changes in attitudes and behaviour," said Pearson.
Several other drag racing teams will also be on display at the Holden v Ford Show including Top Doorslammer's John Zappia.

19/7/2006 - McSweeneys do driver swap
Brendan McSweeney will be returning to the driver's seat of his championship winning Ford Falcon next season.
Brother John did well behind the wheel in the season just gone, taking out the Top Comp and Driver of the Year titles but will hand over duties to Brendan, who in turn passes his crew chief responsibilities on to team member Jason John.
"We will still be running in Top Comp n the BB/Altered Production class," said Brendan.
"For the off season it is back to the workshop to assemble a little power house of an engine and be ready to run down the quarter mile to keep the title of Australia's fastest small block Ford."

11/7/2006 - Behrendt's back
Altereds are a favourite of the drag racing community and Neil Behrendt has a fine example of one, racing in the CC/Altered class of Top Comp at Quit Motorplex.
Behrendt returned this season with a new motor to put him right on record pace.
Superoo Falcon Spares imported a Dart block to replace his old Nascar version, which are getting rare now, with John McGrath of the championship-winning McSweeney team helping to put the combination together.
Behrendt says the 366cu. in., aluminium head-equipped motor proved good but the team is waiting on a data logger to be able to take full advantage.
"We had a problem where the supercharger was forcing too much air into the front two cylinders," he said.
"We've modified the manifold with a plate under the supercharger so hopefully it all works."
With a personal best time of 6.89sec. Behrendt has equalled the national record in his class, and he exceeded the speed record with a 310km/h blast.
The new motor should provide power enough to topple the record.
"Dramas have always put us behind," said Behrendt.
"This year our aim is to get some racing under our belt. It's been hard because we have self-funded in the past but we have Remote Area Concrete on now to give us a better chance.
"The McSweeneys and John McGrath have guided us well and we are bringing a new generation of pit crew through. We'll definitely be out there for the whole season, trying to beat the eighth spot in the championship we got this year."

28/6/2006 - Top season set for Kwinana
The scene has been set for the seventh season of drag racing at Quit Motorplex with the release of the season calendar and features list.
The most exciting change for many fans will be the addition of a round of the Australian Top Alcohol Series, a first for Western Australia.
While WA has quite a few Top Alcohol racers including Damien Harris, Mark Sheehan and Stuart Rowland, a round of the series has never been held here.
That will all change on November 18 in what will have to be a tightly scheduled affair with intense rounds of qualifying followed by sudden death eliminations.
Top Alcohol is a category made up of the nation's quickest alcohol-fuelled dragsters, funny cars and altereds with mid 5sec. runs the norm.
Ben Bray, who WA spectators are more familiar with as a Top Doorslammer driver, holds the quickest pass for the category at 5.52sec.
In fact many Doorslammer drivers have a Top Alcohol combination too, given the similarities in the engines between the categories.
Quit Motorplex acting drag racing manager Peter Pike says several racers have already confirmed their attendance.
"Current Top Alcohol champion Ben Bray is certain to compete in his Funny Car along with Brett Stevens in the Kitten Mustang," he said.
"Top Alcohol legend Gary Phillips will be bringing his Lucas Oils dragster to Perth for the round, he has often remarked he would love to get his dragster on to the quick Kwinana surface.
"Husband and wife team Steve and Debbie Reed have also indicated their intention to race."
While Top Alcohol will make up the second event of the season, things should get off to a big bang start with a Top Fuel match race scheduled for the Grand Opening.
Then in December Kwinana sees more national championship action with Top Doorslammer and Top Bike making their first appearance.
The Nitro Funny Cars will see their first track time on December 30 followed by USA Jet Dragsters two weeks later.
The biggest event spectator wise for the whole season, the Australian Top Fuel Championship, has been moved a week later to February 2-3 to avoid conflict with Australia Day.
The Westernationals will see eastern states racers converge on the Motorplex for season points on March 3-4 before Nitro Funny Cars and USA Jets round out the season.
A new Burnout Masters event will be a smoky way to get an early look at the track, the new concept getting the tyres spinning on October 14.
Two Sport Compact events and a Holden vs Ford will be added to the recipe, along with a sprinkling of six Fast Fridays for sportsman and entry-level eliminations racing.
The first competition drag racing will be seen on October 7 with a test and tune being held to blow off the dust from track and cars alike.

Calendar

October 7 - Test and Tune
October 14 - Burnout Masters
October 21 - Grand Opening feat. Top Fuuel Match Race
November 5 - Western Hi Tech Titles
November 18 - Australian Top Alcohol Championship Round 3
December 1/2 - Goldenstate Challenge feat. Australian Top Doorslammer Championship Round 3 and Australian Top Bike Champonship Round 3
December 9 - Holden v Ford
December 30 - Nitro Funny Cars
January 13 - USA Jets
January 20/21 - Motorvation
February 2/3 - Australian Top Fuel Championship Round 5
February 17 - Nostalgia Drags
March 3/4 - Westernationals feat. Australian Top Doorslammer Championship Round 5 and Australian Top Bike Champonship Round 5
March 24 - Nitro Funny Cars
April 6 - Burnout King
April 14 - USA Jets
May 9 - Hi Tech Titles

Fast Fridays - November 3, November 24, December 15, January 16, March 16, April 27

25/6/2006 - Dominating dragster strikes again
It is the state's most dominating race car, albeit slightly diminutive.
It's Matthew Johnson and his Mozzie Junior Dragster, and it just won its fifth WA title in a row.
Fortunately for other drivers, but unfortunately for Johnson, it will be his last Smarter than Smoking Junior Dragster title as he is now older than the 17 year age limit and will have to move on to bigger and better things.
Johnson said he got a good start to the championship this year but a mid-season lull made him re-assess his racing and what he was doing wrong.
"I decided I had to get down to business and improve on where I went wrong," he said.
"I wanted to leave Junior Dragsters on a high."
Johnson's title fight became clear within the last few events with Nicholas Wroe and the Pirahna Attack dragster his main opposition, in fact the two were tied for points going into the last event.
"I had no leeway or room for error and couldn't let Nicholas get one extra round on me,"he said.
"Nicholas went out in the third round and I went on though to the final to seal the title."
With a Junior career that was basically the best that could be hoped for Johnson must now move on to the challenges of the big leagues.
"I'm going to stay in Group Three racing, hopefully I will be racing a Modified dragster but on the other hand I wouldn't mind racing a sedan for a bit of a change," he said.
"If I can prepare a car in time I will be racing next season but if not I will take a season off to prepare a race car. I will crew for my sister in the Junior next season, watching from the other side will be a big change but I'm really looking forward to the experience."
So with five state titles, two Fast Friday championships, a Westernationals win and numerous other accomplishments to his credit, Johnson will leave the Juniors on a definite high and the world of drag racing will watch as he moves up the ranks.

21/6/2006 - Champion traits in Read family
JIm Read Racing Release
Second generation driver Phil Read has followed in his fathers footsteps by securing both a Winternationals crown and his first Australian Top Fuel Championship, after the staging of the season-closing Castrol Edge Winternationals up in Queensland.
Phil now can proudly carry the number '1' on his Auto One, Snap-on Tools, MTU Detroit Diesel machine after claiming the championship in motorsport's "fire and brimstone" class of racing!
"Phil was only a year old when I tasted success in this sport, so seeing him win the Championship obviously means an awful lot to me," exclaimed team principal and Drag Racing icon Jim Read on developments during the event at Willowbank Raceway.
With the continual threat of rain during the Winternationals, making that first Friday qualifying session count was paramount, as the word throughout the pits was that there was a distinct possibility of no further qualifying opportunities on Saturday due to forecast rain.
With Top Qualifier and ET bonus points up for grabs, championship contenders Read and Victorian Darren Morgan went aggressive in the tune up of the 7,000 horsepower rocketships.
Morgan aborted early in his run after looking very strong early, only to see Phil Read really serve notice. Despite coasting through the finish line, Read was able to scorch out a 4.89 second pass with a shut off just past half track after engine componentry failure began to tell during the pass.
The incrementals were truly world class too, with an impressive 3.12 time at over 270 miles per hour at half track!
As the forecasters had predicted, rain put paid to any racing opportunities on Saturday, which meant if the Jim Read Racing team could finish on equal terms on the weekend or obviously better than Morgan - the Australian Championship was theirs!
On Sunday race day - Read raced first-up against Roy Smith and the throttle linkage broke 2.8 seconds into the run. Despute this dose of bad luck, the incrementals were similar to the teams head-turning 4.65-second run in Sydney earlier in the season.
In unforeseen drama, Darren Morgan lost his first round match-up and that gave Phil Read his maiden Australian Championship win as a driver.
"We got the win against Roy and that meant we could really throw everything at it in the semi-final solo pass. Even though Darren is out now, we really want to produce some big numbers to finish strongly," replied Phil Read.
In the semi-final, Read ended up shutting the Auto One, Snap-on Tools 'black mamba' off early in the run to coast into the final.
"We got greedy for the solo...I will admit we went with a 4.50-second tune-up there. The Track was very good, it was just the atmospheric weather conditions are not ideal for Top Fuel."
Crew Chief Bruce Read was heard to contact Kalitta Racing setup-whizz Jim Oberhofer during the cool evening air for some feedback.
"When we told Jim O that our corrected altitude was below see level and we explained how cold the air temperature was, he expressed amazement and suggested we could advise them as they have never raced in such conditions before," smiled Bruce Read upon reflection of the discussion.
In fact Team Read were amazed throughout the Winternationals event, as to how closely Kalitta Racing was monitoring the teams progress and it filled Bruce and the entire group with pride.
"It was amazing to have Dave Grubnic and Jim Oberhofer phone us and congratulating us literally as we finished passes out there. They were proud of our efforts and that meant plenty to us as a team."
In the final against Luke Shepherd it was instant tyre smoke for the car as it broke the input shaft on the clutch, which sent it directly into a 1-to-1 situation (lock-up producing direct-drive only).
Trying to escort the fastest accelerating vehicle on the planet when the clutch is in full lock-up is an excruciatingly difficult exercise.
All appeared lost in the final as the Santos Cranes machine strode away over the early portion of the run, only for the car to eject a blower belt.
This opened up a new opportunity for victory for Phil Read...one he grabbed with both hands.
In an amazing peddling display (where he rode off and on the throttle more than eight times!) - Read was able to amble past Shepherd to round out a fairytale finish to the Australian season!
"It was a good weekend to win the meeting and championship, but frustrating that we weren't able to run on Saturday and chase some big numbers," remarked Phil on his performances.
The recent passing of marketing honcho and close team friend Ian Kleeman was an inspiration throughout and was obvious to all.
"Ian's name was on the car and I ended up slapping the sticker next to the cockpit area every time we won a round...it means a lot obviously considering recent events involving Ian."
Looking back at the season, Phil Read is able to pin point specific moments in the Championship that started to swing things their way.
"Obviously the new car has been a big factor in the turnaround. It has been to every final round of the Championship since it landed in Australia with 2 finals for Dave Grubnic and 4 for me.
Bruce Read and Rob Cavagnino have been key factors in what has been a championship winning year. They have worked well together with the mentoring of Jim as well and the results speak for themselves.
Kwinana was the event that defined the team this season and set us on course for the championship. We had a new car, new team and we gained so much momentum from there. With so many new factors in Perth, we enjoyed an event with no teething problems with car or crew and it was the perfect outcome for us to really make a run for the Championship.
"What really excites me is we will hit the ground hard in September for the new season at the ACDelco East Coast Nationals and look to really build on our success in Top Fuel this season."

21/6/2006 - Stevens stunning at Winternationals
Brett Stevens Racing Release
A near capacity crowd packed into Willowbank Raceway today (Sunday 11th June) for the Finals of the largest Drag Racing event outside North America, the Winternationals, and also witness the finale of the 2005/2006 Australian Drag Racing Championship.
Fans were not disappointed either when crowd favourite Brett ‘The Boss’ Stevens took out two of the three professional racing brackets he competed in.
Stevens, the man to beat all weekend in Top Bike after Top Qualifying his Jack Daniel’s Racing Nitro Harley, powered down the quarter mile to victory in an Australian Harley Davidson Record time of 6.50 seconds at 214 mph (344 kph) and also secured an agonisingly close runner-up position in the Australian Top Bike Championship.
With no time to celebrate the win, he was then strapped into his Kitten Car Care Products Funny Car for the Top Alcohol Final where he managed to take his second win of the night out. In the process he also secured the runner-up position in the Australian Championship for the Top Alcohol Bracket.
“A Winternationals Christmas Tree (winner’s trophy) is something that all Drag Racers want on their mantle piece but only a select few ever get, so to win two in one night is just amazing,” Stevens said.
“It was an extremely hectic weekend as well with the debut of my three brand new Falcon Top Doorslammers on top of the Top Bikes and Funny Car.”
“I can’t praise my crew enough for their efforts in preparing for this event, we have been working around the clock to have everything ready and two Winternationals wins and two Australian Championship runner-up’s are a great reward for team.”
“It has been an incredible end to the year and as much as I need a good break, I can’t wait to get all the vehicles back on track for the new season when it starts in September.”
In Top Doorslammer a record 20 cars entered to try to make the 8 Elimination spots available, and with all of the Saturday qualifying being abandoned due to persistent rain, the field was set on the single Friday qualifying run.
Stevens was able to put his brand new Jack Daniel’s Racing Falcon in the field but was eliminated in his quater finals match up placing him 5th in the Australian Championship.
Unfortunately Kath Stevens in the teams second Jack Daniel’s Racing Falcon Top Doorslammer and Steve Packman in the Glenfords Racing Falcon Top Doorslammer were unable to make the final 8 on their one qualifying run.
“I was pretty disappointed at not being able to get another shot at making the field on Saturday but there is nothing I can do about the weather,” Packman said.
“Overall it was an extremely successful weekend for the team though and we can go back to workshop happy.”
“The new Falcons are making a lot more power than Brett’s old car and with a few more laps we will have them dialled in and will be a real force in the Top Doorslammer bracket.”
In the process of making the Top Bike Final, Stevens also made his 50th Group One Australian Championship Drag Racing Finals appearance.
These have spanned across the Top Bike, Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer bracket over a 15 year Drag Racing career to date.
Adding to the team’s success was Troy McLean securing third position in the Australian Top Bike Championship on the second Jack Daniel’s Racing Nitro Harley.

21/6/2006 - Brays bag Winternationals success
Team Bray Release
The king is back! Six times Top Doorslammer champion blew away the doubters and the cream of Doorslammer competition last Sunday to win the prestigious season-ending Castrol Edge Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, in Queensland.
Team Bray has dominated the Winternationals this century and last Sunday's win was Victor's fourth 'Winters' crown, with son Ben Bray winning in 2003 in an all-Bray final.
After uncharacteristically failing to qualify for his last two events - only the second and third times in his long career - Victor had his back against the wall but it was only a matter of time before the wily champion got to grips with a tricky new lock-up clutch system that had been the major cause of the recent DNQs.
Victor backed up an encouraging pre-event test by top qualifying on Friday night with a 6.095sec @ 239.23mph (384.99kmh), and it was to be crucial run, as the second and third rounds of qualifying, to be held the following day, were rained out and a number of big names failed to qualify.
In his first elimination race Victor knocked out Brett Stevens with an identical 'six-oh', a 6.095sec @ 238.73mph (384.19kmh.
"After to seeing a 6.09 in the first round, it was great to lay another one down and know that we had a combination that we could count on," Victor smiled. "The run was so smooth I could tell it was fast and the car really behaved itself, which it hasn't been doing lately. But I never underestimate Brett; he might have been in a new car but he's always dangerous."
The win set up a semi-final against Robin Judd, and again Victor's legendary '57 Chev left like a rocket and ran ramrod straight down the strip to record a 6.030sec (low ET for the round) @ 241.55mph (388.73kmh) and advance to his first final since the Winternationals last year.
"We had a goal to win the Winters again and it was nice to actually make a final at the most important race of the year. We've spent a year trying to get these lock-up clutches firing and now it looks like we have," Victor said.
The final was run in near perfect conditions. It was a chilly night, with the 'air' (barometric pressure) almost at sea level, although the low ambient temperature meant the track had lost much of the heat burned into it during a sunny day.
Victor was up against Maurice Fabietti, who was contesting his first Top Doorslammer final. Fabietti had upset some big names, including Ben in round two, to get to the final but the smart money was on the driver in the Castrol Edge Chevy.
Victor's tune-up was spot on and the Chev again left hard and recorded a 6.059sec @ 237.72mph (382.57kmh) to down Fabietti (6.221/228.43/367.62). "Maurice is a long time campaigner and he has been running really well, so we weren't taking him lightly," Victor said, "but the track had cooled off to 15C, which isn't conducive to fast times, so we decided to be conservative with the tune-up, even though there was a temptation to go for a 'five'.
The huge Winternationals crowd was ecstatic that their hometown hero had done it again, and Victor's trusty Chev was the only car to run 'six-ohs' all weekend, showing that he is back doing what he is famous for, running consistently quick and fast. The champ says he can't wait for the 2006/2007 season to start.
"It's good for the family and the team and my friends and sponsors and we think we've got something strong to start the next season with," Victor said.
Team Bray is very close to getting Ben Bray's groundbreaking Monaro CV8Z to a Doorslammer final. Ben qualified sixth with a 6.307sec @ 233.88mph (376.38kmh) to make the eight-car field after also failing to qualify for his last event.
In the first round of eliminations, Ben took out danger man Gary Phillips with a 6.6.252sec @ 232.32mph (373.88kmh) to record the Monaro's first race win, but the car still wasn't in the quarter mile sweet spot with Ben fighting tyre shake and he lost to Fabietti in round two.
"I thought we were going to have a good meeting after we won the first round," Ben said. "The first round is always the nervous round, and we felt a lot easier after that. We're not really sure what happened in the second round; the car shook and I pedalled it, but it never really got going again and I had to sit there and watch Maurice drive away. But dad got revenge in the final!
"It's going be a slow road to get the Monaro as consistent as dad's Chev, which is a really tried and true package; we're still learning the new chassis and the lock-up clutch and how to set it up so it's driveable. But we'll be there next season."
He had a consolation prize, though, wrapping up the Top Alcohol bracket in his Mack Trucks/Castrol Firebird Funny Car and setting a new ET record of 5.52 seconds. It was the third quickest Funny Car pass in world Top Alcohol history. It was only Ben's first full season of Top Alcohol after finishing second in the 2004/2005 season, despite only joining the category half way through that season.
"It means a lot to the team to finish the season on a high and to steal what would have been Gary's thirteenth championship, because he is without a doubt Mr Top Alcohol," Ben said. "Gary and his team were the first to congratulate me, which shows what a class act he is, considering he's won the last 11 titles.
"The Funny has been an amazing car since the day we rolled it out of the container. We used it as a bench for 12 months before we found time to put it together! It would have been good to win the final but we got greedy chasing a 5.40sec, which would have been the world's first 5.40 in an Alcohol Funny Car. As it is, it was the third quickest pass ever, so we we're rapt."

21/6/2006 - Shepherd denied Winters final
Gulf Western Racing Release
Veteran Gulf Western Oil supported Top Fuel racer Bob ‘The Quarter Mile Smile’ Shepherd came only metres shy of claiming a finals berth during last weekends (June 10 – 11) Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland after bowing out to his nephew Luke Shepherd in the second round of eliminations.
The most painful aspect of missing out on a finals berth for Shepherd was the fact that he fell short by only a matter of metres to his nephew, who coasted across the finish line.
fter getting off the line strongly, Shepherd’s engine detonated (due to a loose wire that managed to turn the engine off and then back on – and that did the damage) which saw the car head towards the outer wall, but luck saw him avoid contact.
“It was a close call there and I don’t know how I managed to avoid contact with the wall, but one thing is for sure, I’m thanking my lucky stars,” reflected Shepherd when explaining his scary moment.
“When it corrected itself I pulled out the parachutes to stabilise everything and coasted towards the finish line, only to have Luke (Shepherd) who had also suffered engine failure coast past me and take the win.
“In hindsight I should have kept my foot on it (the throttle) and I would have taken the win. Seeing Luke coast by and take the win was certainly frustrating.”
Being so close to a finals birth was something that Shepherd was obviously disappointed with and it was made even harder seeing # 1 qualifier, Phillip Read, record a 10 second pass in the final after he suffered dramas.
“Yeah, that was pretty tough seeing that, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles in this sport,” Shepherd said.
“It has been an expensive weekend for our team and now we are focusing on next season with building up our new car.”
The rain affected Winternationals, which saw Saturday’s events washed out, Shepherd was unable to post a qualifying time due normally only qualifying on the Saturday. Shepherd took on Darren Morgan in the opening round.
In this event Shepherd took out the win after recording a 5.265 second pass at 287.07 miles per hour which ended Morgan’s hopes of taking the Australian Championship. As he crossed the finish line, Shepherd lunched what would be his first of two engines for the weekend.
“In all seriousness I felt bad beating Darren (Morgan) in the opening round, as I ended his chances of claiming the Australian Championship,” Shepherd admitted.
“At the end of the day I won and went through to the second round, and I was very pleased with that I just wished it wasn’t at the expense of Darren.”
Gulf Western Oil Top Fuel teammate, Terry Sainty, didn’t have the best of meetings and only posted two runs over the course of the weekend. Sainty’s weekend ended in the opening round of eliminations at the hands of Luke Shepherd after he suffered some violent tyre shake.
“I managed to get off the line strongly in the opening round only to suffer tyre shake that actually caused a lot of damage to the car,” Sainty explained.
“The force of the shake saw a number of components dislodge from the engine and it also cracked the engine mounts.”
On the upside, Sainty said that he was happy with the performance of the engine; something that has been a constant issue all season with the only fully Australian built Top Fuel Dragster.
“From the negatives of tyre shake and the weather interruptions, the engine performed strongly so that’s a real positive as we’ve struggled in that area for most of the season,” said Sainty.
“We didn’t get enough runs in the weekend to develop our adjustments, which is disappointing, but in saying that it was the same for everyone.”
Sainty and Shepherd finished fourth and fifth in the final Australian Top Fuel Championship point standings.

14/6/2006 - WA at the Winters
Well I think everyone has just about recovered from the post-Winters hangover and what an interesting event it was.
Friday was a pretty normal sort of day though packed tightly with rain breaks, oil downs and the occasional incident not helping. With rain forecast for the next day racers were pulling out all stops.
Saturday saw the heavens open and bad weather for the majority of the day with no vehicles going down track. On the plus side Supercharged Outlaws racer Russell Mackay had pole dancers in his pit area.
Sunday's racing was full to the brim, from 9am in the morning to 12.30am on Monday morning!
Alright here is a rundown of WA results.
In Top Alcohol Damien Harris qualifed into the field with a 6.08 by only a few thousandths over Dean McClennan. He faced champion Ben Bray in the first round and unfortunately his 5.70 PB could not compete with a record 5.56 from Benny.
In the Top Doorslammers John Zappia had a slight chance of taking out the championship but that was all gone when he failed to qualify in the single session available after a shakey 6.86. Grant O'Rourke was in a similar position following a 6.47. Robin Judd made it into the field with a 6.22 and then got past Steve Stanic with a 6.40 in round one after Stanic got out of shape and crossed the centreline. Judd's loss was a bit unfortunate however in the semis after he accidentally hit the kill switch in the burnout.
Top Bike saw Jay Upton claim the championship by qualifying into the field, even if it was with an eight second pass! Mark Ashelford fared better with a 7.25 while Km Stevens was the best of the lot following a PB 6.62/210. In round one Upton faced New Zealander Athol Williams who Upton has been helping come to terms with his nitro Suzuki combination. It was the apprentice defeating the master in this case with a 6.75 losing to a 6.77 with a holeshot from Williams. Stevens was also out of luck with a transmission breakage on the start line. Mark Ashelford put in a valiant 7.20 but was unable to defeat Troy McClean's awesome 6.52.
Ian Johns was WA's lone competitor in Competition but after shaking on his only qualifier he qualified out of the field and missed eliminations, a heart breaking blow.
In Comp Bike Neil Anderson qualified well and made the final where if he won he would also win the championship. Unfortunately he lost by just .014 of a second but it was a great achievement by Anderson to reach the final.
All three WA Mod Bike competitors in Roger Harris, Darrin McDonald and Roger Harris went out in round one but things were a bit better in Super Street where Matt Treloar went to the semi finals and Neil Scott took a runner up.
The juniors were mixed bag of results by Nicholas Wroe had the biggest achievement, winning the national championship.
We'll have some pictures up soon.

23/5/2006 - Reaney's miracle return
Doctors gave the 'speedway rider' whose 'bike disintegrated' just a 10% chance of waking up - but in the sport of drag racing a miraculous and inspirational story was about to emerge.
Mark Reaney, in fact a dragster driver but assumed to be a speedway rider because of the extent of his injuries, is now a man on the road to recovery, a slow one, but progressive.
It was in December last year when Reaney crashed his Modified dragster in the braking area of Quit Motorplex at around 230kmh, and in a sport where safety is paramount and injuries from crashes are rare it shocked the community to learn the tough road ahead he would face.
Reaney is now a man who walks and talks far better than was ever expected. He has an obvious limp, from a foot that still has no feeling, and his voice is still affected as a result of the pipes put into him during the first weeks of his recovery.
"I feel drunk," Reaney succinctly puts it.
"My balance is out, me memory is still fuzzy, I sometimes have to ask if I really did something the previous night. And ever since I have got out of hospital I have needed to try and remember a lot more information."
Reaney now spends three days a week at Shenton Park for rehabilitation but is fortunately able to spend the rest at home with his family. Still needing work is his broken arm, some cracked vertebrae and his left eye which is difficult to see out of in the dark, but compared to what he was facing just months ago, it is a true miracle where he is at - the fact he is able to talk in an interview is incredible.
"The hardest thing was waking up and trying to work out what happened, why I was in hospital what had happened," he said.
"Nobody really told me anything but anything they told me I just forgot anyway. I couldn't remember if I had crashed my street car or my drag car at first.
"I was going through various states of confusion and there was two months of amnesia. I didn't know if I would wake up again when I went to sleep."
Reaney's first memory waking up from his induced coma was when drag racing legends Victor and Ben Bray came to see him at his bedside.
"I couldn't believe they came, legends of the sport coming to see a no one," he said.
"He wouldn't stop talking about it for weeks," chimes in Mark's wife Jo.
Jo Reaney has been a steadfast support for Mark in his recovery, something Mark emotionally talks about.
"She is the biggest person in my life, she means more to me than everything and I would not be here if not for her," says Mark.
"I wish everyone could marry someone like her, I feel spoiled by her. After everything she is still around, I don't deserve it."
"You're just lucky I love you," says Jo.
Reaney says he felt belittled by the fund raising effort following his accident, which to date has raised over $60,000 for the family to be able to carry on life.
"I couldn't believe the generosity," he said.
"Liz Johns, Liz Gardiner, Steve McGrath - if it wasn't for them we were going to be in the poo," he said.
"I'm nothing special, I just race another dirty old drag car, I feel honoured."
Reaney says he does not feel resentment towards the sport for the accident and would love to get back involved, albeit in a different role from driving.
"I love the sport dearly, when I got back to Kwinana for the first time I just had to watch every run," he said.
"I just thank god I was drag racing and not road racing like I used to. But I could never race again, I'm not sure if I would have the guts to. I've put Jo and the kids through too much.
"Oh, and the dragster's trashed."
If his progress so far is any indication it won't be long before Reaney becomes a regular fixture at the track again.

12/5/2006 - McSweeney's Top Comp magic
I'm in a unique position to be able to write about the Top Comp championship winning team McSweeney Falcon, a supercharged beast of a thing, it's one of the few race cars I have actually been inside of.
And not just inside, inside while this thing is alive and moving and next to a man who would have my life in his hands.
The ride came from an auction and it was a worthy prize because to be able to describe what the experience is like is almost impossible.
The McSweeney Falcon is a reasonably quick car on drag racing scales, it will do the quarter mile in 6.5sec. and reach about 350kmh. It's deadly consistent too, a factor that helped driver John McSweeney take out the championship this year.
"It was a great team effort to win, the car is so much easier to drive because they do so much," said McSweeney.
It's an intimidating thing, indeed it looks easy from the outside but there is a lot to be looking after.
I was given the chance to sit inside the car as it was warmed up, pushing all the right buttons stepping on the right pedals. A helmet with fresh air supply looks after your breathing in the methanol fume-filled environment, as you toggle a clutch pedal that basically amounts to 'clutch on-clutch off' and hit air-forced gear shifter buttons on a rail in the middle of the car.
It is confusing enough while the car is stationary in the pits, let alone when it is active and rolling.
The car is actually quieter inside than out between the eight exhaust headers, but you are aware of how much of a race car it is, the Falcon body only loosely fits the web of rollcage and componentry.
But let's get to the action - the run! There is no way to describe how instantly fast the car is moving, your brain is just left behind without the ability to catch up. All of the scenery ahead of you comes towards the car so much quicker than you would expect and before you know it the engine has been shut off and it is all over. You have to then try and remember everything that happened, it only slowly comes back over the course of a few days on what actually happened during the run.
John McSweeney has had to adapt to all this behind the steering wheel and in a few years has gone from rookie to Driver of the Year.
He emphasises that a good pit crew behind him has allowed him to perform as he does, with brother Brendan, who owns the car with wife Elizabeth, being a driving force behind the team.
McSweeney says along with winning the championship, a highlight for the team was the final race of the season where McSweeney raced Stuart Rowland's Funny Car and defeated him for the first time with a track record speed.
"I take my hat off to all of the drivers in Top Comp," he said.
"The opportunity to drive Brendan and Elizabeth's car has been really special and we proved this year that consistency and being at every meeting is what counts, the system works."
For next season, a bit of a question mark remains over the McSweeney racing operation. A big effort this season has taken a mental toll.
"Brendan is pretty burnt out, he does 80% of the work on the car," said John.
"The car needs a bigger engine to step it up into the 6.30sec. area we want to be in. We may sit out, we may be back, Top Comp is tough, but we have lots of options."

9/5/2006 - Priolo gets supercharged
Pino Priolo has brought a new car for competition in Supercharged Outlaws.
Priolo, already one of the busiest motorsport competitors in WA with his Yale speedway and drag racing operations including circle track sprint cars and a straight line Super Sedan.
"We've been running for a couple of years in Super Sedan so we thought it was time to step up to Supercharged Outlaws," he said.
Priolo has bought a VS Commodore Doorslammer from Andrew Sutton and recently went to Tasmania with his crew to learn a bit about the car.
"We flew over to crew with them and learn how to set up the clutch and use the data logger, just how to run the car," he said.
"It has a 540cu. in. Keith Black and a Lenco so it is pretty much Doorslammer spec. On a soft tune up it will run 6.80sec. and could touch 6.40s if we were to lean on it but we just want it to run consistent in Outlaws.
"Supercharged Outlaws is a good class to watch, it's spectacular, there's a lot of noise.
"We'll still be running sprint cars but Yale have seen the potential in drag racing and it is our job to promote the company on both sides of the Quit Motorplex.
"What Castrol is to victor Bray, Yale is to Pino Priolo."
Priolo began licensing the car at the last event at Kwinana.

9/5/2006 - Hero Hudson's winning ways
Clive Hudson is one of Western Australia's most exuberant drag racing personalities.
His burnouts, known to reach the finish line by the time the car stops rolling, and his low 7sec. runs in the big, supercharged V8, C-10 Chev Truck, have helped to carry on his status.
Racing in Supercharged Outlaws, a class he campaigned to start at Quit Motorplex, Hudson won his first event in 17 years this season along with a host of top qualifiers' awards and a few runner-ups.
Hudson says both burnouts and success are great parts of racing.
"They tell me to tone down the burnouts but I just say no way," he said.
"But results are just as important as the show and this has been our best season for a long time.
"I live and breathe racing, every spare dollar goes into the car. It's a part of the family."
The Hudson family is well known in drag racing with many members having raced.
There's Clive, his brothers Alan and Roy, nephew Tim, Tim's partner Sarah Dapson and of course Clive's daughter Kristie who emulates her dad's famous burnouts in her Super Street Torana,
And then there is the most important member of the family - the truck.
"I could never change from the truck," said Hudson.
"All I could do to it would be to make a chrome moly chassis and a carbon fibre body, the truck has a real following. I'd like to make it low and swoopy though, a bit like Victor Bray's Chev.
"I can't see myself stopping driving. I tried to retire about five years ago, but then I said we'd come back for just one meeting and I was hooked again, the bug got me."
For Hudson a certain pride also comes in seeing the Supercharged Outlaws division grow.
"It's really fantastic, there was a close pointscore this year, even though I wasn't in it, and it si really competitive but still so friendly," he said.
"It's really fair racing and bloody good fun when everyone has a chance to win."
Next season will see Hudson give the engine a new, if still burnout-tortured, life and aim to return to his best times.
"We've just pulled the heads off and found two melted pistons, which we still ran 7.21sec. with," he said.
"It's going to get a freshen up, we will upgrade everything."
Hudson says the maintenance program has been behind the consistency of his truck in Outlaws this year.
"We don't take chances with the tune up, but we're not afraid to have a go," he said.
"When we upped the overdrive and pumped more air in we melted the pistons, but it's my brother Alan's know-how that helps it go well."

+ Well it's been a while between updates. A few changes going on a possible site redesign in the offing to make it easier to update. I'll try to be more active anyway :)

14/4/2006 - JaziNET on board
You may have noticed wadragracing.com has been a bit slow on the updates over the last few weeks but we have a good excuse!
JaziNET, who sponsor several brackets at the Fast Fridays, and are supporters of West Australian drag racing in general, have come on board as our new host.
They have plans that basically suit anyone no matter what level you are at and have great personal service - I can tell you it's great cause I used it a lot during the changeover!
JaziNET is owned by Gary Mahnkoph, keen Fast Friday and future Super Street racer, who is the brother of Alan Mahnkoph, famous for his Force Fed Supercharged Outlaws ute.
Check out the website at www.jazi.net for some more information.

The End :)
 
 
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