Australian Nationals crowns winners on final day
Sixteen new Australian Nationals winners were handed their ANDRA gold Christmas tree trophies at Sydney Dragway today as near perfect conditions produced records and tight racing in spades.
Reigning Australian Top Fuel champion Darren Morgan took his second win in a row, backing up his victory in Adelaide two weeks ago. Renewed consistency saw Morgan able to drive to a 4.78 win in the final, also recording top speed of the event at 513kmh, defeating Phil Lamattina’s valiant 5.00 in the second finals confrontation in a row for the pair.
A subdued Morgan said some mechanical changes had made the impact they were looking for.
“Last year tested the hell out of us consistency wise so we changed some things in it,” he said. “It’s all worked and we’re starting to get happy with it.
“The difference between qualifying yesterday when it was cold and racing today when it was hot was a challenge.”
In Top Doorslammer it was like a win read straight from a script as Peter Kapiris came back from a clutch explosion in qualifying to win the event.
Kapiris was sent to hospital for checks following the incident but returned to the track hours later to assist his team in the rebuild and produce a car that would go on to win over Gary Phillips, 5.98 to a 6.01.
Kapiris was still bearing the burns on his face from the firey explosion, which filled the cabin of his Top Doorslammer with smoke and flames, and had also been treated for carbon dioxide inhalation.
“The whole team has only had about an hour sleep, normally they would be jumping up and down but this time they were just glad it was over,” he said.
“I’m over the moon, I would have been happy just to make it to the first round. When you work that hard for a win, it means more.”
The win allowed Kapiris to build up a significant advantage over John Zappia, likely to be his chief rival throughout the season.
Pro Stock featured a major upset in the final as Wayne Daley took out a red-lighting (foul start) Jason Grima .
Grima’s PC Group Ford Mustang had been on record pace all day but when he jumped the start it was Daley’s Diamond T Mopar crew who were jumping for joy, a 7.12 the winner from Grima’s much quicker 7.02.
The win also earned the Daley team the Greg Flaherty Memorial Trophy, in honour of one of the original heavy hitters in the class.
Grima went home far from empty handed however, setting the quickest time and fastest speed ever for Pro Stock at 6.98 and 315kmh.
Steve Reed followed up his Fuchs Winternationals win with victory in Top Alcohol over Jon Sting, 5.66 to a 5.79.
Chris Matheson continued his dominant streak in Top Bike with a 6.23 to 6.83 win against Chris Porter, while Luke Crowley was another to follow up Fuchs Winternationals success with a 7.33 to a 7.48 from reigning champ Lachlan Ireland.
Winners in the inaugural running of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship included Greg Clayton (Competition), Jason Simpson (Super Stock), Joe Signorelli (Super Compact), Corey Scholes (Competition Bike), Michael Watkins (Supercharged Outlaws), Craig Baker (Modified), Neil Constantinou (Super Sedan), Gavin Dohnt (Modified Bike), Carl Taylor (Super Street), David Roberts (Junior Dragster) and Roy Romeo (Super Gas).
The ANDRA Drag Racing Series continues in just two weeks at Perth Motorplex with the second championship rounds for Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol.
Images courtesy Fred Dwyer.