Reigning national Top Fuel champion Darren Morgan began his series defence in the best way possible on Saturday night, taking out the opening round of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series at Adelaide International Raceway.
Morgan defeated Phil Lamattina in a repeat of the final from the last event at Adelaide in April. Despite close ET figures with Morgan's 4.47 and Lamattina's 4.45, the race was decided when Lamattina jumped the start, resulting in a red light glaring in front of the capacity crowd.
Morgan turned in consistent performances to take the team to the winner's circle.
"We used a lot of (hand) brake and (crew chief) Ben Patterson did a lot to make it work," Morgan said. "We got down the track all three times which was pretty cool."
Morgan was lucky to take a win in the elimination round when opponent Steve Read got a big jump on the startline, but he was able to chase Read down.
Lamattina, with his spectacular new Fuchs livery, was not to go home completely empty handed with a top qualifying effort of 4.33 setting a new track record for the 1000 feet distance used at Adelaide International Raceway. Lamattina put in a massive effort ahead of the event, launching a second car in just a week, however some mechanical gremlins held the Luke Shepherd-driven ride from its full potential.
The event was a rollercoaster of emotion for teams and organisers with vandalism to the track surface on Thursday delaying the start of racing.
ANDRA wishes to thank event organisers Racing Onn Promotions and Rino D'Alfonso plus the many volunteers who turned in two all-night repairs on the surface and made the event safe for teams with plenty of traction available. The results was some very quick runs in front of a large and vocal crowd.
Pro Stock ran as exhibition only with teams deciding early in the day to play it safe with the unknown surface. During exhibition runs Shane Tucker recorded the quickest run, setting a new track record of 7.13 seconds in his Monster Energy Pontiac, also enjoying his first run alongside sister Kirsten who this week unveiled her Milwaukee Tools Holden Monaro.
The ANDRA Drag Racing Series now heads to Sydney Dragway for the Australian Nationals from November 2-4.