Rod Bailey's Chemical Warfare Nitro Funny Car has made its first passes in the USA in the lead up to competing in the NHRA at Las Vegas this weekend.
It has been an epic effort for the team just to get this far, with the car lost in customs at one stage. But finally driver Anthony Begley got to hit the loud pedal as the team went to Bakersfield to complete a licence pass and satisfy the NHRA.
Via the team's Facebook page, Bailey said there had been plenty of people helping along the way to make his dream happen.
"The crew have not had much sleep and there will be a fair bit more of that l sense," he said. "Our first pass left well with a .89 60ft time and was going well until about 150 feet where we had mystery fuel system issues that resulted in making the motor weak and shaking the tyres. A fair bit of damage with a lean situation we wouldn't have expected from a 105 gallon per minute pump.
"The next pass got away clean but was just a bit lazy. By the 800 feet mark l could tell we could expect trouble with the motor labouring with continued fuel system issues. So broken rods and limped over the 1000 feet marker for a 4.5 second lap. The licence was signed off and it's off to Vegas with a lot fewer parts than we had yesterday.
"We had some extra help from the Monserrats and Don who has provided his Peterbilt. A lot of extra special mentions to Chuck Beal who has loaned us his trailer and the staff and officials at Bakersfield. Paul Shackleton, who put me in contact which a lot of these people and has been a big help along the way. Al Montana for the effort he has put in to help with our difficult issues with customs and storing the container for us. A top guy who l have dealt with for 10 years and finally got to meet.
"Lastly but surely the most appreciation must go to my wife Jillene who couldn't even make it here but has been the difference in making this possible or not."
Bailey and Begley are part of a massive Aussie contingent racing in Vegas this weekend including NHRA regulars Richie Crampton (Top Fuel); Dave Grubnic (tuning Clay Millican’s Part Plus Top Fuel Dragster); Shane Tucker (Pro Stock); the duel Australia-Sweden connection of Harker Motorsport and Lindberg Bros Racing (Top Alcohol Funny Car); and Mathew Leonard (Competition Eliminator).
Rapisarda Autosport (Top Fuel) are no strangers to the NHRA and will compete in their sixth straight event on US soil this season. Wayne Newby also returns to the cockpit and will look to build on the solid performances of Larry Dixon in the seat during Newby’s absence.
Fuel Funny Car sees three Aussie owned teams on the entry list with the Russo Racing Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend back in action alongside the Schwab Funny Car piloted by Phil Burkhart Jr. And of course you can add Bailey in a bloated 24 car field.
And finally two-time Super Gas Champion and current Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Modified Champion Matt Forbes will also take up the challenge for the second year in a row in Super Gas. Forbes is teaming up with his friends Buddy and Karen Wood to race a Corvette Roadster for Sunset Performance Engines.
- Image courtesy Kristie Allan.