When the 10,000 horsepower Chemical Warfare Nitro Funny Car returns to Perth Motorplex for the Nitro Slam on Saturday January 20, it will do so armed for bear.
The last time Anthony Begley was in the seat of the 500kph-capable Funny Car he was in Pomona, California, where the team competed at the NHRA World Finals, while the last time it was at Perth Motorplex was during the 2015/16 season.
In Pomona, the team reached a turning point with their tune up, finding out what it took to make the nitro-fuelled, eight litre Hemi tick and leaving Begley with plenty of confidence.
While it has been over 12 months out of the seat of Chemical Warfare for Begley, he has been staying busy driving the LA Hooker Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car for Graeme Cowin, as well as developing daughter Emma’s Groove’n Funny Car.
“Things happen a lot quicker in Chemical Warfare (than LA Hooker),” he said. “The car launches a lot faster out of the hole and you really need to concentrate harder at keeping it in the groove in the middle of the drag strip where the traction is highest.
“You really have to be mentally on to it. The thing will carry the front wheels for the first part of the race track so when it comes down you have to be ready to steer it and keep it off walls or out of the other lane.”
Begley will be taking on the ‘Nitro Madman’ Mark Sheehan, who has also spent about a year out of the seat of his Ford Mustang Funny Car. With the reputation of both teams at stake, Begley wants to see a new barrier broken – but it would require strong performances from both drivers.
“To be honest what I really want to see happen is the first side by side 4sec. run from Funny Cars in Australia,” he said.
“That is something both teams are striving for and both cars are well capable of it. Maybe the tuners should focus on getting the cars from A to B and not getting too aggressive, as I know they like to. Do that and these cars will run in the fours.”
Chemical Warfare is owned by Queensland’s Rod Bailey, a regular visitor to Perth Motorplex over its 18 year history. When he got to live out his dreams of racing in the USA last year he learned much that he will be able to put into his efforts at Nitro Slam this weekend.
“In Pomona the car ran 4.14sec. over the 1000 feet race distance, which translates to a 4.8sec. run over the full quarter mile,” Begley said.
“The car was all brand new then and we got a handle on what we needed to do.
“Since then we have added the laid back exhaust headers that direct the nitro flames towards the rear of the car more than up and we have been told these can be worth as much as five hundredths of a second, which is a lot of time in drag racing.
“We’re really looking forward to putting on a ground shaking show for Western Australian drag racing fans at the Nitro Slam.”
The event also includes the fifth round of the WA Drag Racing Championship with racing action from the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam for Top Doorslammers, Nitro Bikes, Top Comp, Comp Bike, Supercharged Outlaws, Top Sportsman, Modified, Super Sedan, Modified Bike and Super Street.
Qualifying begins from 12pm with the feature program from 5.30pm.