The ‘Nitro Madman’ Mark Sheehan believes Queensland’s ‘Chemical Warfare’ team have the upper hand ahead of the Nitro Slam this Saturday at Perth Motorplex.
Sheehan has been out of the seat of his 10,000 horsepower Ford Mustang-bodied Funny Car for over 12 months and said the pressure is on the team to perform.
“You don’t drive a car for a year and then you come out in front of the crowd at 6pm and drive it to over 500kph in just four seconds,” he said.
“We’re coming in a little rusty whereas Anthony (Begley, driver of Chemical Warfare) has been keeping busy racing Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars and also got the NHRA experience. They’ve learned a lot racing in the USA and that puts the pressure back on us to perform.”
While trying to keep a car straight for just 402 metres sounds easy, it is a lot more difficult when you are travelling near enough to half the speed of sound.
“A Funny Car is totally different to a Top Fuel Dragster, you have to think aggressive, aggressive, aggressive,” Sheehan said. “The steering needs manhandling. Dragsters have a more finessed style and you can’t afford to shake them around too much, but in a Funny Car you can’t be too aggressive.”
John Smith will again fly from the USA to tune Sheehan’s Funny Car, with the team making some small fuel system adjustments since last time but keeping the rest of the package the same.
“We don’t have a game plan as such, other than to just go out there and try to put down three solid runs,” he said. “I am looking forward to being back in the seat and seeing some nitro flames in front of me for a change.”
Sheehan will have plenty to keep him busy over the coming month, as it was recently announced he would be at Nitro Night on February 17 in his streamlined Top Fuel dragster – and maybe one more!
“I am building a front engine nostalgia nitro dragster too which we are trying to get ready to take on Michael Brooks as a back up show for Nitro Night,” he said.
“We are planning on testing on Valentine’s Day. That’s my gift to my wife, going racing. I don’t think I have told her yet actually…”
Well, so long as Sharon Sheehan (a dragster driver herself) lets Mark out again, he will be in action from 6pm this Saturday alongside a massive drag racing show including the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam, Top Comp, Supercharged Outlaws and more.