Learning has never been so much fun as when it is done at 390 kilometres per hour, with Spinozzi Racing enjoying two days of Pro Slammer discovery at Sydney Dragway.
Contesting their first competition event in the Speedmaster Chevelle as part of Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder, Spinozzi clicked on two win lights from three rounds of racing and set a new personal best time.
The highlights didn't come easy however, with the heavy workload between rounds beginning from the very first practice session.
“Our morning run was our best of the event as we got the car off the start line and ran through for a 6.024, our quickest pass yet,” Spinozzi said.
“But the action started in the braking area as I struggled to pull up the car. I had the chutes out but I went past Geoff Gradden in the other lane like he was standing still. It got sideways under brakes and we blew the right front tyre. We looked into our parachutes and found most other teams were using a larger size, so Paul Mouhayet was kind enough to let us borrow some bigger chutes for the rest of the event, which gave me a lot more confidence as a driver.
“Our crew was straight on to it with a V8 Supercars-style pit stop, changing a tyre and brake pads.”
Spinozzi took on 12-times national champion John Zappia in round one, with Zappia's 5.713 covering a valiant 6.179 from the Speedmaster Chevelle.
“It was pretty awesome to be able to race against John Zappia in the first round, one of the legends of the sport,” he said. “We weren't expecting much and we had to pedal (get on and off the throttle) but we were right there if anything happened to Zap.”
The second round saw a fresh highlight as Spinozzi won his first Pro Slammer round, getting by Ben Bray in a tough 7.245 to 7.959 race.
“I think I had to pedal the car on nearly every pass and against Ben it took two goes at the throttle and some short shifting just to get down the track,” Spinozzi said. “But the car did eventually settle and we ran through for our first win, which was a great boost for the Speedmaster pit crew.”
In the final round against Peter Blake, Spinozzi again found a way down the cold race track with a 6.200 second victory. But the run almost didn't happen at all as the Speedmaster team found a cracked header pipe after warming up the car.
“I found myself running around the pits looking for welders and helmets shortly before we were due out,” Spinozzi said. “Then I was getting strapped into the car in the pits while the boys were still bolting the pipes back on. It was certainly a reminder that we were back in a racing environment, where the clock is ticking.”
Crew chief Michael Marriott (above, right) said he was pleased with the progress but felt the Speedmaster Chevelle was yet to show its full potential.
“There were plenty of steps forward and some good gains but there are some big changes still to make,” he said.
“These cars are all about getting the correct wheel speed early in the run and I feel we have worked out the first hit of the throttle, so now we have to focus on the 60 to 80 feet zone.
“The car itself, built by SCF Race Cars, has been faultless and handles and drives really well. It does everything you ask it to do. Emilio has proven himself as a good driver and I think even the 6.02 is not indicative of this car.”
The team welcomed corporate guests from Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia across the weekend, with 60 customers and clients joining the race team for the excitement of Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder.
Spinozzi said the team is planning on attending the Winternationals in Queensland in June, though there is plenty of maintenance to do on the Speedmaster Chevelle in the next four weeks.
“This weekend showed us what Pro Slammer is all about,” he said. “All the tyre shake takes its toll on parts, we have got broken pipes and tubs that need fixing, the bodywork needs some work, these cars are full on. Now we have a really good idea of what we are up against.
“We are thinking about another test session in Sydney and then to the Winternationals.”
Spinozzi thanked team sponsors Speedmaster, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Nicsons Concrete, Torco Oils, Terra Civil, LJ Hooker Commercial Campbelltown, Soligo Concrete, Sloanebuilt Trailers, Pasta Italia, Optimum Fire, Al’s Race Glides, Smithfield Diff and Gearbox, Race Teknix, VP Racing Fuels, Corfield Media Solutions, Planned Signs, Kemps Creek Mitre 10, Leanders Clutch, Western Filters, Alky Pro and Speedflow for all their continued support.
- Media release courtesy Spinozzi Racing.