Surprisingly, there may be one vehicle harder to drive than an Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car this Saturday at Perth Motorplex.
Queensland’s Chelsea Leahy will be piloting the Nitro Sheriff, a ‘wheelstander’ Funny Car that covers the drag strip entirely on the back wheels.
Leahy is part of an Australian drag racing dynasty, with thousands of runs made by her relatives including grandfather Roly Leahy, father Greg and brother Josh – who will be driving this weekend as well.
Chelsea said that among the dragsters, funny cars and more the family has driven, the Nitro Sheriff has been the hardest to learn, requiring the driver to shake many habits. When she compared notes with her father on steering the wheelstander, he provided an interesting viewpoint.
“My dad drives an Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car (The Stormtrooper) and he said that the wheelstander was the hardest car he learned to drive,” she said. “It’s super tricky getting the right throttle control and also learning to drive the car with a hand brake”.
“They look smooth and easy from the outside but there is a lot of things going on in the cockpit that you can’t see.
“But it is really fun and exhilarating to drive the Nitro Sheriff. It’s really rewarding to me when I make the whole quarter mile pass with the two front wheels in the air.”
This event will be Chelsea’s first in Western Australia since she raced her Junior Dragster here in 2011 and she is keen to meet fans of the sport both old and new, recommending fans arrive early for the Aeroflow Pit Party at 4.30pm.
“I love meeting all the fans from around Australia and hearing their stories and passion for the sport,” she said. “It’s so great that we do the Pit Party so we can meet the fans and they can come up close to see the race cars.”
Another racer who has been a hit with the fans is Emma Begley, who will be racing alongside her father Anthony in the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars.
Emma is a WA native, who now attends university on the east coast of Australia, and has climbed into a significantly quicker ride since her last appearance at Perth Motorplex. She is now the pilot of Let’s Boogie, one of the official Aeroflow stable cars.
“Let’s Boogie is very different to myself as a driver,” Emma said. “However, we are always up for a challenger and have had an awesome time so far.
“The team and I hope to focus on getting some clean, fast passes down the track next Saturday. As well as looking forward to seeing what myself and the car can do at my home track.”
If the right results come forth, Emma may get to take on her father in a match race she is relishing. Anthony will be at the steering of the famed LA Hooker Funny Car.
“Of course, it would be an awesome experience to go up against my Dad for the first time as team mates, as well as rivals,” she said.
Ten Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car drivers will be competing for the title on Saturday, with the category set to be joined on track by the Summer Slam, Top Comp, Nitro Bikes Outlaw Radial and more.
The Pit Party for the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars begins from 4.30pm with the main show beginning on track from 5.30pm.
- Perth Motorplex Media Release, image by Phil Luyer.