At last year’s Winternationals, Supercharged Outlaw racer Bill Fletcher was involved in violent braking area crash that totally destroyed his dragster, since recovering from the accident, the team have had a new dragster built, and Bill will return to competitive drag racing a year on.
Team Fletcher Racing have had a successful time in Supercharged Outlaws, continuing on from other sportsman classes, with the father (Bill) and son (Josh) combination campaigning a pair of supercharged dragsters that are nearly as long as the team’s accomplishments.
Bill, has five Supercharged Outlaws Track Championships at Willowbank Raceway to his credit along with a previous win at the Winternationals. Josh has racked up thirteen Track Championships across a variety of classes with two coming in Supercharged Outlaws to go with three National Championships including two in Supercharged Outlaws after one came in Junior Dragster and four Winternational wins.
The crash at last year’s Winternationals event was a wild one, with Bill’s dragster becoming crossed up on the top end of the race track before impacting the wall and tumbling hard multiple times.
Post event there was good and bad news after the evaluation of the wrecked car.
“After a serious inspection of the Spitzer Supercharged Outlaws dragster following the crash, it was decided not to try and rebuild the chassis as the damage was quite horrific,” said Fletcher. “Fortunately, though, the damage to the engine and transmission was minimal, and we were able to salvage many electrical and data logger components, which was going to assist greatly with the costs when building another dragster.
The search was now on for a new roller.
“After talks with Team Fletcher Racing’s major sponsors Styromax and Styrofan, the decision was made to start again and we began looking for another roller,” said Flecther. “Luck as it was, a fellow racer by the name of Steven Carpenter had just purchased an ex-Pro Alcohol dragster from Victoria as a roller. Unfortunately for Steven, it did not meet his plans for the future and he decided to put it back on the market. We had a thorough inspection of the roller and as much as it did meet most of our requirements, there was plenty of work ahead to make it comply. Steven was aware of this and after some phone conversations he made us a very reasonable offer that we accepted.
With a new roller in the shed, it was time to adapt all the team’s running gear to the new chassis, plus a few upgrades, and this required the services of many.
“We then engaged the service of Blaze Hansen to make the necessary changes to the chassis and body,” continued Fletcher. “At first, we thought this may take a few days, but as time went on and we decided to add components like electro-motion etc, the time rolled on. Then of course running a different transmission meant more changes and once again the list went on. Changes to rear wing, wheelie bar, steering, fuel tank, the one-piece carbon fibre body – huge but great job – seat, floor and the list kept going on.
“Whilst this was being played out, we once again handed the engine to David Mullins for the rebuild. David has been a friend of the family for many years and we cannot thank him enough for his work and guidance to my family, and all of those at Team Fletcher Racing.
“Tony Harrington from Harrington Race Autos, took control of the transmission and conducted a complete overall before handing it back to us. There was a small crack in the case that was discovered after the accident, which was easily fixed with a few dollars for a replacement. Son Dan was kept busy making new mounting brackets and components that just simply are not available from USA or Australia. Wayne Jones had the challenging job of servicing the blower. Challenging mainly because parts are extremely difficult to come by these days. Combine this with the fact that the carbon hat was destroyed in the crash, resulting in carbon dust throughout the blower, it was a great job done. Son, Josh has had very little spare time over the past eight months. Not only has he assisted David Mullins with the engine rebuild where possible, but he has supervised basically every part of the rebuild including the wiring. Trust me, no easy task!
With the rebuild finally complete it was well into 2023, and at the beginning of April the team were ready to fire the dragster to life for the first time. The fire up went off without a hitch, and after a few tweaks and adjustments to the tune up, the team were heading to the track for testing.
“Good Friday was the planned day. However, the weather turned against us all and we couldn’t make it happen so the next option was the Super Thunder event. Management allowed us to tag onto the end of qualifying to do some performance testing before racing. We had three attempts at the tree, and we were all excited to see that everything went well with all the new parts doing what they should – eight months of hard work was finally coming together.”
With Bill feeling confident and comfortable in the new car, the team have since performance tested the car with Josh at the QDRC, with Bill returning to competition at the Winternationals.