Staging the AEG Powertools/Hungry Jacks Mildura Top Fuel dragster has never been more nerve wracking for Darren Morgan than what it will be next weekend, it’s all he has to do in qualifying one to take the ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel Championship.
“I’ve never been so nervous about placing the car in stage for the first qualifying session ever. Knowing that is what we have to do makes those two little white lights seem so important, yet in context that is only the beginning of the weekend,” said Morgan.
The Mildura Missile will become the first owner driver since Jim Read in 2006 to win the Australian Top Fuel Championship should he front for qualifying at the 44th Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, a huge feat for a what is still a fledgling team.
“When we started Darren Morgan Racing, many people said we’d never make a go of it, they said we’d fail and wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Well, here we are three years later and about to win the Championship. That’s a great feeling,” he said
“It’s a huge payback to everyone that has ever assisted us. Whilst I’m the one that goes down the track and has all the fun, I never remember a run once it’s done. It’s all the people in the background that assist us in getting down the track that it’s for. It’s not just me, there are lots of people that make up DMR and celebrate our wins or commiserate our losses.
This season has been an outstanding one for the Mildura TAFE Teacher and former Top Fuel Champion. Even when the chips have been down, he’s been able to pull something special, none more so than the last time the 8,000 horsepower nitro-munching brigade hit Willowbank Raceway.
Despite not being the fastest throughout the weekend, diligence from both Morgan and crew chief, Ben Patterson saw the orange rail streak home in the final.
Speaking of Patterson, should the AEG Powertools/Hungry Jacks Mildura machine be successful, at 22 years of age, he will become the youngest crew chief in history anywhere in the world to have won a Top Fuel Championship.
“I look at someone like Ben (Patterson) who will become the youngest crew chief in the world to have won a Top Fuel Championship, that’s exciting. All my crew, all my family and everyone to be there with us is tremendously exciting, especially when we own the deal,” said Morgan,” he said
Before the big black transporter sidles into Willowbank there is some other pressing business to attend too, the big Junior drag race meet at Warwick this weekend.
Dad Darren and Mum Natalie will kick back and play proud parents whilst their three children will get their chance to shine in the Homelight/Hungry Jacks supported cars. Eldest, 16-year-old Caitlin who is eyeing off the Missile’s Top Fuel seat and youngest nine-year-old Rory will be taking to the track. Middle child and former Junior dragger, 14-year-old Will is crew chief on the two cars.
On Tuesday, DMR has a date at Parliament House where the Top Fueller will form the centre point of the official Winternationals Media Conference, which will see Queensland Sports Minister, Phil Reeves experience a Top Fuel startup from the driver’s seat parked in the driveway usually reserved for far more sedate forms of transport…
“It’s a big couple of weekends for us with the kids racing, but the Castrol EDGE Winternationals will be special,” he said.
“We’ll have all the guys that have helped us throughout the year there and it will be a fantastic celebration.
The Castrol EDGE Winternationals will also see the debut of the all new Darren Morgan Racing simulator, put together with the assistance of Castrol. Race fans will get to experience the feeling of piloting a Top Fueller down the strip from inside the cockpit of a full rolling chassis.