The Gulf Western Oil-supported Team Bray Racing was sure to put on a show for the fans at Sydney Dragway’s Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder event this weekend – with Victor Bray going all the way to the finals while Ben entertained in the semi-finals as part of Australia’s fastest side-by-side ‘Slammer pass.
The Gulf Western Oils Nitro Thunder event employed a three-rounds of racing format, where those who will face off in the final are selected by virtue of having the two fastest winning times of the second round.
Six-time champion Victor faced off against eventual event winner Gary Phillips, while three-time champ Ben raced and defeated reigning champion, John Zappia.
That wasn’t all the good news for the TBR team either. Both racers set PBs earlier in the day 5.86 @248 for Victor and 5.70 @256 for Ben and the results are particularly positive due to the fact that they come with a new and relatively undeveloped converter package.
“The Nitro Thunder event has been a great weekend out for everyone here at Team Bray Racing – any time you can log a few Personal Bests and a shot at the finals, it is a good day,” said Victor, who had the holeshot over Phillips in the final but was beaten to the line with a 5.722s pass to his 6.681s effort at 169.10mph.
“We are particularly happy to have these results with the new converter configuration we have been working on. The combination had had only four passes in total before Saturday night’s racing, so to come away with a semi-final win and a final appearance is a real positive sign for us.”
For Ben, the semi-final result – combined with the efforts of fellow competitor Mark Belleri earlier in the night – stopped Zappia from overtaking Ben’s 24-round win streak record.
“I am thankful to Belleri for helping me protect my round win streak record by beating him in the opening round, and with my win in the semi-final we were able to solidify that to stop him heading to the final event to keep my record intact,” said Ben.
“Understandably, we were pretty happy about that!” he grinned after taking the semi-final victory with a holeshot win over Zappia with a 5.700s pass at 256.21mph to Zappia’s 5.64s pass. Their efforts made for the fastest side by side pass in Australian slammer drag racing history.
Bray went on to say that the results are great news for the team as it now looks ahead to the largest championship drag racing event held outside of the US – the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals. That event will be held at their home track – Willowbank Raceway – across June 8-11.
“The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is going to be a very important event for us,” said Ben.
“It always is of course – it is the biggest event on the calendar and it is at our home track so there is a lot of pride on the line, but this year our sponsor Gulf Western Oil are also sponsoring the event, so there will be added motivation to really come away with the honours – not that we really needed any more,” he laughed.
“This weekend has seen us gain a lot of knowledge with the new converter set-up and to be able to come away with some PBs and some good showings is really promising as we know there is a lot more to come with more development.
“We can’t wait to see what we can do in June.”