Andrew Cowin managed to harness the horsepower of his Rocket Industries Top Fuel dragster at Adelaide International Raceway on Friday night to lead qualifying after two sessions.
Cowin hit a 4.40sec at 430.40kph (267.45mph) at the Pro Series 1000 to sneak just ahead of Darren Morgan’s 4.43 and a 4.48 from Phil Lamattina.
With air conditions the best seen this season, the issue became getting grip on the all-bitumen Adelaide surface with a cylinder out on Cowin’s machine actually helping get the car down the 1000 feet track.
“We tried to slip the clutch a little more and it worked out better. There is still heaps of room for improvement, it was on seven cylinders and it still spun at the other end,” he said. “It’s great to be at the track here and the crowd is so upbeat and positive.
“Hopefully we can keep that number one position but the other cars could just as easy knock that off the shelf. We will try and get it from A to B and that is what will win the race.”
Cowin was not certain that a 4.40sec would remain on top with the track improving exponentially as it gets more rubber from the race teams of the ANDRA Pro Series.
“When the night comes a 4.20sec is possible, easily. From when we first got here until this evening the track has improved tremendously so I think we will be able to get away with a little more tomorrow,” he said.
In Top Alcohol it was O’Rourke who became the first to break into the fours, leading the way with a 4.92sec run that was actually shut down early as she got close to the safety barriers.
“I was really excited, I was fighting the car most of the way and hoping it was a good run. It felt fast,” she said.
“I got off it at about 3.9 seconds into the run. The air is really good but the trick is getting that to the track and we were lucky that we were here six months ago and have a bit of a feel for it. We’ve gone from where we left off.”
Top Bike saw Chris Matheson put down a spectacular run with the Adelaide race fans seeing him go 5.30sec at 316.50kph as he put down a full power pass.
Matheson said the smooth Adelaide braking area will allow him to go for a high speed run tomorrow where he expects to hit the 220mph mark (354kph).
“On the second run there had been more people down the track and the air came around so we took more power out and gave it a chance to hook up,” he said. “The track will get better and better and the air here is magnificent.
“The deep end which is so critical for us is very smooth which is really good. The more runs the big cars get on there the better for us.”
Phil Howard overcame gremlins from the last round of the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship in Sydney with a 6.26sec run leading the way.
“It spun up pretty hard and I shut it off early, but I can sleep easy tonight,” he said. “It’s good to get down there and everything worked properly.
“It’s not good stuffing up but it’s good to find a solution.”
Qualifying continues on Saturday with racing on Sunday.
For more information on the Pro Series 1000 click here.