West Australian drag racer Marty Dack feels his 3000 horsepower Ford Mustang is ready to make its mark, beginning with the City of Ipswich Winternationals this weekend.
Dack is heading to Australia’s biggest drag racing event with a positive attitude, confident that the team has worked through some tune up issues and will be a threat in the Pro Slammer category.
“I have really good feelings about this coming weekend,” he said. “The car is going to go a low 5.7sec. when we make it go. Not a night goes by where I don’t talk or think about what we are doing and we are ready to go to war.”
Dack brought out his new Ford Mustang for the first time last year and since then has been adapting to a number of changes including new cylinder heads, which produce more power. The new chassis also means the team have had to change their tuning approach as they search for a way to provide the car with ‘wheel speed’ – a limited amount of tyre slip away from the start line that produces the quickest times.
“We just cannot give this car enough wheel speed, as much horsepower as we can make this car is gobbling it up. I’ve changed the suspension so many times, but we have worked out what is happening now.”
Dack’s recent trip to Sydney Dragway delivered a learning experience, with a bad set of tyres crippling the team for most of the event until they figured out the problem.
“We have experienced a lot of stuff but we have never experienced that before. You can get a good set or a bad set of tyres but that threw a curve ball at us.
“(In testing) we put some different tyres on and let the engine flare a bit (on the clutch) and it went good.”
Unusually, Dack said the team are avoiding testing at Willowbank Raceway before the Winternationals as the track conditions will completely change.
“We’ve been caught out there before, the track will be nothing like it will be at the event itself and we know this track will be good. But all it will do now is wear out parts.”
The Pro Slammer category will have a 16 car-field, up from the usual eight. That means four rounds of racing and also more chance of an upset winner. Dack is looking forward to the prospect.
“The sixteen car field is a good deal, everyone loves it,” he said. “Sometimes the turnaround time (between rounds) catches us out but we can’t keep blaming what is going on with time or mechanical problems, you’ve got to have it sorted out.”
Among the drivers Dack will be facing are current nine times champion John Zappia and returning six times champion Victor Bray, who will be racing for the first time in two years.
Zappia has the title in the bag already, so will have an opportunity to shoot for some records.
“The Winternationals is such a big event and with the killer track it is the place to set records and the event to be at,” he said. “We will be going after it now we have the championship wrapped up.”
Meanwhile Bray has been taking some time away from the sport to concentrate on some areas in his personal life and has also lost 60kg in an effort to regain his comfort in the car.
“I’ve always been a big fella and I haven’t gotten any smaller over the years that’s for sure,” he said. “The last few events in 2014 things were getting a bit tight in the car and I wasn’t feeling as comfortable as I always used to.”