Darren Morgan wins third straight Australian Top Fuel Championship

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Darren Morgan is very proud of the fact that he and his crew are based in Mildura, Victoria. He was once told that he would never succeed in Top Fuel because of his country location. About the only thing this achieved was to make him more determined to succeed and win.

The pinnacle of drag racing success is winning a championship. In the case of Morgan he can hold his head high knowing he has done that – not once, but four times in his career.

Last month the DMR/American Truck Works dragster took out the Nitro Thunder Top Fuel round at Calder Park, and basically secured his third straight ANDRA Championship. All that was required to make it official was to stage the Victorian American Imports dragster in Sydney during qualifying, accept the green light and celebrate.

Morgan could have easily stayed in the pits after the first qualifier to save parts and money, but he was here to win the event and hopefully double up with two ANDRA gold Christmas Tree trophies.

“We are here for our fans, supporters, and our sponsors. And besides there is still a race to win,” grinned Morgan.

The conditions for the Nationals were very trying for all competitors. Saturday saw the temperature climb over 30°C and then on Sunday it was high winds and a lot of dust.

On the first qualifying session a mechanical problem hurt the engine early and resulted in a 6.51 elapsed time over the quarter-mile distance.

Headed by crew chief Ben Patterson, the team made the repairs and bounced back in the second session with a clean run in 4.81 seconds at 308 mph [495.68 kph]. This moved Morgan from fourth position to third.

For the final session the Victorian American Imports dragster was looking good in the early increments of the run but the engine suffered some damage around half-track and slowed to a 5.75 at only 157 mph.

Patterson believed the car was on a high 4.6 run as the night conditions were the best all day.

Morgan finished fifth and had a first round match-up against American Tommy Johnson Jnr.

Eliminations saw one of the biggest Top Fuel fields of the season with eight teams front for round one. Morgan tried hard against his opponent, and while it was a close run, the DMR/Victorian American Imports Top Fuel dragster fell short by .0823 of a second!

Patterson said, “It was a clean run but wore out too much clutch, which in turn slowed the car.

Morgan added, “Overall it was a successful weekend with another championship win and a successful corporate outing for DMR and the L&H Company – a leading industrial supplier of quality electrical, lighting, heating and cooling, and ventilation components.

“I’m very thankful to my hard working crew. I know how hard they work and I am especially proud to be working on the car alongside my 17-year-old son Will.

“We didn’t have a lot of time between Melbourne and Sydney rounds so I’m thankful for the teams time and dedication.

“I’m so lucky to have Ben calling the shots, he does an excellent job. We were able to test a few things in Sydney and I can say that they definitely worked,” grinned Morgan.

“Having L&H and 100 corporate guests was a huge undertaking. It was all about them on Saturday. They put their toes in the water at the Nitro Champs back in May and at the Nationals we gave them the full ANDRA Championship drag racing experience. It was up close and personal, and judging from the smiles I saw, I’d say they really enjoyed themselves too.

This makes it three consecutive Top Fuel Championship for DMR (2011, 2012 and 2013) and a fourth overall for Darren as a driver. DMR won four of the 11 championship rounds, two runner-ups and two top qualifiers.

Morgan was quoted in the Sunraysia Daily when asked to assess the season, “We seem to be getting better and better. We don’t test like some of the big teams do because we don’t have the finances, we have to test at the race meetings”.

Morgan concluded by saying that winning the championship for 2013 was made even more special knowing it was ANDRA’s 40th year of drag racing in Australia.

Special thanks to John Bakker and his team, at Victorian American Imports for their continued support of DMR.

DMR would like to thank their major sponsors, K Trans WA, Shannons Insurance, American Truckworks and Victorian American Imports along with their associate partners Permatex, Timken, Cabac, Lovells, Castrol, Champion, Disc Brakes Australia, Speedmaster, White International, Stahlwille, Simple Green, CRC, Crow Cams, Fusion, Pavtek, Torque Calibration, Hedman Headers, Rocket Industries, Aeroflow, PPG, Elgas, Super Mini Booster, Garner Transport, GTS Transport, The Brakeman, Performance Diff Services, Replay XD, Lawrence & Hanson, Tiger Light, CRD Engineering, Airmaster, Clevite and Kingpins Custom Paint for their support during the 2013 season.

The first outing of the 2014 ANDRA Top Fuel Championship fires up in Perth and will feature round one and two on January 10 and 11.

Top Fuel                                                                                        Total
Darren Morgan                                                                                805
Phil Lamattina                                                                                 755
Steve Read                                                                                     421
Damien Harris                                                                                 387
Tommy Johnson Jr                                                                         197
Mark Sheehan                                                                                184
Allan Dobson                                                                                  182
Terry Sainty                                                                                     171
John Lamattina                                                                               154
Phil Read                                                                                         131
Luke Shepherd                                                                                 87
Martin Stamatis                                                                                83
Larry Dixon                                                                                       72

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