A rain-delayed Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway has provided a ‘mixed bag’ for Team Bray Racing this weekend with Ben Bray making it to the semi-finals while his father Victor suffered a close encounter during qualifying.
Victor and long-time friend Peter Kapiris collided during the second round of qualifying when Kapiris experienced a major clutch failure and on-board fire at the half track distance, sending him blindly into the other lane and the driver’s side door of Bray’s 1957 Chevy, travelling at 196mph.
“Peter and I have been friends for 30 years, but I can tell you I did not ever intend to get that close to him!” laughed Victor.
“Following a good opening run we set out for the second round with a set-up aimed to get that five second ‘hoo doo’ off our back, but after getting to the half way mark in 3.858 seconds at 196 miles per hour disaster struck and that was it for that run.
“Thankfully both Peter and I were totally okay but unfortunately a fair bit of work to the car was required and despite our promising first round we were not able to make it into the eliminations field this weekend.
“Even so, it was a great weekend. I am very happy with the progress of the car, the crowd was really strong and it was great to be able to see Benny have a good start to his season.”
Victor’s harrowing second round of qualifying came after a strong 6.05 second pass at 240.17 miles per hour, however the final round saw his front tyres jump the beams for a disallowed time and a position outside of the field along with five-time champion John Zappia.
On the other side of the Team Bray pit area Ben was having a better weekend, qualifying in fifth position with a 5.959 second pass after his first and second qualifiers ended in frustration with the car overpowering the track – a situation facing many in the field thanks to the tough and varying conditions.
From there it was onto eliminations, with ‘the kid’ taking on Andrew Sutton with his 0.088 reaction time and a 6.003 second pass seeing him proceed to the semi-final against eventual race winner Kapiris.
While Ben was unable to take the win, he gave it all he had with a 6.159 second pass at 209.72 miles per hour providing a good showing against Kapiris’ 5.902 second pass at 238.90 miles per hour.
“With everyone struggling with the track and the weather threatening it was great to secure my spot in the eliminations field and face-off against Sutton and Kapiris on race day,” said Ben Bray.
“What a fairytale ending for Kapiris following the incident with dad the night prior, he certainly did turn it around.
“It was a solid first round for the season, and our attentions now turn to Perth for the Goldenstates!”
Team Bray Racing will be straight to work this week with the team needing to leave in just seven days to make it across the country for the next round of the Top Doorslammer championship in Perth on the 16th and 17th of November.
Full results from this weekend’s Top Doorslammer racing are available at www.teambrayracing.com/results.