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As the end of the season approaches, husband-and-wife Top Doorslammer team Daniel and Lisa Gregorini have found themselves on opposite ends of the racing fortune spectrum.

The last round of the Australian Drag Racing Championship at Sydney Dragway saw high-fives aplenty for Lisa and her all-female crew, as Daniel looked to count the cost of a tough Nitro Champs event.

Lisa’s memorable weekend began with her first five-second pass, an outstanding 5.820 at 242mph that would put her into sixth position in the field.

“We were stoked to run our first five straight off the trailer in qualifying,” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to go straight into the 80s. All our hard work and persistence definitely paid off.”

Qualifying also delivered a highlight for Daniel, with a 5.696 at an event high of 257.38mph settling him into third position.

“On our first qualifying pass we had a bad plug so we were only running on seven cylinders,” he explained. “We discovered that problem and sent the same tune-up out for Q2 which produced the 5.69 pass.”

Come race time on Saturday, Daniel’s luck changed as his normally reliable Scratch & Match Motorsport Camaro suffered some critical engine damage.

“For the first part of the run it looked like a carbon copy of our qualifying pass, until we hit top gear and the engine ran to the limiter,” he said. “We thrashed to replace the heads from the dropped valves and damaged pistons we had suffered. When we warmed up the car, we found it had no transbrake. That was when we realized a stripped turbine spline in the convertor was why the engine had free revved earlier. Unfortunately, that also meant my event was over.”

Fortunately, Lisa was still on deck and ready to represent the team as she took on John Zappia in the first round. A 0.063 to 0.315 holeshot gave her a big lead early and a 5.825 took the stripe over a chasing 5.675 from Zappia.

“Beating Zap was definitely the highlight of our meeting,” she said. “We knew it was going to be a tough race against him and that I had to cut a killer light to be in with any chance of winning.”

Lisa was gaining more experience with every run, and though the car got loose on her later runs, her driving was on point.

Now Scratch & Match Motorsport has the final round of the season on their agenda, a massive road trip to Darwin’s Hidden Valley Drag Strip for Nitro Up North. The transporter went straight to Darwin from Sydney, meaning the team has much work on their hands when they fly to Darwin later this week.

“Lisa’s car is ready to go but my car is looking pretty bare,” Daniel said. “I have all my parts repaired thanks to Applied Automotives and ready to bolt back into the car. Thank you to Kyle Putland Racing for taking all the damaged parts back to Perth and then bringing them to Darwin for us. We have a bit of work to do on Thursday and Friday once the team lands.”

Now that the championship has been decided, Daniel said the team will take the opportunity to test some new ideas and prepare for the new National Drag Racing Championship era that will begin later this year.

“I want to make some progress in fuel system tuning on my car. Lisa’s car needs some suspension tuning as it tends to move around a bit on the gear changes and unsettles the car. Once we fix that I can apply more power and Lisa can make faster runs. I don’t think 5.6 second runs are far off for her.

“We can’t wait for the new NDRA era. The Top Doorslammer Australia racers decided about 16 months ago to join forces with Top Fuel Australia and it was the best decision in many years. It’s been great fun and awesome racing, so now having everyone join us is the best outcome any racer could ask for.”

Major sponsors : Scratch & Match Autocolour, Kerb Doctor, Westcoast Siteworks, Kendall oils, S & S Industries, Consolidated Group, SP Tools,
Dalisa Estate Winery.

Supporting sponsors : Signbiz WA, Go print, Dirty detailing, Final Drive Engineering, Gforce race cars, Resolution racing services, DMPE, Applied Automotive, Kinetic Engineering.

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