Daniel Gregorini placed his name into the record books and claimed the opening Australian Drag Racing Championship round honours with an exciting Top End Nationals victory at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Drag Strip this evening.
Gregorini began Saturday on a strong note with a speed of 258.47mph in the final qualifying session, enough to reset the national Top Doorslammer record of 258.42mph which had been held by Peter Kapiris since 2013.
In the elimination round, Western Australia’s Gregorini dropped the quickest time of Saturday with a 5.808 blast to defeat the NT’s Andrew Sutton, who was unable to fire his Corvette for the race. Booking a spot in the final alongside Gregorini was fellow Western Australian John Zappia, in a 5.849 to 6.824 win against Victoria’s Robin Taylor.
Unfortunately Zappia – who earlier in the event took out the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award, presented by Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks – sustained engine damage in the race and was unable to get the motor changed in time to make the call for the final round, leaving Gregorini to take a solo.
“Today we just kept trying to catch the track which was getting better and better,” Gregorini said. “We kept applying power and the track kept taking it. On the final run it went towards the centre line and I decided to pedal it and it did a big power wheelstand, but the car is healthy and we are really looking forward to heading to Alice Springs with the points lead.”
While fans were looking forward to seeing Gregorini duel with his rival Zappia in the final, it was not to be.
“It’s always a good race when it is Zap and I in the staging beams. We have pushed each other further and further. At the end of the day that’s racing and hopefully we can go head to head at Alice Springs.”
Gregorini said the new national record earlier in the day came as something of a surprise.
“The car actually dead hooked, so that meant our 60 foot time was slower but it had a chance to build speed early,” he explained. “It put on some really big speed at the other end. This is actually the first time we’ve held an ANDRA National Record so we are pretty happy about that.”
The Australian Drag Racing Championship competitors are now on their way to Alice Springs for the Desert Nationals, where the Top Doorslammers will race for national championship points for the first time in the Red Centre. Gregorini has never raced his Scratch & Match Motorsport Camaro at Alice Springs Inland Dragway before, and was hoping he would have enough tuning flexibility to adapt to the race surface.
“I hear the concrete to bitumen transition is earlier than other tracks, it could be a challenge for us as I don’t have any other gear ratios with me. We will make some stator changes and converter changes to calm it down and we will work out,” he said.
“We’ve got a great start in the new Australian Drag Racing Championship and we are really looking forward to what is to come.”
Across both days of the Top End Nationals, race fans were also delighted by the opening round of racing for the 2021/2022 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
ANDRA thanks the Hidden Valley Drag Racing Association and all of its volunteers and sponsors for an outstanding racetrack and a well-run event.
The 2021/2022 Australian Drag Racing Championship will now travel to Alice Springs for the Desert Nationals next weekend (July 24-25), with this event to also host round two of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series. For event information, go to www.cadra.com.au or www.andra.com.au.