How Mark Sheehan became the quickest Aussie at home

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Western Australia’s Mark Sheehan is the single quickest Australian drag racer on an Australian race track following an amazing 4.537 pass a month ago at Perth Motorplex in his 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster.

nitromaxupload-141It was an achievement Sheehan has had on his radar for some time, ever since ordering a state of the art dragster from the USA in 2014. Ironically Sheehan’s dragster was built by Morgan Lucas Racing, the racing home of South Australian expat Richie Crampton who now competes full time in the NHRA.

Power is never the issue with a Top Fuel dragster – it’s about controlling that power, a job that falls to Sheehan’s crew chief John Smith. Sheehan said the team needed to adjust the car and settle it down for the first part of the track, though the extra potential still in reserve is exciting.

“We struggled previous to the 4.53 run to get the car past half track, so we slowed the car down a little and even as fast as the run was, it wasn’t the quickest we have been in the early part of the track,” he said.

“We are just messing around a little bit with clutch disc hardness and clutch pack hardness. Now we have a baseline we know what direction we are heading in. We just need to work harder at the start of the race track.”

Sheehan’s time was exciting but he was also able to tick another goal off – surpassing 330mph (531kmh) for the first time.

“It was pretty incredible. I’ve been 326 or 327 (mph) before but just a little but of extra speed was full on. We have lots more goals and we will keep ticking them off.”

Eventually Sheehan wants to go even quicker and he would love to be the first Australian to cover a quarter mile drag strip in less than 4.5.

“4.4s are the goal, no doubt about that. Whether we are the first or not who knows. When you look at the calibre of people who are in Top Fuel, sooner or later it is going to happen.”

nitromaxupload-92Sheehan’s strong performance was very nearly edged out by another Western Australian, Damien Harris, who clocked a 4.538 time at the same event. Sheehan believes the competition among the teams is resulting in the improvements.

“I’d like to think I have forced them to step up a little bit,” he said. “4.5s are fast, but it is where the nitro cars should be in Australia. But then again if it was that easy we would run them all the time.”


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