The Nostalgia Nationals are the biggest event on the Australian nostalgia drag racing calendar. Humpy Racing had an up and down weekend at the event held on August 14-15 at Willowbank Raceway. It started with a number of strong qualifying performances and ended with an incident after the finish line in the Team’s last race of the event. Fortunately Humpy Racing team owner and driver, Rob Brown, walked away from the incident unharmed though the car sustained damage.
Even before the racing began the Humpy Racing pits were already attracting quite a bit of attention with their second FX, which is being built to compete in the Vintage Gas category, on display. The racing started for the Team with the first round of qualifying on Saturday morning, this run saw the accelerator cable come loose from the scoop, pushing the elapsed time (ET) out to an uncharacteristic 9.501 seconds. This problem was easily rectified and Rob ran an ET of 9.422/144.6mph in the Humpy Racing FX in the second round. A number of delays meant that the sun was setting by the time the car was staged for the final qualifying round, running a 9.33/145mph.
Saturday night saw the first round of eliminations for the Gas bracket. The FX was dialled in at 9.35 for the round and ran a close 9.380/144.7mph only to be beaten on the christmas tree (by a quicker reaction time from the other competitor), the winning margin was just 0.0039 seconds. With Gas run on a Chicago shootout basis (best of three) Humpy Racing still had two races to contest.
The Team had to wait until late Sunday morning for their next race. The first round loss in Gas, which had one of the largest entry fields of the event, meant that a finals appearance was unlikely so Rob elected to approach the christmas tree with aggression. This saw a red light, handing the win to the other lane, though Humpy Racing could take heart about running much closer to their dial in than their counterpart with a 9.393/144.0 on a 9.30 dial in.
It was the third round of the day that no one will forget. The Humpy Racing crew rushed down to the finish line after watching the FX lurch violently into the other lane and touch Rick Whitlock’s XB shortly after crossing the finish line. The FX was on its roof by the time they made it to the scene but the crew were relieved to find Rob already out of the car and sitting in the ambulance, without so much as a scratch on him. Everyone was also pleased to discover that Whitlock also avoided injury after the incident.
Rob Brown and the Humpy Racing Team would like to thank our fans for their messages of support. More importantly they would like to thank the track, medical, fire and support staff for their assistance after the incident and making a very stressful and upsetting event slightly less so.
Rob had the following to say about the incident: “The full extent of the damage is not known at this stage and as such no plans have been made. Drag racing is a dangerous sport but also a safe sport. The fact that the car rolled at 245kph and the driver came out unscathed is a testament to the safety and integrity of the construction and roll cage in the car. Safety is our number one priority, followed closely by fun, so the car will need to be completely stripped and examined before anything else can happen. We won’t walk away from the sport and the plan for the Humpy Racing Gasser is still going ahead.”
You can follow the team on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/humpyracing.