The Australian Nationals was a roller coaster ride of emotion and nail biting action for Pro Stock racer Jason Grima. On the cusp of winning the 2012-13 ANDRA Championship, the Sydney racerwas also looking to make it a double celebration by hopefully winning his first national Pro Stock event.
Grima arrived at Sydney Dragway with a 17 points advantage. But with few other drivers nipping at his feet, there was no time to pop the corks just yet.
Conditions were not optimum for the naturally aspirated 400 cube engines with high track temps on Saturday making tuning tricky.
After three qualifying sessions, the PC Group Ford Mustang finished 12thin the 16-car field.
“I knew that the conditions would be different from when we went testing, but had no idea by how much,” said Grima. But at the end of the day we were all in the same boat and we just did what we had to do.
“In the first two attempts we were hitting it too hard to try and put down a number. It didn’t work so we sat down after the second session on Saturday, had a meeting, and went back to a safe tune up for the final session. The conditions were the best all day and we final got in with a 7.106.
“The talk in the pits was that we were struggling and out of the championship, but we stayed focused and were confident that Sunday would be a better day.”
The PC Group Mustang made it through the first three rounds of eliminations. None of the races were easy because of the qualifying position, but the car was back in the zone and consistent with 7.06, 7.07 and 7.07 times. Best of all following the second round win, the championship was now secured.
“Winning the championship hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Grima. When I came up the return road, after beating Aaron Tremayne in round two, the championship was ours and I was blown away seeing everyone waiting for me at the startline. The first person I saw was Michael Marriott, who tunes Wayne Daley’s car. After that I pretty much lost it. But I gathered myself up because we still had a race to win.”
In the final the PC Group Mustang had the better early increments but then hurt the engine and slowed down to a 7.20 ET at 177 mph.
“It’s been a long season but our team had the stamina and we were consistent all year. Bobby Bennett from Comp Plus told me that I am the third person he knows that have won a championship before they won a national event. I thought that was pretty cool.
“No doubt we were a little disappointed to have not won the event but we know it will come. The car is fast and consistent, I have a fantastic crew and we’re making it easier and easier on ourselves.”
Over the season Grima finished with two runner-ups, three semi finals, top qualified twice, set top speed twice and reset the Pro Stock national records.
“It would have been good to have Brandon (Huhtala) here with us but we were only a phone call away. As a matter of fact he was following it on 1320go back in the US. When my brother James called, he already knew.
“Even now that it’s finished it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I think when I get to Pomona for the NHRA Finals, I will catch my breath and then it will hit me.
“I’d like to say thanks to all my fellow racers who thanked me personally or called me on the phone.
“Also I can’t thank my crew enough for there super efforts over the past year. I’m lucky to have my two brothers sharing the same passion I have and also the support from my family and my wife. I get to do this with their support but I couldn’t do it without them. It’s as simple as that.
“A big thanks to Brandon Huhtala who has been instrumental in helping us in so many ways. JGM gave him the opportunity to compete here in a Pro car for the first time and his knowledge has been a huge help. We hope to see more of him next season.
And finally thanks to all my sponsors who have backed JGM this season, many who have been with me for a while:
PC Group (Cranes, Engineering, Earthworks and Scaffolding)
Westside Auto Electrical
Jerry Bickel Race Components Australia
Rick Watters Racing Engines
Auto West Paint Supplies
Charlies Electrical Services
Redarc – The Power Conversion Specialists
Rencool Air Conditioners
“And thanks to our fans on Facebook and Twitter. This one is for you all.”