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Daniel Gregorini has been crowned the 2022/23 Summer Slam champion after a dramatic finish to the season that didn’t even involve any racing.

Just a few days before the series-ending WA Grand Final, Daniel’s thoughts were far from the drag strip. On an otherwise normal Tuesday afternoon, he was preparing his Camaro Top Doorslammer and its transporter for a big couple of months ahead, when suddenly something didn’t feel right — and it wasn’t a problem with the supercharged Hemi.

“It was all your standard week until I ended up in the emergency ward with a medical issue,” he said. “I ended up in the hospital until I was discharged on Thursday evening.”

With the Grand Final just hours away, Daniel’s team worked hard to prep the car in anticipation of his release from hospital, with many offers of help received from the WA drag racing community as well. From there, Daniel simply had to focus on his health and monitoring his body ahead of the event.

“The decision was to play it by ear,” he said. “First, I needed someone I trusted on the ground to make sure both cars were going out on schedule and race ready on the day. I spoke to Josh McClennan and he happened to be down from work and offered to help. That alone was a huge relief, so we decided we were going to the race track. Thanks to everybody else who offered to help out and get the cars ready — it was truly appreciated.”

Efficiency was top of Daniel’s mind, as he aimed to limit his exertion while extracting maximum points from the event. That meant simply getting to the lanes.

“I knew we could get by within the rules to the elimination round without even starting the car and risking further harm to my recovery. We skipped the non-compulsory qualifier and then attempted to fire for the compulsory qualifier as per the rules. Then in the first round we would have had Lisa.”

All the while, another factor was playing into the event — of the meteorological kind.

“I’ve never prayed for rain except for this day!” Daniel said. “We had worked so hard all season long to get where we were, and I didn’t want a health issue to stop that. As it was, it took a lot of strength just to get into the car, let alone go through intense rounds of racing.

“The good news is that I’m fully recovered and while I feel bad for the other racers and the fans who braved the weather, it was great to get the reward for such a big effort in the rest of the season. A championship has more races than just the last one.”

The WA season has now drawn to a close, meaning Scratch & Match Motorsport are now turning their focus to remaining rounds of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship. That begins with the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway this weekend, followed by Nitro Up North in Darwin next month. Both Daniel and his wife Lisa will be competing.
For Lisa, it will be her first time racing outside of Perth Motorplex.

“I’m excited to be heading to Sydney to race for the first time,” she said. “When we were there earlier in the year with Daniel’s car the conditions weren’t the greatest with hot conditions, but everyone was still putting down some impressive times on the new track surface. With some cooler conditions this time round, I’m sure there will be some even quicker times and hopefully me and the team can get our first five.”

For Daniel, a missed championship round earlier in the season means he is unlikely to take the national title, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play spoiler.

“The weather is looking absolutely brilliant so we are hoping for some fast, consistent passes and we will try to keep pushing along in the championship,” he said. “Ultimately if I could get myself into second place I’d be over the moon because after all I’m one whole round of racing behind Kelvin Lyle and John Zappia. If those guys have an average showing we can really look to climb the ladder.”

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, SP Tools, Go print, Dirty detailing, Final Drive Engineering, Gforce race cars, Resolution racing services, DMPE, Applied Automotive, Kinetic Engineering

-Scratch & Match Motorsport.

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