Missing engine parts scuttle Read’s Nationals campaign

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Multiple Top Fuel drag race champion, Steve Read’s Australian Nationals campaign did not quite go to plan when engine parts being sent from America went missing on the way to Australia.

Read had ordered the parts for the 48th annual Australian Nationals, held at Sydney Dragway from November 1-3, after damaging an engine during Melbourne’s Calder Park Top Fuel championship series round two weeks earlier.


After frantic telephone calls to the US, Read was able to track the parts to Honolulu, Hawaii, but unfortunately, the parts were not due to arrive in Australia until after the Nationals event had concluded.


However, the Read Speed Racing/SuperCharge Batteries team were able to borrow or purchase the required parts from fellow Top Fuel teams, which allowed Read to compete in the final round of the 2013 (Australian National Drag Racing Association) ANDRA Top Fuel Drag Racing Championship Series event.   

Chasing his seventh Nationals’ title – Read has won four Top Fuel (1996, 2001, 2002 and 2009) and two (1992 and 1995) Top Alcohol Nationals’ titles – disaster struck in the first qualifying session when Read’s hand brushed the emergency (engine) kill switch, which deploys the (braking) parachutes and switches off the engine, which meant the RSR/SuperCharge Batteries team lost a chance to gather vital track and engine data.   


The second session saw Read move into fifth place with a 4.904-second at 286.86mph (461.65km/h) pass. Unfortunately, Read was not able to improve on that time in the third and final qualifying session, finishing qualifying in sixth place.


In round one of racing, Read’s car lost traction at half-track, losing to event runner-up Damien Harris.


“We lost vital preparation time early in the event, chasing the missing (engine) parts, which unsettled the team a bit, but with the goodwill of our fellow (Top Fuel) teams, we were able to source the required parts and get back on track,” Read said.


“In the first qualifier, my hand brushed the kill switch, which put an end to that session. We would have liked to have qualified several places higher than we did and go a couple of more rounds in racing.


“It is fair to say that this was not our best Nationals (event). We were on the back foot – with the missing parts – before we even fired a shot, but that’s racing.”  


Read finished the Australian Top Fuel championship series in third place with 421 points. He won the Super 3 Extreme event at Willowbank Raceway (Brisbane) in March.



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