Monster team eyes title after tough testing

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Shane Tucker is considering himself lucky in the lead up to the ANDRA Pro Series Westernationals following a moment that could have ended in disaster during testing.

His Monster Energy Pontiac GXP broke a conrod in the motor, threatening to destroy thousands of dollars worth of equipment, however as far as breakages go it was a polite one.

“Generally when these things break a conrod it’s a big deal,” Tucker said. “It broke it at 9600rpm and generally if that happens it never ends well.

“I caught it fairly quickly; about three tenths of a second after it broke I was off the gas. Whether it was luck or good measure I don’t know. But when we pulled the oil pan off the next day to inspect the damage we literally could have put a new rod in the thing and ran it that night.

“So I guess if you’re ever going to blow one up that was about as good as it’ll get!”

A negative is now being turned into a positive, with the motor being sent back to the team’s home base in Queensland for more research and development.

“Since we had a bit of time we thought we’d box the motor up and ship it back to the race shop in Brisbane for a freshen up and back on the dyno to find another five or six horsepower hopefully,” he said.

Broken conrod aside, Tucker said the new Pontiac seemed to be working really well.

“We struggled a little bit in Sydney with tyre shake which potentially cost us the semi final race and again in the first test run in Perth it shook really hard,” he said. “So we made a couple of suspension adjustments and it seems like we’ve found the sweet spot.

“Going into the Westernationals we shouldn’t have to chase our tails too much on car setup and just concentrate on tune up and of course my driving.”

Driving is an area where Tucker still feels like he can improve his skills and he has turned to his father, a champion drag racer in his own right, to help get him on the right track.

“I have really struggled over the past year or so. I expect a lot from myself when it comes to my driving so when I don’t perform well I really take it to heart,” he said. “My dad Rob won the championship in 1998 winning four straight races so having him in my corner is a huge asset. He is really calm and relaxed so I’ve been taking in a lot of what he’s been telling me.”

Tucker currently sits fourth in the championship after one round and is confident that the Monster Energy team has what it takes to make an assault on the title.

“The last couple of seasons we have been really unlucky with parts failures so hopefully that’s all behind us and we can go some rounds,” he said. “I honestly believe we have a race car we can compete with this season. It’s all about consistency and our aim is to make back to back runs.

“If we happen to set a national record in doing so then so be it but the main aim is to go rounds this season.”

The ANDRA Pro Series Westernationals will be held at Perth Motorplex on March 3 and 4. General admission tickets start at $31 and are available from

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