If not working hard for his sponsors, or mixing it up on the TV screen on the ABC comedy series Upper Middle Bogan, Darren Morgan is also battling it out in the 2012/13 ANDRA Top Fuel championship.
Its been a stoushwaged between himself and Phil Lamattina throughout the season, and despite winning the Fuchs Nitro Thunder event at Calder Park, his lead of 84 points still hasn’t seen him pop any corks to celebrate.
The Calder Park event saw the return of ANDRA Championship drag racing for the first time since 2001. In attendance were four quality entries all ready to put on a nitro show for the Melbourne starved fans.
“With the three-round format it means we don’t have our usual qualifying sessions. So that made it tough,” said Morgan. Phil and I were here about 12 months ago for a match race so that at least gave us a little bit of track knowledge and data.
“But more importantly it was really cool to be back at Calder again and putting on a nitro show for the crowd. I’ve raced here many times when I had my Modified Altered so it has a lot of good memories for me.
While certainly no stranger to the facility, it was in fact the first time Morgan had contested an ANDRA Top Fuel championship round at Calder Park since stepping into the nitro ranks in 2004!
On the first qualifying session the DMR/American Truckworksdragster was testing a new fuel pump and shut off at 330 ft. For the compulsory qualifying session the gremlins continued with a faulty magneto, which took out the burst panel 0.6 seconds into the run.
Moving into the eliminations round, Morgan faced his championship rival Phil Lamattina. This was a huge marque match up for both racers with championship hopes on the line.
On the green both drivers left side-by-side, with the slight advantage to P. Lamattina. However shortly after, Lamattina had to pedal and trailed Morgan across the finish line with smoke billowing off the rear tyres. The result was a win to DMR with a 4.38 defeating a 4.45!
“We really needed that win to extend our points lead. It was a close race and great for the 7000 strong crowd to witness. Certainly nothing like side-by-side Top Fuel drag racing under lights.
“We were struggling a bit and trying to put on a show for the crowd,” said Morgan. Looks like it’s turning around for us. The boys on the team are working hard and we were not hurting parts, which for us is always good.
Moving into the A Final, Morgan faced Top Fuel rookie John Lamattina for the first time in competition. It was DMR’s sixth final round appearance this season, so Morgan was certainly the favourite.
On the green Lamattina Jnr grabbed a healthy holeshot with a 0.09 reaction to a 0.139,but shortly after his dragster started moving around giving Morgan the opportunity he needed to take the lead, and win with a 4.32 to a 4.55.
This was DMR’s third 1000-foot event victory following wins in Adelaide in 2012 and 2013.
“That was oursixth final and fourth win for the season,” said a very happy Morgan. When asked if he had done the maths and wrapped up the title, Morgan replied, “It is what it is. I’m not saying anything yet about a fourth Top Fuel title, but it sure is looking good for Sydney.
“We are the guys from the bushmixing it up with the best in the country, so how good is that? I’d also like to say how great it was to see John Lamattina make his very first Top Fuel final, and also to my crew chief Ben Patterson and the team for all their efforts.”
With the win, along with Low ET points, Morgan retains his lead and just needs to qualify at the Nationals to effectively wrap up his fourth overall Top Fuel Championship. It will also be his third straight title.
DMR’s focus is now on the Australian Nationals this weekend (Nov 1-3), with the Sydney track fast becoming his favourite, followingwins at the last two events – 2012 Nationals and the 2013 Nitro Champs.
“The Nationals is a very important race to win. It’s has a long history in the sport and is a race everyone at some stage would like to win. We won the event in 2012 and while the ANDRA Top Fuel championship is our goal, winning the Nationals is just as important for DMR,” concluded Morgan.
DMR will be hosting 100 corporate guests from L&H on Saturday at the Nationals and ramping up their marketing opportunities with Victorian American Imports coming on as the major partner for this event. It will also mark the second event with their new major associate partnership with American Truckworks.
DMR would like to thank their major sponsors – K Trans WA, Shannons Insurance, American Truckworks, Pavtec, and Victorian American Imports, along with our many associate partners.
Don’t forget to check out and like Darren Morgan on his Facebook page or www.darrenmorgan.com.au