Morgan makes his championship move

This article brought to you by:

Darren Morgan strengthened his case for the 2010/2011 ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel championship with a win in round four at Perth Motorplex.

The event took place in tropical weather, with 40 degree temperatures plus 70% humidity making things very uncomfortable at the track on Saturday. A brief rain shower on Saturday afternoon did help to cool the track down and the racing surface was in great shape.

Crowds were strong on both nights, it was certainly the strongest crowd ever seen by this writer on a Friday night. They were treated to a display of Top Fuel racing that was simply spectacular. So let’s get into it. The rest of the meeting report will be coming soon.

Top Fuel

Paul Shackleton takes an early look at the track ahead of Q1.

Darren Morgan had plenty to be pensive about ahead of the event. He sat just two points ahead of Andrew Cowin in the series and with Hungry Jack’s on board again he needed to impress.

Terry Sainty took up a drive with Santo Rapisarda in the black Uplift Cranes car. As the third place sitter in the points, it was a valuable opportunity to stay in the championship hunt.

Phil Read and Damien Harris talk Top Fuel shop ahead of qualifying in the staging lanes.

The BTP girls brought some glamour to proceedings. Tractors parts have never been more attractively promoted.

The dragster isn’t a bad looker either. Damien Harris got down the track with a solid 5.05 on his first pass but stepped it up in the third qualifying session with a 4.81 which held top qualifying spot for a few minutes.

Andrew Cowin was testing during the week and recorded some good incrementals. His first qualifying pass got off to a bad start though with a cylinder out early and he went up in tyre smoke not longer after.

Phil Read’s Auto One dragster didn’t spin the tyres in the burnout but it didn’t seem to make a difference. The .840 60 ft time was the quickest of anyone all weekend. He got out close to the wall and buttoned off early for a 4.94. Makes you wonder how necessary burnouts are sometimes!

Mark Sheehan licensed earlier in the week and promptly took top qualifying position after Q1 with a 4.89/283 pass, an impressive debut by anyone’s standards!

Sainty went up in smoke in Q1 and in Q2 seemed to just lose power at half track, rolling through for a 5.77 which would be his best time of the night and stand him in seventh.

Morgan found the right combo in Q2, hitting a 4.86/313 to move up to number one spot.

Phil Lamattina struggled through qualifying. He buzzed the tyres and popped the motor, not returning for Q3 and leaving the team in bottom spot.

Martin Stamatis was back in the seat of the Billview car after missing the Willowbank round. He dismissed talk of a retirement from Top Fuel and ran a third session 4.92/292 to put him into sixth spot overall. Along with Read, Stamatis was controversially missing from the second session after it was deemed the teams arrived to the staging lanes too late for the session. The debate on show versus sport continues!

After watching Harris snatch the lead with that 4.81, Cowin put the Rocketship on track and recorded a 4.77/318, with a pedal. The speed would stand as top speed for the event.

Read, looking for all the universe like Darth Vader, busted out a 4.91 to settle into fifth spot…

…the incrementals included a 3.16 time to half track, putting the car on an easy 4.6 lap. But as you can see he got out close to the centreline and buttoned off.

The Cowin team were left rather happy with Pro Auto’s Greg Carter providing them with a $1000 bonus.

And so on to race day. Read got an early jump on Sheehan and didn’t look back for a 4.89 to 4.91 win. Sheehan’s car had a green tinge to the headers early…

…and his was the first to expire, going pop here…

…before Read’s car also went up with a big mushroom cloud of fire. Surprisingly there was no oil in either lane!

Morgan would dodge a bullet next with a 5.02 time the slowest full pass of eliminations, but Stamatis had plenty of issues in his lane…below he demonstrates the Top Fuel shuffle.

Morgan’s pass didn’t go all to plan either, with a fire in the braking area.

Sainty silenced the strong local crowd by upsetting Harris in a tight 4.89 to 4.99 race. It served well to keep his championship chances alive.

The upsets weren’t yet finished. Cowin had to pedal at half track and that saw Lamattina drive past for a 4.82/312 against a 4.99. The Fuchs team were back. Cowin would return later meantime for a 4.69/317 grudge run.

Sainty got the advantage on Morgan on the line in their semi final and looked to have it wrapped up until the Titan car again lost power and Morgan scorched by for a 4.81/316 victory over a 4.89. It wasn’t over there for Morgan as he only had one chute come out and he nudged the dragster into the sand pit.

The other semi final would be one of the most thrilling Top Fuel races seen. Lamattina and Read have a history of tight races at Perth Motorplex and this one was no exception. Read took a .085 to .087 holeshot but Lamattina clawed back with a 4.806/314 to a 4.808/311. It was a .000 margin, with the computer finding four centimetres decided the race Lamattina’s way.

Lamattina took lane choice for the final and the race was on…

…and as you can see he put quite a holeshot on Morgan but as he went up in smoke about 200 feet out, Morgan hot footed away for a 4.83/313 win. Yet again though there were troubles in the deep end and this time it was no chutes at all. The car went deep into the sand with the brakes glowing red hot but Morgan emerged unharmed and elated with his victory.

Aeroflow Performance Parts Catalogue

Drag News Magazine