For a non-championship class, Nitro Funny Cars still serve up their fair share of off-season madness and things have been no different with the class getting a massive stir over the last few months, particularly out West.
Matt Treasure will be the new driver of the Greene Machine Nitro Funny Car this season, shifting up the ranks from his own methanol-fuelled Funny Car.
“It’s a big change of plans from the end of last season, I was going to give racing a miss for a while but I’ve always wanted to go nitro racing,” he said.
“I’d heard the position was available so I rang Allan and had a yarn with him. I had a think about it and came to come to the conclusion it was not a bad thing to do.”
Treasure plans to have his first drive of the car in October, with licensing required to be done over the course of two days.
He said he has spoken to one of the Greene Machine’s former drivers, Allan Dobson, to get some advice on what to expect from a vehicle that can accelerate to 290mph in 5.3 seconds.
“From all accounts it should be a little easier in terms of what you have to do on the start line, there is no launch revs to get right, no getting off the clutch pedal or swapping feet,” Treasure said.
“I think the speed from quarter track onwards is what will catch you out, this thing will just keep pulling.”
Treasure wants to build his skills so he can eventually provide feedback on how the car is performing from the driver’s seat, not a simple task when it is pulling 5Gs and the engine is producing over 160dB of noise.
“The better you understand the car the better you can give some feedback, but it will probably take 10 to 12 runs before I know what it is happening,” he said.
There will be some fresh equipment coming for the car to boost performance even further and edge the car closer to the 4sec. zone and passes over the elusive 300mph mark.
“We’re going to spend a little bit of money and buy some billet blocks, maybe upgrade the rear end and safety wise the car has everything it needs,” Treasure said.
Being able to concentrate on just being a driver is new for Treasure and he is glad to have the experience of a team that has campaigned a Nitro Funny Car in the modern era for almost 15 years behind him.
“It’s comforting doing it with Allan and Cheryl (Greene) because they’ve done it for so long, Allan knows what it is like to make it work, he lives and breathes the thing,” he said.
“You could get a current USA car but having the knowledge to do it is a different thing, money doesn’t buy you success.”
WA Top Alcohol driver Anthony Begley has a busy few months ahead of him in drag racing, about to start licensing in a Nitro Funny Car and also bringing back a Top Doorslammer from Queensland.
Begley was asked by Queensland Nitro Funny Car owner Rod Bailey to drive for his team in a new car Bailey has just brought in from the USA.
He will make his first passes on 6 July and hopes to finish licensing on 10 July with the team aiming for the Sydney Funny Car event on July 31 to debut.
“Rod was looking for someone to drive and (current Funny Car racer) Damien Harris had spoken to him and I about it,” Begley said.
“We got talking and Rod needed someone with the alcohol Funny Car licence already. We’re hoping it will be a smooth transition.”
Begley said the car will be run with an older body to start with but all the mechanicals underneath will be up to the latest specifications.
When licensing for his nitro licence is done with, Begley will then turn to his new Top Doorslammer which was bought as part of an auction of ex-Brett Stevens Racing vehicles.
Begley said that he didn’t intend to purchase a car when he went along to the auction.
“It was a spur of the moment thing, I wasn’t going to buy it but I couldn’t believe the prices they were going for,” he said.
“To start with I bought it for parts and I was going to take the good stuff out of it and swap it with the Funny Car.”
Plans have since changed with some interest from sponsors in running the Ford Falcon in Top Doorslammer.
“We might have a crack at it this year and play around in the local rounds,” he said.
“The potential with sponsors at the moment is more with the Doorslammers. The only thing is that the Doorslammers are a lot tougher than Top Alcohol.”