The new Sydney Dragway racing season has been launched with the rebranding of the track championship to the “NSW Drag Racing Championship Series”, for which the first round of six has been run and won.
With a new racing surface and absolutely perfect racing conditions, something of a rarity after the tumultuous last season, but the racing gods seemed to be smiling again on the venue and racers who had a clean slate for the championship chase.
The green surface has continued to impress all with a whole load of personal best performances and eleven track records bagged.
The track will continue to look at features to bolster each of the track championship rounds along with a concerted local advertising campaign, for this event there was some Nostalgia Nitro match racing. The two nostalgia funny cars from Cowin Family Racing and front engine dragsters of Steve Turner and Norm Longfield performed some match racing to stir the nitro juices.
With four nitro breathing nostalgia cars on the grounds, the FED’s were paired up in the first round, Mark Mariani driving Steve Turner’s “Black Widow” had problems shutting off early while Longfield clocked a 6.46 and only 187MPH hazing a lot of smoke through the finish.
The funny car pairing saw Andrew Cowin’s return to the drivers seat in the Nitro Express flopper and his first pass was a boomer running 5.97, 232MPH, in the other lane Olive smoked the tyres hard off the line in “Fast Company”
The FED’s did not return for round two, but Cowin and Olive put on a sensational display, hauling a superb side by side pass, 5.90, 235MPH to a 6.08, 226MPH respectively.
Mariani ran a solo in the third and final round hitting a 6.39, 225MPH personal best for “Black Widow”
Cowin and Olive had the final pass of the day, both cars started to hurt themselves, Cowin getting 3 from 3 wins with a 6.38, 211MPH to Olive’s 7.22, 151MPH.
Top Comp fell short coming into eliminations following the withdrawal of several of the four runners in qualifying. Hopefully as the season unfolds we will see more runners with the increasing profile of the track championship series.
With no bracket now Sean Mifsud did keep the Camaro on track all weekend producing some wild wheelstanding passes and a best of a 6.23.
Matty Lisle was spooling those twin turbos as he sorts out the new combination in his Probe running a 7.02 best.
Running in Top Doorslammer trim Geoff Gradden ran 6.41 before packing it up.
Mike Watkins has stepped up to CC/AA and ran on the index with a 7.49 but suffered mechanical problems.
Super Comp boasted a solid field but also had trouble getting cars to the eliminations with only three cars making the call.
Steve Dimech has the wick turned up on his 13B CC/SM Dato running quicker and quicker all weekend. A 7.52 (7.97) in the first round was a huge personal best in defeating Daniel Schultz. In the final a 7.58 was enough to hold off a pedaling charge from Sam Sadek.
Sadek made up a all rotary final with his 20B BB/SM coupe, now with the force of PAC in his corner the RX3 has turned some amazing numbers recently. A 7.35 (-.44) had him third in qualifying and a 7.30 on a single into the final hurt the index, something I don’t think the big fella was concerned about. The final had the Mazda chasing and a out of the groove 7.44 would not peg back Dimech.
Schultz are continuing to step up the performance the B/AA, running a couple 7.48’s (-.28).
Jason Both top qualified with a sensational 7.30 (-.66) in his BB/SM RX3, a awesome feat on a small tyre, but hell broke loose in the breaking area when the engine go sending the car into the right wall before barrel rolling ten times. The car obviously is destined for the junk pile but Both was taken to hospital for scans but for the best part uninjured.
Signorelli blasted a 6.42 at 220 MPH (-.55) in qualifying resetting the track record but did not compete in eliminations.
George Rehayem had the old girl out but had mechanical drama’s that they could not rectify over the weekend pulling out of the event along with the Super Stocker’s of Clint George who set the B/APA track record in qualifying with a 7.60 (-.34) and Gary Watterson’s B/GA Commodore.
A seven car field in Supercharged Outlaws showed promise but was ravaged with mechanical failures leaving four to face eliminations. Reigning track champion Jeff Penton continued where he left off with another victory over Norm McCormack.
McCormack dialed in with a 7.30 in the final but a .166 reaction left too much of chase on Penton’s 7.66 (7.58).
After breaking his previous altered in two several months ago Mal Gower was back in a new immaculate Topolino bodied altered. Gower went down in the first round against McCormack as he tries to sort out the wild new ride.
Michelle Davies was also returning to competition in her new outlaws Torana, a 7.17 in her first round loss to Penton was a personal best as Michelle comes to terms driving with the extra horsepower. She did return later in a grudge run to uncoil a 7.03 at 201MPH.
Chad Taylor’s Landrover had a failure in the transmission in the final qualifying sessions after running a lazy 8.18 ruling him out, he was joined on the sidelines by Anthony Bool’s Falcon and Dearne Stephen who decimated a diff but ran a earlier 7.05 in the altered.
Top Sportsman increased their ET limits to encompass any car 8.99 and quicker to even up the fields with Super Sedan.
Fresh from earning the Super Sedan national title, Steve Fowler kept on the winning ways defeating Dallas Whyte in the final with a 7.67 (7.66) over the Pontiac’s red light.
Running the car recently bought from Steve Fowler, Whyte was within a 1/100th of his dial in all day, not bad for a rookie driver, shame about the cherry.
The turbo cars continue to impress, Rob Campisi top qualified with a 6.29 (.977 short time!), for his half of the quickest side by side turbo pass in the country with Johnny Briscas going 6.54 in the other lane. Then in the next qualifying session a 6.30 second pass produced a stunning speed of 242MPH from the Mustang!
Not turning “Campo” numbers yet, but with a only a couple of full passes in the bank Briscas’ Camaro is turning heads.
Greg Fowler reset the track record in his new GXP with a 6.92 and 199MPH, Fowler also made it to round 3 before being shut down on the line when facing son Steven.
Peter Pronesti ran a 7.55, 185MPH personal best with his big cube nitrous Torana.
Joe Geri was into the personal best action as well with a 8.20 from the twin turbo Lexus powered Capri, not bad for a car driven to and from the track!
The turbo brigade kept on coming, Joe Gauci’s 7.29, 200MPH which equaled his best.
Peter Pisalidis beached the twin turbo Camaro after his 7.04 (7.00) first round winning match up with Adam Attard., but fell to Scott Cousins 2JZ Dato in round two, Cousins who made it to the semi finals also bested with a 7.59 in qualifying, the conditions producing outstanding performances all round.
Hercules Kazanzidis joined the long list of racers who outperformed their previous bests cracking into the seven second zone for the first time while reaching round three of racing.
The last time Coral Dyer raced she finished upside down in the sand trap after a stuck throttle careered her dragster into the catch net. After a rebuild and battling personal challenges Coral has returned to track and conquered all taking her first the win in Modified defeating another first time finalist Leon Flack
Flack’s 8.21 (8.15) would not beat Dyer’s 8.09 (8.06) in the final.
Mark Bool made the semi’s but lost to Dyer when the normally consistent dragster faltered.
Andrew Musgrave top qualified with a 7.54, but the Brad Penn altered’s run ended in round two with a double breakout battle with Dyer.
Track champion Jenny Petrie broke out in the first round against Peter Brown.
Alan Rawson lost to Flack in round one, his AA/HR now powered by a twin turbo Lexus V8 to be just a bit different.
Simon Ardley was behind the butterfly of Rocco Tambourello’s 2JZ turbo dragster for the first time and took it for a test flight.
A pair of Super Street racers showed up the Super Sedan field when foot brake, no electronic needed racers Joe Zammit and Michael Little stepped up from Super Street this season and faced each other in the final, Little the victor.
Zammit is no stranger to finals, but a red light in this one handed the win over to the Torana of Little.
Frank Oliveri reached the semi finals but broke on the line.
Tony Huysman’s top qualified his new Camaro with a 8.87
New to car to the Super Sedan ranks was this sweet blown Capri of John Jankov running mid 9’s.
Airtime!, Chris Papadopoulous had the XW reaching for the clouds on every pass and went three rounds of racing, then combined with Jorge Leiraro’s showing why Sydney’s Super Sedan bracket is so popular.
Robert Simmonds picked up the double in Modified Bike, after falling one win short of a national championship, Simmonds top qualified with a 8.90 and picked up the win over Rob Wilkinson.
Rob Wilkinson made it a all Hayabusa final, but a cherry ended it on the line.
Gary Miller had the Beull in the semi final but also left before the green sending Simmonds into the final.
Brendan Sanders made the trek up from Victoria for some competition action but lost to Clinton Camilleri in round one
Camilleri had the Yamaha hiking the front wheel and did reach the third round before being outed by Wilkinson.
Michael Dwinger was out again trying to come to terms with his new ride.
New track champion Stan Nikitaris continued his form with a win in Super Street over a cherry picking Dave Gardiner.
Dave Gardiner dusted off the old ride while his new Super Sedan is at the doctors, but it was all over in the final with -.066 red light.
James Barnes broke out in the final with his tough XT 11.18 (11.26) against Gardiner.
A number of racers had to put cars on the trailer for running too quick for Super Street rules, like Rod Hanckel’s big truck going 10.92 off the trailer underestimating the track and conditions .
Track champion Rick Dudek flicked the long time monkey off his back defeating national champion Joe Catanzariti for the first time ever to claim a win Super Gas. Dudek was killer in eliminations running 9.909, 9.902 and 9.910 in the final to claim a deserved victory.
A 9.912 of his own in the final, Joe Catanzariti was by no mean slouchy.
Bill Hatzi was struggling for consistency from the Camaro but in the final qualifying session clicked a perfect 9.900, Hatzi defeated Michael Voase in round one in a double breakout before going way too quick against Catanzariti in the semi.
Michael Voase normally is seen racing his Pro Charged Torana in Super Sedan (and he was at this event), tried his hand in Super Gas for the first time with a LC Torana.
Evan Murray was another new track champion who backed up at round one with a win in Screamin’ Eagles over Steve Stanley.
Stanley cut a .001 light in the final but his 12.04 (11.86) still was not good enough to claw back Murray’s 12.33 (12.25)
Chris Sullings made up the rest of the semi final contenders but a .604 light wasted a 11.41 (11.40) against Stanley
Robert Axisa headed the qualifying sheets with a 10.44
Robyn Hines drifts her Harley in the first qualifier.
Toby Austin made up for the win then lose rerun drama of the last event by taking out the win here against a red lighting James Hazzard.
James Hazzard made his first final but was a little to eager picking off a cherry.
Dominic Leonello top qualified with a 8.05 in the ex Mills Dragster.
Plenty of emotion with juniors on display
Don Zammit went one step better than brother Joe by winning Street Fighter over Greg Robbins.
It was a hole shot loss to Greg Robbins, a .293 light didn’t give the 14.12 (14.00) run much hope against Zammit’s back off 13.90 (13.67).
Brendan Luke top qualified with a 13.07 in his Falcon Ute, Luke normally seen running mid sevens in a altered has a new FED in the build while the altered has been sold to a Perth racer.
Next round of the NSW Championship Drag Racing Series will be held on the weekend of August 20 and 21, look out for Nitro Funny cars match racing and plenty of the best sportsman racing Sydney has to offer.
Watch plenty more action here courtesy of Madman Productions, definitely contact Neil at madman_productions@hotmail or www.cacklingpipes.com to secure footage.
Day 1 Highlights
Day 2 Highlights