NITRO THUNDER REPORT: Reed and a world record star in Pro Alcohol

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Steven Reed’s affliction with good results at Sydney Dragway continued with the Allstar Batteries Pro Alcohol funny car winning over a stellar field of racers, while Justin Walshe starred with an alky altered world record.

The Pro Alcohol field of the 2021 Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder event was reduced with the withdrawal of Rob Ambruosi due to needing a medical procedure completed. This still left a field of eight cars to contest the three round All Run Format.

With no shake down runs due to weather, the first round was always going to be hit or miss. Round one opened with an altered versus funny car battle. Brett White clocked a PB in testing but ‘Carlos’ was also misbehaving, this continued here with White not getting to 60ft under power while Greg Clayton – who had a thrash with a cracked fuel tank repair – powered to a 5.84/240mph in typical altered style with three power wheelstands.

Steven Reed had to pedal through some shake against Cameron Ambesi’s dragster to record a 5.71 win against the dragster’s 5.81, there was still no disappointment from the crew chief Jeff Cutjar and the Ambesi team however with it being the car’s best run by a bunch. The altereds were dialled into the new Sydney Dragway surface, Justin Walshe in his first pass since 2019 ran one of the quickest alcohol altered passes in the world with a 5.643/250MPH against Donnelly who red lit when the DBS funny car dragged through the beams.

The first round was capped by championship leader Gary Phillips taking on relative newcomer Mark Rowland in the former Steven Ham funny car. Phillips had recorded quick incrementals in testing and at the green both cars left evenly before the Phillips funny car was a dead duck shaking and popping the blower before half track, Rowland lit the boards up with a 6.02 for a huge upset win. We would not see the Phillip’s funny car for the rest of the event.

Rowland’s luck continued in the first pairing of round two when Clayton picked off a cherry from the tree. White was the beneficiary of the missing Phillips with a solo but the electrical gremlin that has been plaguing the funny car struck again as ‘Carlos’ propped and banged the blower on the launch. In a repeat of the round one match-up, Reed drilled Ambesi on the lights and rocketed into the developing darkness with a 5.52/263MPH to guarantee his claim for a final round appearance points-wise against the dragster’s 5.87/228MPH. Walshe would need to win and out run Rowland’s 12 second pass to face Reed for the event win, though Donnelly was looking to amend for his first round red light.

Donnelly did his job on the line tattooing the Walsh altered to the tree with a .034 light, but then the DBS funny car was wildly loose, and Walshe was un-altered like dead straight clocking a 5.74/247MPH win to meet the Reed funny car in the final.

The field was diminished in the third and final round with White succumbing to the gremlin and remaining in their pits. Rowland’s string of upsets continued winning his third straight round with a nice 5.74/244MPH against Clayton who had to pull the chutes early when the wild altered headed for the wall at half track. It was disappointment again for Donnelly with the DBS car falling silent on the start line as he watched Ambesi zing the tyres on the hit and roll to the finish.

The event final shaped up and delivered as one of the best races of the event, Walshe had the jump in the altered but the MPH of the funny car was enough to drive around the altered at the stripe with a 5.513/262MPH charge. The win was almost overshadowed however with Walshe’s 5.583/252MPH, the quickest pass in the world from an alcohol powered altered.

“We’ve been running the supercharged altered in Competition Eliminator since 2007, and we finally stepped up to Pro Alcohol three years ago, and the whole drive was to be able to run a 5.50 in an alcohol altered, and we finally achieved it.” said Walshe.

“Win, lose or draw, it was all about running that ET.”

“This car will run 40s, we just have to find a way to get it lighter, very hard to build them to power/weight ratio to be legal, so we are actually nearly 250lbs overweight. If we can get that weight out of it, this thing is going to be a bullet.”

The win for Reed will the team as the ones to beat for the championship at the Winternationals.

“Fantastic to win another race, congratulations to Sydney Dragway for putting on the event and getting it through with all the weather and hardships,” said Reed.

“Thanks very much to out hard working crew this weekend, because of COVID we were missing a couple of key members – Jason and Steve Jack, appreciated all your help every other time. We appreciate all the help everyone gives us.”

“We tackled a new track, a new crew, tyre shake and a few peddles to get the job done. Also a great final with Justin Walsh and team with a PB for that team – Congrats”

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