Phillips heads to Winternationals with new National Record

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Claiming a new national speed record in Top Alcohol Funny Car was just the icing on the cake for Gary Phillips after his Sydney Nitro Champs campaign netted the fifteen time champion a finals berth along with quickest elapsed time (5.471) and top speed (261.07mph) bonus points for the meeting.

Losing to first time winner and former crew member, Steve Ham (5.52 to 5.54) in the final wasn’t enough to wipe the smile off the whole Lucas Oils team, after resetting their own national speed record to 261.07 mph (420.15 kph.)

“At least the ‘chutes came out this time!” chuckled Phillips, reflecting on his previous speed record set at the Perth Motorplex last year that ironically coincided with a parachute malfunction that beached the Lucas Oils Funny Car in the sand trap, destroying the new Mustang body.

But with the older, heavier Monte Carlo body reinstated, the car is as good as ever, also registering a crowd pleasing number 1 qualifying 5.471 elapsed time that unfortunately was unable to be backed up to replace Phillips existing TA/FC national record of 5.524.

“After doing this for a few years, you get pretty accurate on your guesses on the speed you’re going, and I knew we were fast on that run, but it felt good when the chutes came out this time let me tell you!”

The weekend’s haul of points also enhanced Phillips ANDRA Pro Series championship tally, extending his lead by 57.5 points over his closest rivals, heading into the final round at the Winternationals in his native state of Queensland in just over three weeks.

And when asked about his confidence going into the season closer at Willowbank, Phillips is reserved about his thoughts on another title possibility.

“We never “count our chickens before they hatch”, but obviously, leading the points is a pretty good place to be in going in to the final round,” he said, well aware that the team have to qualify in the very tough field to be in a good position to claim another national championship.

“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, with a great family and crew, and the best oil company in the world backing us all the way.”

The Lucas Oils Monte Carlo will begin the last leg of the 2011/2012 Championship assault with qualifying on Saturday June 9 at Willowbank Raceway.

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