In his first visit to Darwin in the Northern Territory in twenty one years, former Top Doorslammer Australian champ, Gary Phillips has claimed his first official Slamfest win last Saturday.
With a last minute promoters decision to make the event a quarter mile contest as opposed to the traditional Slamfest eighth mile format, the hungry Darwin crowd were keen to see full track racing, and Phillips was quick to make his mark qualifying third.
But come eliminations, the Lucas Oils team rode the knife edge of overpowering the track, to consistently get the job done, with half track increments in the 3.9’s at 192 mph.
“We just set out to get down the track every run and just feed more power to the track until we went too far, but fortunately for us, we were right on the edge of what that track could take every time and we were quick enough to win every round through to the end .
Phillips eliminations process disposed of Daniel Gregorini and Scott MacLean with a pair of 6.0’s, the latter netting an impressive for the conditions 242mph (389.46kph), before facing off with Slamfest Series points leader Peter Kapiris in the final.
And with humidity levels even higher for the final than the previous rounds, the challenge was thrown at Phillips to outrun Team Kapiris in simply getting the car to perform better in almost rain level air moisture.
“It was always going to be right on the edge, and thankfully we were able to do what we’d been doing the whole meeting and not try and break any records but just get down the track efficiently and we did with another 6.0 while Peter got out of shape pretty much before sixty foot.”
After the logistical challenge of racing at three events in four weeks and travelling over five thousand kilometres, Phillips rated the Darwin win as massive reward.
“We’ve been scratching our head trying to work out the most efficient way of tackling this three race swing and at times it looked impossible, but to take the Lucas brand to new territory, at a track sponsored by our sponsors in front of a huge crowd and get the win; nothing could be sweeter,” the sixteen time national champion said. “Maybe the old Studebaker is trying to go out on a high.”
The Lucas Oils flag was flown at the winner’s celebrations on both sides of the Pacific last weekend, as Phillips took the Slamfest win in Darwin, while Morgan Lucas claimed the NHRA Top Fuel honours in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Gary and his team would like to thank Champion Spark Plugs for their valued support and also send out a big thank you and congratulations to Kapiris Brothers Racing for organising as well as winning the seven round Slamfest Series.
“Honestly we’ve come away from three weekends of racing over four weeks and have only had to do the usual service on the car. The big cost in this sport is when you’re hurting parts and with Lucas Oils, we’re finding the engine damage free every time we pull it apart. You can’t ask for more than that!”