Read back to where it all began

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Queensland’s Steve Read will return to where his nitro career began when the ANDRA Top Fuel season launches at Adelaide International Raceway on October 20.

Read’s first event in a Top Fuel dragster was driving for team owner Santo Rapisarda at the South Australian venue back in 1995 and he said he has positive memories of the experience.

“I was thinking about it just the other day and remembering the debut there,” he said. “I’ve always liked the place. It has a great atmosphere, the fans are very vocal and I used to love going there.”

With a best run in his debut event of 5.38sec, Read has since come a long way. He developed his own Top Fuel operation and with a personal best time of 4.68sec performance is not an issue. Read runs his own transport business and has had limited time for racing over the past few seasons, competing at only the 2011 and 2012 Winternationals in his home state.

Adelaide presents unique challenges to the Top Fuel teams. The category will compete over a 1000 feet race distance due to the venue’s short braking area, something Read doesn’t mind.

“It will be my first time racing over 1000 feet; I think in a nitro car you don’t notice much because the last part of the track disappears in half a second,” he said. “You get off the throttle that bit earlier and for a few teams it helps save on parts.”

The racing surface is also unique as all-bitumen, not using a concrete launch pad. A new clutch system Read used at the Fuchs Winternationals in June paid dividends with a 4.69sec clocking only just off his personal best and he says his team comes into its own where track conditions are different.

“I don’t think it will be too much of a drama, since the last time Top Fuel was in Adelaide they have had a few more events there which will put some rubber down,” he said. “It’s just a matter of tuning to the conditions; I learned on tricky tracks how to tune cars.”

The ANDRA Drag Racing Series kicks off in Adelaide on October 20 featuring championship rounds of Top Fuel and Pro Stock.

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