From Nitro Funny Car track records that were broken and then re-broken, to a history-making Top Doorslammer final match-up, day one of the Goldenstates has been a truly amazing affair for the NDRC in Perth Friday evening.
The 49th running of the Goldenstates event will continue at the Perth Motorplex Saturday November 25, hosting racing for round two of the NDRC Nitro Funny Car, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle and Pro Alcohol championships as well as for Australia’s best sportsman racers, who are simultaneously battling for Western Conference points in the Aeroflow Sportsman Championship and ANDRA Series (SRESS).
The Nitro Funny Cars are headlining the WA proceedings, with Morice McMillin and his Aeroflow machine having the crowd on their feet early when he set a new Motorplex track record of 4.83 seconds (previously 4.87) in only the second Nitro Funny Car pass of the night.
That effort saw him on top of the timesheets for the 11,000hp/500kmh nitro-breathing monsters for Q1, but it was a position he would not hold for long, with his team-mate Brandon Gosbell laying down an exceptionally impressive 4.782 at 491.75kph in the Rocket Industries entry to swiftly reset the ‘Plex track record in Q2 and take over the top spot from McMillin. McMillin improved his best marker in Q2 to a 5.802 at 484.16kph but it wasn’t enough to take back Top Qualifier honours.
Making the results for both Gosbell and McMillin even more impressive is the fact that both came with early shut offs.
“It left pretty good and then it started trucking through the middle, getting a bit skatey at the top end, so I really had to steer it,” Gosbell explained.
“We are just getting warmed up here – I really can’t wait for tomorrow to really have a swing at this race track!”
“How good is that!” enthused McMillin after Q2.
“The Rocket Aeroflow team is badass man; this whole team is impressive, and Brandon and I are along for the ride.
“It ran exactly as it should have, and I am really looking forward to coming back tomorrow and putting on a show.”
Hometown hero Anthony Begley ensured the Nitro Funny Car qualifying got off to a dramatic start, snapping a blower belt off the hit in Q1 in the first Nitro Funny Car pass of the night, with the belt splitting the oil tank to put oil under the tyres and on the track, leaving Begley to man handle his out of shape Chemical Warfare NFC. With his second run of the night aborted on the startline, he heads to tomorrow’s racing at the bottom of the time sheets.
Last-round winner Justin Walshe in the Harts Paint Supplies NFC was 3rd quickest after Q1 with a 6.135/237.37kph pass, a position he maintained in Q2 with an improved result of 5.82/282.27kph. Adam Murrihy meanwhile had a sketchy first qualifier and got off it early after leaving strong, and in Q2 had the chutes come out very early – not that that stopped him from thundering down the race track for a 6.299/220.54kph pass to the delight of the crowd.
The nail-biting drama wasn’t limited to the Nitro Funny Cars either, with Top Doorslammer in particular having the fans on the edge of their seats with not only the fight for the top qualifier spot, but also the re-run of the Dragway at The Bend A-Final between local Lisa Gregorini and Sydney’s Ronnie Palumbo.
Following plenty of anticipation, these two rookie racers well and truly delivered in a heart-stopping side by side race to the finish line in a history-making A-Final match-up.
Gregorini had the advantage off the startline, but when it came to the finish, Palumbo was able to cross the line first by an incredibly close margin of just six inches, or six one thousandths of a second.
Accepting the Gold NDRC Christmas Tree at the end of the track, Palumbo was clearly emotional.
“I don’t have any words,” the Sydney-sider said through tears.
“I want to thank Maurice and Mary Fabietti, AC Delco, my sponsors, my family for coming to Perth – this is for my buddy Sammy, thanks bro,” he said, lifting the trophy to the sky.
“She treed me – well done Lisa. It was an awesome race, and it was very close.”
“Isn’t that just fantastic,” added team and car owner Maurice Fabietti. “No one was happy about how it finished in Adelaide, we wanted to see a final. Whether it was Lisa or us who won, we didn’t care, we just wanted a winner and we got that tonight – fortunately it was us, but it is just fantastic isn’t it.
“Ronnie has been doing a fantastic job driving and I am sure that Sam and Ronnie’s father Frank were in the car with him.”
While Palumbo took the delayed Dragway at The Bend glory, it was John Zappia who claimed the Top Qualifer spot for the ‘Slammers, topping the sheets with a 5.746 to lead into race day ahead of Daniel Gregorini (5.847) and Palumbo (5.875).
In Pro Alcohol, last-round winner Russell Mills had a scary moment in Q1 when his unique looking dragster, often dubbed the ‘Batmobile’ by young fans, snapped to the left in front of Paul Carey, leaving the championship leader to wrestle the car back across into his lane, taking out some timing blocks in the process.
He was able to well and truly redeem himself in Q2 however, blazing through for a 5.700 second pass to take the top spot off Nigel Johnson, who in the pass before had knocked off Craig Glassby’s Q1 topping 5.811 with a 5.791.
In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Benny Stevens leads the way on his Fuelled machine in the 10-bike field courtesy of a wheel standing 6.610/322.43kph effort. Wayne McGuinness was second quickest for the evening with a 7.240/318.88kph effort.
The Goldenstates action continues Saturday November 25 with racing for all these brackets plus the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship. For full event info, schedules, tickets and more, go to ndrc.tv and motorplex.com.au.
Photos by High Octane Photos & Phil Reeve.