The first qualifying sessions of the 2019/2020 400 Thunder season are in the books following day one of East Coast Thunder at Sydney Dragway.
Warm day time conditions gave way to an improved evening track, with most classes seeing plenty of jostling for the top positions in the third and final session. The weather is only expected to get warmer for Saturday’s eliminations.
Wayne Newby leads a tight Top Fuel field with a 3.839 from the Rapisarda team dragster, narrowly edging out team mate Damien Harris.
Arguably the highlight of the night however was Terry Sainty’s 3.99, the first time the Australian-built billet three valve has been into the three second zone.
Not so lucky was Phil Read, with the ‘Black Mamba’ breaking a crank in spectacular fashion, resulting in a lot of damaged components and a night of hard work ahead of the team.
Gary Phillips holds a familiar top spot in Pro Alcohol following his 5.458 efforts. Phillips was content with the time and chose not to run the final session. Jake Donnelly was the surprise packet with a PB 5.585 from the Pro Alcohol rookie putting him in third position.
The most spectacular moment of the night was when Rob Ambruosi went into a wild wheelstand in his Camaro at the start line when the wheelie bar failed.
Steven Ham has staked his claim as a legitimate championship contender in Pro Slammer with a 5.668 at a huge 258mph to top qualify. Kelvin Lyle’s new Ford Mustang is delivering great numbers with a 5.737, which we believe is a personal best for the Western Australian driver. John Zappia struggled until the final session where he managed a 5.86, while Emilio Spinozzi bumped the field with a 5.93, leaving Marty Dack and Michelle Davies on the outside looking in.
The unleaded fuel era hasn’t slowed down Pro Stock one bit – if anything the performance of the top runners seems to have improved! Wayne Daley’s impressive 6.915 was the leader after three sessions of qualifying.
Tyronne Tremayne’s brand new Camaro had no new car blues with a 6.929 for second.
Newcomer Clint George had a baptism of fire with no chutes on his first qualifying run, pulling the car up on two wheels as he got into the sand trap with one of the wildest saves you’ll see.
After some growth towards the end of last season with field sizes, Pro Bike only had four bikes show up for the opening round of their championship. Field sizes for the pros overall were down, with only 43 pro teams on the property.
Glenn Wooster still represented with a 7.279 to lead the way.