Skilled Sydney-based Top Fuel driver Terry Sainty had a very solid effort during his first ever race ever in North America – albeit a non- qualified one.
Sainty, who was pegged as the driver of Santo Rapisarda’s dragster participated during last weekend’s NHRA Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals held at Pomona California, the season opening event for that 23 race Full Throttle Championship series.
The event which was hampered by uncommonly cool and wet weather saw Top Fuel qualifying limited to 3 runs and in the end Sainty’s best effort of 3.966 at 291.57 mph (to 1000 ft) sat 17th just missing the 16-car bump spot of 3.931 secs. While initially disappointed, Sainty did take the event and result in stride.
“Half of the battle was just getting here – there was a lot of equipment to move over,” Terry revealed. “Santo’s team did a great job preparing everything.”
Terry was also clearly thrilled with the opportunity – revealing it has been a lifelong dream for him to race in North America since first earning his TF licence back in 1992. His first lap at Pomona did serve as a reality check for him.
“On my first qualifier Del Worsham in the other lane ran 321 mph to the 1000’ mark – and that really got my attention!”
The Australia-based team and driver were again a popular attraction within the event pit area and the team is scheduled to make additional event appearances this season.
“Our exact season schedule is too be finalized – my focus is going to be one race at a time,” Terry added.
The Pomona event also included two other drivers from the southern hemisphere.
Fellow Australian David Grubnic was also on the DNQ list after the conclusion of qualifying driving the Kalitta Motorsports dragster. Grubnic’s weekend was unfortunately a trouble filled one that included a rather serious top end engine explosion on Saturday.
New Zealand native Grant Downing also continued his aspirations in the Nitro FC category. Downing raced in conjunction with veteran California-tuner Chuck Worsham at Pomona – but could not get his neat and promising new 2010 Dodge Charger in the swift field, finishing 21st on the qualifying sheets.
(Bruce Biegler Photos)