The championship won but not yet won

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If Darren Morgan claims the ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel Championship at Willowbank Raceway’s Castrol EDGE Winternationals over June 10-13, it will be the first time an owner/driver has taken the title since Jim Read in 2006.

Morgan, who won the 2004/2005 Top Fuel championship driving for Lamattina Top Fuel Racing before starting his own team Darren Morgan Racing, is currently 101 points ahead of the last-round winner Read – a three-time Top Fuel champion and son of Jim Read.

With Morgan only needing to present for qualifying to secure enough points to lock away the title, both racers will be focusing hard on winning the event – the largest and most prestigious drag racing event held outside of the United States.

“This year’s been a lot of hard work from all the guys on the AEG Powertools/Hungry Jacks Mildura team,” he said.

“The Nitro Champs was very disappointing – we have worked hard on ensuring we can get the car down the track and improve all the way through the meeting – the March meeting at Willowbank was the proof of that.

“The weather wasn’t kind in Sydney and that cost us some track time, but I cannot use that as an excuse.

“Even so, we go into the Castrol EDGE Winternationals looking pretty good – we just have to present for qualifying to earn enough points to secure the Championship, although that doesn’t take any of the pressure off! The boys are working hard and we’re heading there to win.

“The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is the biggest event in Australia and it is the one that we all want to win, so once I strap into the orange beast, the Championship will be completely blocked out – the goal is to get down the strip and show we are the best in the country. Then walk away with the Gold Christmas Tree and the Winternationals Trophy as well.”

Read was the last round winner, which saw him vault from fourth to second on the championship points ladder, and will be focusing hard on spoiling Morgan’s party and claiming the Castrol EDGE Winternationals Gold Christmas Tree.

“With the championship chase how it is, we will be throwing everything at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals,” said Read.

“All Darren has to do is present for qualifying and he will have enough points to put him out of reach even if I win the event and claim all the bonus points available.

“The season so far has been a little frustrating with mechanical issues again, and whilst they have been infrequent they have affected our points chase.

“We still hold the quickest Elapsed Time of the season at 4.57 seconds which we set at the first race of the year and we have also been the only team to push that time with our low 4.60 run at the recent Nitro champs meeting, so if we can manage to finish the year off with a win – which we intend to do – and confirm a second place finish in the points it will be a great achievement with the way our car has been throwing us curve balls this year.

“Our Strategy is and always will be to win the race and run well into the 4.50 second range. The Winternationals is the biggest race of the year that everyone wants to win bar none – I have won there before and the team with dad racing has won a whole heap of times, so we will be making every effort to take home another Gold Christmas Tree.”

Morgan, Read and the rest of the Top Fuel roadshow will be joined on track at the season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals by the rest of the ANDRA Pro Series ranks – including Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer , Top Bike, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, alongside the racers of the Rocket All Stars Racing Series sportsman categories, with in excess of 500 racers set to hit the Willowbank Raceway quarter-mile across Friday June 10 to Monday June 13.

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