Phil Lamattina has extended his run of Top Fuel wins to three following the first of two Westernationals championships rounds as Peter Kapiris returned to form in Top Doorslammer.
Lamattina was again a picture of consistency with consecutive passes of 4.67, 4.67 and 4.61 proving too good.
The Fuchs team knocked out Darren Morgan in the final despite a valiant 4.86 second pass from the reigning national champion.
Lamattina’s first 4.67 led qualifying, with Morgan the only other driver in the four second zone following a 4.89 on the hot track.
Allan Dobson’s 5.03 qualified third but the car had a cylinder dropped early and fireballed its way to the finish line, leaving the Uplift Cranes car unable to return for the elimination round.
Come race time things got wild as Morgan’s 4.85 got past Sheehan who had a big fire on board and hooked way sideways, thankfully keeping the car in his lane.
Lamattina was able to go wire to wire against Stamatis while Damien Harris had a solo pass with Dobson not making an appearance but a 4.88 would not make the main final.
A change in rules seems to have been made to the three round format that allows a loser to fill a bye run spot in the B Final. This resulted in Stamatis getting a second chance, facing and defeating Harris with an early shut off pass in an okay night for the Billview team.
But the show from Lamattina would be second to none on this night.
“The car was coming around, the track was coming around and in the final we had Darren (Morgan) and we thought if we ran another low .60 we’d be all good and what did we do? We ran a 4.61 at 327 mph,” he said.
“Tomorrow is another day. Just after six o’clock we’ll see what we can do and see if we can get the car running consistent, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. We’ll build from there and hopefully put the Fuchs Top Fuel dragster in the winner’s circle again.”
Meanwhile Peter Kapiris was quick when it counted but also relied on some luck in the final of Top Doorslammer.
A 5.85 in the elimination round got him in the position to fight for the trophy and when Mark Belleri’s supercharger popped, a tyre smoking, wheel standing, seven second pass proved enough for victory.
“We had a good semi-final,” he said. “The final wasn’t real good, that was partly my fault. Mark pre-staged and staged in one hit and that threw me. The RPM was all over the place which is why I went up in smoke.
“Hopefully I’m there again tomorrow. The car is doing everything it’s supposed to no matter what we’re throwing at it, it’s responding.”
Belleri is currently unsure if he will be able to make it back for the Sunday round, with a fire after the blower pop damaging some components on the Camaro.
John Zappia scored low ET for the night with a resounding 5.79 in the B Final to defeat Grant O’Rourke who qualified second.
There was plenty of emotion invested in the race with Zappia claiming earlier in the night that O’Rourke took too long to come into stage for their qualifying match up. On that pass Zappia clouted the wall about 200 feet out. Zappia was of course able to return but was using a spare door from the old Zap’s Rat.
Also in five second form in qualifying was Andrew Sutton, but he unluckily drew Zappia for the elimination round.
Stuart Bishop was aiming for a repeat of his win a month ago, also in Perth, but popped the supercharger in the elimination round against Maurice Fabietti.
Team Bray endured a tough night, with neither of their cars making full passes down the track. Ben did have a nice, new colour scheme on his Holden Monaro however, if looks count for anything.
Sportsman racers completed their qualifying with conditions coming around well for night time runs.
David Dequen pipped Andrew Katavatis to lead Competition into eliminations with a -.499 7.40 in E/AA.
In Super Stock, Jake Chaisty has gone sub record in H/MSA again and has top qualified but for all his efforts gets to face last year’s event winner Brett Glover in round one.
Greg Durack monstered BB/CB with a 6.83 and has a country mile lead in Competition Bike. Also running sub record, if not as far, was Ross Smith with a series of 8.3 second passes on his C/AB Suzuki Hayabusa.
Other leaders following qualifying include Vince Belladonna in Supercharged Outlaws, Michelle Osborne in Modified, Troy Slamar in Super Sedan, Luke Nieuwhof in Modified Bike, Bernie Ellerby in Super Street and Stuart Moorhouse in Junior Dragster.
We’ll bring you another report following eliminations tomorrow, until then enjoy our photo gallery from tonight (please excuse the lack of Group Three due to my own racing commitments – Luke).