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#1 Posted : Thursday, 7 May 2009 3:29:25 AM(UTC)

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Phil's Weekend Wrap Up
Wednesday, 6 May 2009

What a weekend! The Karcher Nitro Champs was a three day long event and it was brilliant to see over 350 teams entered. The team headed up to WSID as per usual on Thursday, and it was a very confident feeling within the camp. With testing completed at WSID just 3 weeks ago, and the Fuchs Top Fuel Dragster running on song, we knew given good running conditions the team had the ability to get the job done. The extra pressure was there to finalise the championship with one event remaining, but first of all we needed to get through qualifying to move forward.

Congratulations to WSID on preparing the best track we have run on at their venue. Conditions were ripe for Top Fuel to blast out some great passes, and fortunately the state of the track enabled us to do so.

We rolled out Friday night for Qualifying Session one with a conservative clutch setting. Our aim was to get the car down the track and see how hard we could power it up for Saturday. We ran a solo pass and jumped strongly off the line to put our first time down of 4.71 at 299mph. Friday night we slept knowing the track was good and we were aiming for qualifying at the top. Not an easy task considering Phil Read had posted blistering 4.56, but given our data from the first run, we had the tune capable of it.

Saturday again proved some excellent conditions for Top Fuel. Some sunshine and cool air meant all teams were going to be having a dip. We rolled out of the pits, and the longer we waited in the staging lanes the cooler the air was getting. Theo from Pavtek a close eye on the changing conditions and hoped we could get out quickly enough to suit our setup. We again were drawn with a solo pass, and the car launched very strong off the line. After looking at the increments from the pass, it was some of the strongest speeds and times we''ve done up to half track, so were were well on the way to a 4.5. Unfortunately though our engine let go and I shut off to coast through for a 4.85 at 222mph. A low speed with a quick time proving we had all the pace early in the pass.

As we got back to the truck to start the tear down, we realised the engine had been hurt a bit more than expected. Given the time needed to get it back to the best possible running condition, we decided to miss qualifying sessions 3 & 4 to ensure it was perfect for Sunday. Unfortunately this meant that we obviously couldn''t get further data from these runs, but at the end of the day we needed to make sure the best car was ready to roll for the first round of eliminations.

The first round of eliminations saw the team line up against Alan Dobson, someone we seem to meet regularly in the first round. I was able to get off the line hard and pull a slight advantage come half track, but the Dobbo team showed some great pace and reeled us in with only a few feet to the finish line. We managed to run a 4.72 at 318mph, but unfortunately for us, Dobson ran a 4.67 to take the win. As a team we were pretty disappointed to get knocked out this early. We go racing to win, and even though our result on the weekend put us in a position that is basically unbeatable in the championship, there''s nothing worse than not staying in the hunt for the round win.

Thanks to ANDRA and WSID for giving both our team and Jim Read Racing the chance to run an exhibition pass after the Top Fuel final. Its always nice to go out and have a crack if only to please the fans that come from around Australia. We''d unfortunately saved our best run for too late, as we hooked it up for a 4.62 at 320mph. Something we were hoping we could do earlier on Sunday, but that''s racing!

Congratulations to Darren Morgan on taking out his first round win since taking on the roll of team owner and driver. They showed great consistency on the weekend and did a top job to take the win against Dobbo in the final.

It was great to see the revamped Youngblood Ink have some strong presence at the track on the weekend. From staff and clients, through to their promo girls, they''ve now increased their involvement on the car for the remainder of this season, and no doubt next years livery, team wear, website and our autograph cards will look the best at the track.

We''ve got the final round of the season coming up in June at the Winternationals. We will officially be this years champions at the Winternationals. As a driver I can''t thank Theo and the crew at Pavtek for what they have done this season. Theo''s level of commitment and his ability to get the Fuchs Top Fuel Dragster down the track consistently fast and reliable has enabled us to build a large points lead. We rate Theo as one of the best tuners in pit lane and we look forward to adding another Top Fuel Championship to his impressive line of achievements next month.

For now thats it, I''m really looking forward to the Winternationals. I''ll be heading up a week earlier to race against Ben Bray in a Junior Dragster! It''s great to go back to the grass roots of the sport and support the up and coming kids. No doubt once Ben and myself put the visor down to go racing it will be a fierce battle all the way to the finish line. Just a little slower than our usual passes!

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