Nitro Champs – Sydney Dragway, April 30,
May 1 & 2, 2010
Friday - Day one.
With everything set for the race and the
previous days McDonald’s Rising Star Promotion completed it was time to
get into race mode.
With only one qualify session scheduled
it was disappointing to have an aborted run due to the cold conditions
and again the dreaded tyre shake.
Back to the pit area with not much data
from the run and me with a headache, our crew serviced the car and
prepared for the next day.
Saturday - Day Two.
With two qualifying sessions scheduled
for today we felt a lot more confident. Qualify session # 2 was an
overpowering the track experience, our car smoked the tyres at about
third track. Back in the pit area again, minus a headache, the car was
prepped for the next session, ready to go with no damage evident.
Qualify session #3 on Saturday night
proved that our race car could run down the tricky cold conditions in
the night time session. Bruce and the crew setting the car up soft and
running a great 4.73 ET at over 300mph to move us into the second
qualifier position. It was a true credit to the team to run the way we
Sunday - Day Three Eliminations time.
The first round was a match up with one
of my favourite competitors, Amanda Sheppard’s Dad (BOB). On a funny
note, I raced Bob one event and he beat me and I swear I could hear him
in the shut down area celebrating while both cars were still running
yelling out, ‘what’s up, can’t you keep up with this old bloke, young
On the run I had a slight advantage at
the start line and ran low elapsed time of the meeting at 4.65ET, again
at over 300mph to take the win and move to the next round.
Semi Finals, I was up against my team
mate . In round one Martin had a great tight race coming
out on top with a 4.71 ET to a losing 4.72 ET to take a great win.
Both Jim Read Racing dragsters left the
line even, with Martin starting to pull ahead, then his tyres started to
spin, my car blasted out another 4.6 ET run again at over 300 mph to
take the win and move into my third final in as many races.
Its all down to the final round, I was
matched up against Mark Mariani from the Santo Rapisarda Racing Team,
with the burnouts complete and both cars into stage it was a flash back
moment to the old Castlereagh days when the ‘De Don’ Top Fuel Dragster
driven by Marks dad Mario Mariani racing against the Chesterfield
Dragster of my dad Jim Read. So here we were, both Mark and I, two
second generation racers ready to race.
I left first with a .057 reaction time to
Marks 0.85 reaction time. I knew at the 60 foot mark my car was hurting
and would probably end up on fire, but I couldn’t see Mark (whose car
was hurting also) so there was no lifting. In what was described as very
spectacular we both drove our cars, on fire to the finish line with Mark
beating me to the line with a 4.97 ET to my close, but not quite good
enough 5.05 ET. The run may have been spectacular but let me tell you it
got extremely hot in the seat.
This was Marks first ever win in Top Fuel
and in a funny way I was glad to share it with him even though I didn’t
win as our families have raced together for many years.
It was an emotional and a great win for
the Rapisarda Racing family whom I have also grown up with at the race
track, so, congratulations to them all as well as Mark Mariani for his
great driving effort.
With a runner up finish at the event, we
have moved to second spot on the championship ladder, only 15 points
behind my team mate , and 1 race left to go, the
Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland over the June long
Our crew worked tirelessly and
professionally again all weekend, it was a pleasure to drive a car that
is so well prepared and I thank them for that.
A special mention to our apprentices from
MTU Detroit Diesel at Kings Park & Chipping Norton and especially Ben
for coming up from MTU in Dubbo.
Thank you also to our great sponsors, we
wouldn’t be able to run at this level without their continued support.
Auto One, Valvoline, Wynn’s, MTU Detroit Diesel, McDonald’s, Snap On
Tools, Bullet Eyeware, Odyssey batteries, Hurlcon Pool Equipment and
See you at the track,
Regards, Phil Read