Raceview’s Steve Read on his way to qualifying fastest in the Top Fuel category at Willowbank Raceway’s New Year Series on Sunday.
Raceview’s Steve Read on his way to qualifying fastest in the Top Fuel category at Willowbank Raceway’s New Year Series on Sunday.

Washout costly for top qualifier

MONDAY’S washout of day two of Willowbank Raceway's New Year's meet could cost Steve Read $10,000.

That was the prize money forfeited when the round was abandoned, with Raceview's Read the fastest qualifier in the Top Fuel category.

Read blazed to the top of the time sheets with a 4.785-second pass at 302.21 miles per hour (486.36kmh), set in his first qualifying pass of the afternoon.

Second and third-fastest respectively were Andrew Cowin (4.868s) and Phil Read (5.448s).

“I'm absolutely rapt we had the best car time and speed on Sunday,” Steve Read said.

“I made some pretty big changes in the off-season.

“We changed the clutch, fuel system and cam shaft.

“For the first run, we used data that we had from a previous New Year series effort and mirrored those settings, and although it dropped two cylinders on the run we still ran the 4.785-second pass and secured the low elapsed time (ET) and high speed so far.”

The changes paid off but not as much as they might have had the finals gone ahead on Sunday.

Read will only contest Willowbank events this year because of financial constraints, so missing the finals of an event he was confident of winning was a huge blow.

“I think we could have run it earlier in the day knowing (the rain) was coming,” he said. “In the end it cost us around $10,000. I was pretty confident we would have won.”

Read and his team were competing in honour of team member Steve Goodwin, who passed away recently following a brief battle with cancer at the age of 52.

“It was also great to have my old crew chief Ray Ward back with us at the weekend,” Read said. “He took a lot of the pressure off me and we are able to work together to try to get the best out of the car.”

In Top Alcohol, reigning champion Gary Phillips raced through to a top qualifying performance in the final qualifying round.

He set the low ET and high speed of the meeting.

Second and third-fastest were Aaron Hambridge and Wayne Newby.

“We have new parts on the Lucas Oil Funny Car and we had been sneaking up on it across the evening, improving with every run,” Phillips said.

Coming up at the Ipswich drag-strip is round two of the New Year Series on Friday, January 14, and Saturday, January 15, featuring Nitro Funny Cars, ANDRA Pro Series brackets Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock, and feature category Pro FX.

Read's next foray on his home track will be on March 25-26 for the 2011 Top Fuel Championships.



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