March 6, 2014: Judging by the smile on Darren Morgan’s face you could tell he was happy to be back inside the cockpit of his 8000hp Top Fuel dragster and racing against the best in ANDRA Championship Drag Racing.
But the biggest grin came on Sunday night when he defeated Alan Dobson with a stunning 4.66 to take out his first Westernationals ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree. Combined with his runner-up finish on Saturday night Morgan accumulated the most points from the event to begin his championship defence.
The 43rd Westernationals marked the return of Team DMR to the ANDRA Top Fuel championship after missing the opening round in January while searching for a marketing partner. The Labour Day long weekend saw the crowds come out in force with many saying that it was the biggest seen in recent years. And what a show it was from all the Top Fuel teams, recording 18 four-second passes over the two-days.
Darren Morgan and his crew turned up early at Perth Motorplex and tested on the Wednesday. It was the first time down the track since winning his fourth ANDRA Top Fuel championship at the Australian Nationals back in November. The team headed by crew chief Ben Patterson had been testing new parts in the last part of the 2013 season and were again testing a new combination in Perth.
“After adding new heads at the Melbourne event in October and a new clutch at Sydney in November we introduced a new supercharger program in Perth and we were very happy with the results”, said Patterson.
Over the weekend Team DMR showed why they have won the last three championships with a string of consistent A to B runs, recording six consecutive 4-second passes and besting with a 4.66 which is the quickest the team have run in recent seasons.
“On Saturday the car was consistent, but a little slower than we had hoped while we were working on the setup for the new combination”, said Morgan.
Under the three-round format Morgan qualified second with a 4.89, then defeated Mark Sheehan in the all-important elimination round with a 4.85 ET. Going into the A Final Morgan’s 4.86 was not enough to catch Phil Lamattina.
On Sunday the team started to see the true potential of the new package with the car getting faster every pass and resulting in some fast runs.
Morgan qualified third with a 4.74 then defeated Damien Harris in the elimination round with a 4.71 ET. Going into his second A Final for the weekend Morgan recorded a strong 4.66 at 323.74 mph to defeat Allan Dobson, setting Low ET and Top Speed of the day.
“We have been working closely with Darren Mayer and Lance Larsen over the last few months on these new superchargers and they performed beyond our expectations in their first outing”, said Patterson. “We started implementing the new combination during the end of last season and now that it’s all together and running well we are really excited about the untapped performance and consistency in the car”.
Several WA based company’s came on board to help DMR attend the event. “We really need to thank Royal Asphalt, K-Trans WA, Superoo Spares, Donewell Contracting, Austral Risk, JCB Cranes and Southside Engine Spares for allowing us to attend the event”, said Morgan, “as well as our major partners Victorian American Imports, American Truckworks, Shannons Insurance and our many associate partners”.
Morgan was also quick to credit Top Fuel Australia for their work getting the team to Perth. “Without the support of TFA we would not have been able to attend the event”, said Morgan. “They are working on some great initiatives to grow the Top Fuel category and ensure more great shows for the spectators like the Westernationals. I’d also like to thank Perth Motorplex and their staff for working with the teams to put on a spectacular event. The Perth crowds are the best and we are sure they went home happy”.
Team DMR are working hard to find a marketing partner that will enable them to run the rest of the season.
The next event for Team DMR will be Powercruise 47 at Sydney Motorsport Park on March 27 – 30 with the two-seater Top Fuel dragster. Make sure you come along for a chance to ride in the car.
Photo by Phil Luyer – www.highoctanephotos.com