Flying Phillips counting on New Years consistency
Drag racing's Top Alcohol front-runner Gary Phillips is riding a wave of confidence as he approaches the second round of the Australian Championship at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway on January 3, 2004.
The Brisbane driver expelled any doubts regarding the potential of his Lucas Oil Products dragster, when he unleashed a tirade of near perfect passes during the recent iTEL Community Telco Drag Racing Nationals season opener.
Such performances allowed the seasoned campaigner to take the early ascendency in the professional bracket and he's not entering any thoughts of failure when the double-header Top Fuel and Top Alcohol showcase is featured at his home track.
"We had the lowest elapsed times and the fastest passes to collect maximum points at the iTEL Nationals so you couldn't ask for a better start to the season," said Phillips.
"To secure a 5.6 at about 248mph on our second pass, with a whole new combination says a lot about how our weekend was.
"The weather threw us a few curve balls last month but judging by how it's shaping up we'll have a decent hot weather combo that should do the job for us in the new year.
As a Queensland based driver Phillips has the opportunity to test at Willowbank Raceway before January 3.
However based on the confidence he took from iTEL Nationals success he'll forego that option, preferring instead to challenge his opponents to reach the level he already has with his own dragster.
"The deal's as perfect as we can get it so I don't think any testing can gain us any advantage before January 3.
"From here on it'll be routine maintenance and we'll just hope for the best out on the strip.
"The Raceway surface pulled up very well after the Nationals and both lanes are pretty equal so it'll be the best on the day who'll take the points.
"It'd be great to keep plugging away and take up where we left off because it's such a tight competition that once anyone gets a bit of a lead they'll be very tough to peg back."
While Phillips is understandably confident towards 2004, another driver who'll be keen to get back to Willowbank Raceway is his iTEL Nationals finals opponent Wayne Newby.
The Sydneysider suffered mechanical problems at the staging area during the main event, which allowed Phillips a solo run victory and the perfect start to his season campaign.
January 3, 2004 -- Featuring Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer
Other racing includes: Supercharged Outlaws, SuperComp, Competition Bike, Modified, Super Sedan, Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster, Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson
General Admission $30
Pit Admission $38
General Admission $16
Pit Admission $24
Children 13 and under are free
Qualifying from 9am, racing from 4pm
Internet sites -- www.willowbank-raceway.com.au