National: Steve Harker Las Vegas summary

Harker holds onto No. 2 in National Championship! Pomona, CA - For Australian Funny Car driver, Steve Harker the 2009 NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car season has been a true rollercoaster ride that ended on a high note. The team successfully...

Harker holds onto No. 2 in National Championship!

Pomona, CA - For Australian Funny Car driver, Steve Harker the 2009 NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car season has been a true rollercoaster ride that ended on a high note. The team successfully held onto the number 2 position in the National Championship and claimed their third straight South Central Division Four Title.

Only three weeks ago, the Gainesville, GA team headed out to make the most of their western swing tour. Harker competed at both the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals and LODRS Division Seven events held at The Strip in Las Vegas followed by the season ending Auto Club World Finals in Pomona, CA. The team produce mixed results across the three events.

Starting out at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, Harker qualified strong with a 5.62et at 257mph to place the team in the number 2 qualifying position. Round 1 of competition saw the teams worst results for the season. Harker's car developed a bent rocker arm around the 1000ft mark slowing the car to a 5.75et at 211mph handing the win the fellow division four competitor, Steve Burk.

Coming out strong a week later at the Lucas Oil Division Seven event also held in Las Vegas, Harker went low qualifier with a 5.64et at 256mph! The team made a strong run to the final with passes of 5.64et and 5.63et. The final round paired Harker against Steve Gasperralli in what was to be a pedal fest for both drivers. Gasperralli was able to get his car hooked up and drive around Harker for the win.

Moving across to the world finals in Pomona, CA gave the Harker team even more challenges. The first session saw Harker go low with a 5.59et at 257mph only to burn a piston in the 2nd qualifying session and consequently having to change motors and miss the third and final session.

With a new motor and no data Harker gave it all he had in the first round to defeat Paul Gill with an impressive 5.57et at 258mph pass. Round two, Harker defeated rookie driver, John Lombardo Jr with a 5.54et at 256mph pass moving Harker to the semi-finals to face Shawn O'Bannon who also matched Harker's 5.54et in the second round.

Looking to better his 5.54et from the previous round, Harker and O'Bannon went head to head with O'Bannon coming out on top defeating Harker's 5.57et with an impressive 5.53et. The Harker team learned the cause of their slower elapse time was due to a broken crank trigger.

"This has been one crazy season. It just seems one high was followed by two lows" comments Harker "We have to give special thanks to our sponsors, Lucas Oil, Hedman Hedders, OMS Graphics, Southern Safety Supply, I40 Inc and Styla*Mount for their support this seaon."

"It feels great to secure a second place finish in the National Championship and also claim our third straight division title which is impressive considering the limited amount of races we did this year." Said Harker "Thank you to all my hard working crew, Joseph Satterfield, Daniel Rice, Kate and Diana, Michael Kirk, Dan Olson, Max and my wife Jenelle for another successful year."

-credit: hm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Harker