Harker scores runner-up in Atlanta COMMERCE, Ga. - Aussie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker made his second straight final round appearance during this past weekend's Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac ...
Harker scores runner-up in Atlanta
COMMERCE, Ga. - Aussie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker made his second straight final round appearance during this past weekend's Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway. Harker used consistency to reach the final where he eventually lost to Frank Manzo.
Harker, originally from Brisbane, Aus., who now lives just miles from the track in Gainesville, Ga., qualified his 2001 Dodge Avenger fourth in the field with a 5.740 second elapsed time at 249.21 mph. In round one, he received a competition single when his opponent John Headley couldn't make the call and soloed to a 5.733 at 251.77 mph, then defeated Mark Billington in the second round with a 5.666 at 243.63 mph. In the semifinals, Harker defeated defending World Champion Bob Newberry with a 5.697 at 255.00 mph to set up his final round matchup with Manzo.
Against Manzo, Harker carried the front wheels off the ground much of the first half of the track, finally forcing him to lift after getting close to the wall. Manzo went on to take the win with a 5.608 at 259.76 mph.
"It was a good weekend for us," said Harker. "We had a bit of luck on our side, we ran consistent and ended up in the final. I think getting lane choice in the semifinals against Newberry was critical. I think a lot of people were having problems getting down the left lane. We didn't get any data from the computer on our semifinal run, so we just took a guess at the clutch for the final, and I guess we missed. It had the wheels way up, and I finally had to pedal it to get the front end down. By then, it was too late."
"The crew did an excellent job all weekend," Harker continued. "We have a small, but tight knit crew of my wife Jenelle, my daughter Kate and Darren Wong. We had some pretty tight turnarounds on Sunday, and we always had the car ready to go."
The next event for the Harker Motorsport team will be the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Red River Raceway just outside of Shreveport, La., where Harker hopes to not only carry some of the momentum from their two-straight final round appearances, but apply some of the refinements to the tune-up learned in Atlanta.
"We're starting to figure out what to do with the car in bad air," commented Harker. "We just want to keep running well and continue to be consistent. If we can do that, I feel we'll be in good shape anywhere. We also want to continue to make good showings for our sponsors Queensland Thermoking, Lucar Cargovans and Lucas Oil."