Aussie Harker looking to be the 'crocodile' at the Gatornationals GAINESVILLE, Fla. - As the NHRA tour heads into Gainesville Raceway for this weekend's AC Delco Gatornationals, Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker plans to give the field...
Aussie Harker looking to be the 'crocodile' at the Gatornationals
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - As the NHRA tour heads into Gainesville Raceway for this weekend's AC Delco Gatornationals, Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker plans to give the field some Australian-style "crocodile" flavor. The 2001 Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals winner hopes to use consistency to score his second national event win in what will be his first full year on the U.S. tour.
The Brisbane, Aus., native, who now calls another Gainesville home, Gainesville, Ga., comes into the event hot off of a semifinal finish at the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opener at No Problem Raceway just outside of New Orleans. After running in the Australian Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks for nearly 15 years, Harker started running part time schedules in the U.S. in 1999. Now that he's retired from the trucking business, he plans to race stateside for the next five years.
"We plan to live and race here in the 'States for the next five years," said Harker. "That's my plan, while I'm still having fun and can drive one of these cars. We've mapped out 20 races this year, ten national and ten divisionals, and maybe more next year depending on if we find any additional sponsors."
"We would like to see if we can finish in the Top Ten," Harker continued. "If things go well, hopefully we can. This is the first time we've been able to run a full schedule and try to rate properly."
Harker didn't make the journey to the U.S. alone. His family based team consists of his wife Jenelle, daughter Kate and close friend of the family Darren Wong.
Despite having the possibility of racing in near perfect conditions on one of the country's premiere racing surfaces, Harker hopes to use consistency to achieve success.
"Our goal is to qualify well, and just run consistent mid to low 5.60's." commented Harker. "We also want to make a good showing for our sponsors Queensland Thermoking, Lucar Cargovans and Lucas Oil."
Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars, with two sessions. Qualifying concludes Saturday morning, followed by round one of eliminations that evening. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.