Steve Harker Memphis wrapup, Baytown preview

Tricky track sidelines Harker in semifinals MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Aussie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker ran into tricky track conditions en route to a semifinal finish during this past weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing...

Tricky track sidelines Harker in semifinals

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Aussie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Steve Harker ran into tricky track conditions en route to a semifinal finish during this past weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Memphis Motorsports Park. After qualifying No. 2, Harker lost to eventual runner-up Jackie Stidham.

Harker, originally from Brisbane, Aus., qualified his family prepared Dodge Avenger No. 2 with a 5.663 second elapsed time at 252.14 mph. In the first round, Harker got the win when his opponent, former U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-Winning cyclist Marty Nothstein fouled out. Harker shutoff after launching into severe tireshake. The aborted run cost him lane choice and put him in the tricky left lane. Harker launched to the same fate in the semifinals against Stidham, and aborted the run.

"We got held up quite a bit in the first round," said Harker. "They held us at the line for several minutes while they were trying to clear a car off the top end of the track, while our car was running. It got it pretty hot, and nearly run out of fuel. Luckily for us, Marty redlighted, I saw the redlight, and shut it off when it started shaking. That caused us to lose lane choice in the next round. The track just didn't hold what we threw at it. We were trying to run another 5.66. I could tell when I was backing up from the burnout the track just wasn't there."

From Memphis, the team will head straight to Houston Raceway Park for this weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil.

"The air was pretty crazy in Memphis," commented Harker. "But we still learned quite a bit. Hopefully we'll be able to go to Houston and get the car into the low .60's."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars with two sessions followed by one final session Saturday morning. Eliminations begin Saturday afternoon with round one, and final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.

-hm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Harker