ROGAN SETS HIMSELF FOR TIN TOP TITLES A 20-year hiatus from the sport of drag racing hasn't hindered the ability of current ANDRA Australian Pro Stock Drag Racing series leader Dave Rogan. His ability across the quarter mile competition ...
ROGAN SETS HIMSELF FOR TIN TOP TITLES
A 20-year hiatus from the sport of drag racing hasn't hindered the ability of current ANDRA Australian Pro Stock Drag Racing series leader Dave Rogan.
His ability across the quarter mile competition distance has him well poised to claim the Championship title during his first stint back in the drivers seat.
The Noosa Heads racer became disillusioned two decades ago, when the lack of a suitable work environment coupled with a dwindling list of willing crew members brought about a self imposed exit from the sport.
But it's hardly an aggressive assault or a campaign driven by any perceived lost opportunities that sees the veteran driver commanding the top post in the lead up to round four of the Australian Championship, during the Queensland Times Tin Top Titles at Willowbank Raceway on April 23/24.
The Group One double-header is headlined by Jack Daniel's Top Doorslammer and Travelaire Tours Pro Stock categories and holds a special place for the re-invented Dave Rogan.
"I started when I was a teenager racing a Monaro in the C-Gas category where I captured a couple of National records and even won a few meetings including many Tin Top Titles events down at the old Surfers Paradise strip," said Rogan.
"From there I put all the running gear into an altered and continued to remain competitive until everything just became too difficult.
"I was reluctant to even be involved as a spectator and just plugged away in my Sunshine Coast floor covering business.
"But on my 50th birthday I decided it was now or never and set about planning my return.
"I've always loved sedans so the move into Pro Stock was a natural progression.
"They are very much the quarter mile version of the Australian touring cars in that the level of development, technology involved and the overall preciseness of the vehicles ensures that you're always running on the limit.
"There's definitely a huge rush in having such awesome power at your disposal and while the trip only lasts about seven seconds it tends to stay with you for a lot longer."
Rogan has mastered his 400 cubic inch, small Block Chevy powered Oldsmobile Cutlass to a deserving 35 point lead in the series over Victorian Nick Xerakias.
That effort has come courtesy of an event win during round two at Willowbank Raceway's iTEL Nationals extravaganza over Jason Grima, following on from a finals loss to Xerakias in their opening finals encounter.
Since then a washed out Sydney meeting has provided limited competitive outings but Rogan maintained consistency by claiming the lowest elapsed time and fastest mile per hour bonus points during qualifying.
That's not a bad preparation towards what will be the continuation of a drag racing tradition on April 23/24 at Willowbank Raceway.
"As far back as I can remember the Tin Top Titles has provided an awesome showcase.
"Back in the late 70's you could come away from the Tin Top Titles with a $1000 winner's cheque, that's how big it was and I'm really looking forward to putting in a big effort.
"I'm loving it at the moment and feel fortunate to have made such a great purchase from Peter. (Ridgeway -- former owner/driver).
"You couldn't get a better bunch of guys crewing for you and they're happy with me in the car so it's a fantastic atmosphere in the lead up to, and on race days.
"I feel like a teenager again and the enjoyment factor is what continues to drive me.
"The few times we've competed in Sydney I've driven all the way down there as I've been that pumped up about the whole thing.
"As a meeting draws closer I find myself getting very excited and competing at the Tin Top Titles in front of a big home crowd later this month will be a huge buzz."
Among Rogan's many fans is his 19 year-old son Matthew who also forms part of the experienced pit crew who took Peter Ridgeway to second place in the Championship last season.
In 2004/05 that same comradery exists but the entire team realises there are just a handful of points separating the top five, which includes reigning Champion Tony Wedlock.
The battle lines have been drawn, setting the stage for a titanic battle during the Queensland Times Tin Top Titles as a hardened campaigner rediscovers his passion for speed and sets about claiming another slice of quarter mile success.