Joliet: Steve Harker final summary

Harker reaches final in Chicago JOLIET, Ill. - A new supercharger and new injector hat proved to be key ingredients to Australian NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car standout Steve Harker's runner-up finish during this past weekend's CARQUEST Auto ...

Harker reaches final in Chicago

JOLIET, Ill. - A new supercharger and new injector hat proved to be key ingredients to Australian NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car standout Steve Harker's runner-up finish during this past weekend's CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. Harker ran career-best numbers to reach the final and moved into second place in national standings.

Harker, originally from Brisbane, Aug., but now lives stateside in Gainesville, Ga., qualified his Queensland Thermoking/Lucar Cargovans backed Dodge Avenger No. 13 with a 5.774 second elapsed time at 255.00 mph after fighting tireshake in all three runs. Harker found the sweet-spot in round one, however, running a career-best 5.575 at 257.14 mph to take out Mick Snyder, then defeated Vern Moats in round two with a 5.660 at 256.31 mph. In his semifinal matchup with the 'Northwest Hitter' Bucky Austin, Harker once again encountered the dreaded tireshake, but was able to pedal through it and take the win with a 5.859 at 253.52 mph.

Harker's final round opponent would be defending World Champion Bob Newberry. Harker grabbed the starting line advantage, but had just enough tireshake to slow to a 5.648 at 258.12 mph, which was not enough to hold off Newberry's 5.573 at 257.53 mph.

"We went ahead and put the other injector on in qualifying and struggled a bit in qualifying," said Harker. "We just had to fine tune this new combination in. With this new supercharger, she's really got some ponies, and it showed with that 5.57 and later when we ran 258 mph. I really think with some fine tuning it can go 260 mph in those conditions. We started having some tireshake problems in the last couple of rounds, and I had to short shift it in the final. For it to still run a 5.64 short shifting like we did, really shows promise."

Harker is quick to point out his newfound performance has the price tag of a new learning curve. That curve will continue as the team heads to next weekend's K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., before heading back to Australia for several weeks.

"When you run at tracks as good as Chicago was, it makes it easy," stated Harker. "Now we need to learn how to get down tracks that aren't as good. We'll just have to see how the conditions are next week in Englishtown."

-sh

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Harker , Vern Moats , Bucky Austin , Mick Snyder