The second round of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship provided inspiring performances from new drivers as Russell Taylor won the 49th annual Goldenstates presented by Electrical Group Training, while Ronnie Palumbo scored victory in the postponed Springnationals round one final.
Qualifying at Perth Motorplex took place in hot and humid conditions. While John Zappia laid claim to the top spot with a 5.746 pass in round one, the attention in round two was on Palumbo and Lisa Gregorini. Their final re-run from the opening round of the series was due to take place, with a tremendous race served up to the West Australian crowd.
Lisa took the holeshot with a 0.120 reaction time to Palumbo’s 0.211, but the ACDelco Monaro drove around the outside for a 5.875 to 5.972 win — a margin of just six thousandths of a second.
“I don’t have any words,” an emotional Palumbo said after the race. “I just want to thank Maurice and Mary, my family, and my buddy Sam — thanks bro. She tree’d me and then it was an awesome race, (my car) picked up and drove around her and it was very close.”
Team owner Maurice Fabietti said with no-one happy with how the first version of the final ended in Adelaide, he was glad to see a strong resolution.
“We wanted to see a final and we wanted a winner, and we got that tonight,” he said. “Ronnie has been doing a fantastic job driving and I am sure Sam and Ronnie’s father Frank were there with him.”
The Springnationals was now settled, but the Goldenstates remained as racing took place across Saturday in front of thousands of fans, who were treated to not just Top Doorslammers but also NDRC championship rounds for Nitro Funny Car, Pro Alcohol and Top Fuel Motorcycle.
Four racers were sitting on two wins each after two rounds of racing: John Zappia, Russell Taylor, Daniel Gregorini and Ronnie Palumbo. That meant the A Final seeds came down to ET performance and in that department Zappia was standing alone, especially following a 5.728 pass in the second round. He would be joined by Taylor, whose Camaro was demonstrating great consistency across the event, while Gregorini and Palumbo would fill the B Final.
Across the field, teams were delivering efforts to be proud of. Among them was Jaydee Dack, who was racing for the first time in competition. He earned both a C Final win and his first five-second pass with a 5.950 to 5.983 contest against Lisa Gregorini.
Daniel Gregorini stepped up in the B Final, as a 5.831 denied Palumbo a sixth straight race win.
That left an all-WA final with Zappia against Taylor. It was a disaster for Zappia on the start line as a break in concentration saw him record a 0.514 reaction time, giving Taylor an almost half-a-second lead from the green. Taylor didn’t make any mistakes from there, delivering a clean 5.810 at an event high 253.11mph for his first professional drag racing win.
“This was the first time the car had been down the track at the Motorplex,” he said. “We took a softer approach to get comfortable with driving. From there we just chipped away, not wanting to overstep the mark and lose a run.
“We strived to overcome all hurdles prior to the event, so that it would be just routine maintenance between rounds keeping the car on track. Our strategy was about seat time and getting familiar with the sequences of a run so I could finesse the car throughout the pass.
“(Getting the win) was definitely a good feeling, as was knowing I get to celebrate with all the crew for the time they put into getting to the track and maintenance over the two days. Steven Ham, Stuart Rowland, Josh Ward, Al Carr, Adam Davis, Jack Taylor and Leanne Taylor gave it their all.”
The good news for fans of Australian Top Doorslammer racing is that Taylor has committed to competing at all of the NDRC championship rounds, the next of which will take place back at The Bend Motorsport Park with the Festive State Nationals on January 13-14, 2024.