19 Times Australian Champion, Gary Phillips has continued to celebrate an outstanding 20 years of partnership with Lucas Oil, by claiming victory in his Lucas Oil 1953 Studebaker Pro Slammer, at last weekend's Nitro Thunder event at Sydney Dragway.
After making significant changes to the car's suspension set up, the team was rewarded with their first ever runs into the 5.7 second zone (with a 5.760 and a final round winning 5.722).
"We fitted the latest shock technology available from JRi to the car, and instantly saw an improvement. It's a dream to drive now ", said Phillips.
The first round saw Gary turn on the win light with a 6.13 at 244 after some tyre shake and a big pedal. The team was excited after seeing some promising early data, along with a .981 sixty foot time, and proceeded to make the necessary changes to the set up for the second round. The changes worked well in the second round, with a 5.76 at 246mph showing on the scoreboard.
"As we said in our pre-event media release, we've known that we had the power to run quick, it was just our suspension set up that was letting us down. We were going to chase our early incrementals, and were rewarded well."
Eager to back up the second round performance, some other small changes were made and after running 3.77 at 203mph to the eighth mile, Gary stopped the finish line clocks in 5.722 seconds at 249mph, to take the final round win over Victor Bray. This now makes Gary the 3rd quickest Slammer in Australia, behind only John Zappia and Ben Bray. The win also puts Gary into 2nd place in the 400 Thunder Championship, just 39 points behind the leader, Mark Belleri, with one event remaining.
Gary and his Lucas Oil team were pulling double duty on the weekend, competing with the Pro Alcohol Funny Car as well. After laying down low ET and top speed of the event in the first round of racing with a 5.42 at 266mph, the team missed the setup for the ever changing track conditions for the second round that resulted in a tyre smoking pedal fest. A close 6.08 at 261mph charge came up second best to a 5.99.
Unfortunately, this meant a missed chance of racing for the trophy in the final round. However, that didn't stop the team from coming back and running a winning 5.44 at 265mph in the other pairing. Gary has also maintained his 29 point lead in the Pro Alcohol championship, over Wayne Price.
"Heading into the final round of the championship, we now have a chance at both the Pro Alcohol and Pro Slammer championship crowns. We're excited with the performances of both cars, and with the best cars Australia has to offer competing in this 400 Thunder series, we can't wait to battle it out at the Winternationals in just a few weeks time".
"Thanks again to our major partner of 20 years, Lucas Oil Products, along with our crew for their hard work and also to our associate sponsors, Hoosier Racing Tires, Speedflow, J Payne Race Engineering, RaceMAX Direct, Leanders Clutches, and Manley Performance Products for their continued support".
You can follow Gary & Debbie Phillips Racing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GaryPhillipsRacing
Photo credits: Dave Reid / Dragphotos.com.au