NEW ERA DAWNS FOR AUSSIE NITRO FUNNY CARS.
Nitro Funny Car will return to the Australian drag racing scene as part of the National Drag Racing Series at Sydney Dragway, October 27-28.
The category has been part of the drag scene in Australia for over five decades and reached its peak in the 1990s around the time of the USA vs. Australia Funny Car Challenge held at Eastern Creek in December 1995 that starred Californian Gary Densham, who also won the Australian Nationals the same year.
Over time, the category slipped off the radar until it was resurrected as Top Fuel Funny Cars by the 400 Thunder Group in November 2022.
The formation of the NDRC in May 2023 saw the end of 400 Thunder and the Top Fuel Funny Car series and the introduction of a five-round Funny Car Championship for 2023-2024.
Unlike their dragster brethren, Funny Car will race over the traditional quarter-mile distance.
The opening round has attracted seven entries led by Aeroflow Industries' power duo Morice McMillen and Brandon Gosbell. McMillen won the 2023 Winternationals at his last outing and set a new Australian record of 4.72, 322 mph. The ex-New Zealander will have a brand-new car for the weekend and provided there are no teething problems, will start hot favorite to make history as the first-ever NDRC Funny Car meeting winner.
Gosbell, winner of the inaugural Top Fuel Funny Car meeting at Sydney Dragway in 2022, will be looking to take his second career win after finishing second to McMillen at the Winternationals.
The inclusion of Veteran American Tommy Johnson Jnr has added an international flavor to the meet. With 25 NHRA wins, Johnson will drive the Toyota McMillen campaigned last season. “Having watched previous rounds online from home, I know how competitive the Aeroflow Nitro Funny cars are,” said Johnson. “So I know I have my work cut out for me to bring the trophy back to the U.S.”
Anthony Begley, the most experienced Aussie funny car racer who has also competed on the NHRA, will be chasing his first NDRC title along with Altered racer Justin Walshe and Supercharged Outlaw champion Adam Murrihy behind the wheel of his recently purchased Dodge Charger.
Pro Alcohol will see the return of 21-time Australian champion Gary Phillips.
"We always look forward to going to Sydney,” said Phillips. “The track is nice and flat and the weather should be good this weekend. We will do all we can to set records and race as fast as possible without hurting stuff. Our car has been running well at Sydney since the resurfacing work and I think new records will be achievable."
Supercharged Outlaw champ Daniel Reed, the son of the legendary Steve Reed, will debut, and Russell Mills returns to the track in his one-of-a-kind Alky Funny Car.
Pro Stock has attracted 11 entries, with several of the categories leading lights, including championship-winning brothers Aaron and Tyrone Tremayne, missing from the entry list.
Greg Tsakiridis and Zoran Gajic have dominated Pro Mod in recent years and will be the pacesetters again this season. A welcome addition to the field is Victorian rookie Daniel Camilleri. The ex-Super Stock champion will race a 1963 Chevy Nova.