Red CentreNATS 2022 – Friday

Red CentreNATS 2022 kicked into gear with a heady mix of nitro, methanol and mullets

Photographers: Ash Wilson, Shawn McCann

While wet weather put paid to plans to host the Red CentreNATS debut of Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer on Thursday, the weather gods smiled on us yesterday in Alice Springs.

However, unseasonable conditions meant the finals of Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer have both been postponed to future events. Nevertheless, a massive crowd was treated to an action packed day of racing at Alice Springs Inland Dragway.

In Top Doorslammer, John Zappia top qualified in his iconic HQ Monaro, to the tune of 5.967-seconds. Zap sent Matt Abel’s ’57 Chev back to the pits in round one, running 5.87-seconds to Abels’s 6.12-secs.

Kelvin Lyle’s Mustang dispatched Mark Chapman’s Plymouth, with Chapman hitting the wall and forcing him to retire.

Zappia took a bye run in round, two, while various gremlins with Abel’s ’57 meant that Lyle sailed through to the final – which will now be held at Summernats Slam at Heathcote Park Raceway.

It was a similar story in Top Fuel, with Damien Harris and Phil Read now booked to contest the final of the 2020 season at Perth Motorplex, 11 November.

And while the pro classes will have to wait to decide a winner, the Heavy Hitter brackets were all able to run to completion.

2016 Drag Challenge DYO winner Benny Phillips added to his extensive trophy cabinet, taking out the 11-second Heavy Hitter class in his trusty wagon.

Luke Matthews has had plenty of success at RCN over the years in his ’66 Cortina, including winning the Pro class in 2018 and taking out the 10-second Heavy Hitter bracket in 2010. He got oh-so-close to the cherries again this year, finishing runner up to Greg Hack.

David Todd from Victoria won the nine-second Heavy Hitter class in his tough Gemini, taking out Rick Shelton’s LJ Torana.

Waving the flag for WA, Phil Gardiner took out the eight-second heavy-hitter bracket in his Commodore ute. Packing a twin-turbo, 428-cube SBE combo, Phil has run deep into the sevens back home.

There were plenty of other activities to enjoy, including a truly epic Mullet comp! Congrats to all the winners, large and small.

While there is grudge racing on today, Saturday is all about the show ‘n’ shine at Blatherskite Park, the iconic Street Parade at 5pm and then burnout qualifying back at ASID.