For PC Group Ford Mustang Pro Stock driver Jason Grima, the results from the recent Nitro Champs in Sydney was a mixed bag.
Grima has been in a point's battle between Wayne Daley since the 2012/13 Pro Stock Championship started in November last year at Sydney Dragway and was keen to use some of that home track advantage on the opposition.
Joined by his USA "Test Dummy" driver Brandon Huhtala, both qualified in the top half of the 16-car field with Grima in sixth (7.02), and Huhtala one step better with a PB of 7.019.
In what was openly described as the best display of Pro Stock racing in Australia, the first round saw four six-second passes, two of which were losing runs!
Huhtala was unfortunately one of those, when his slower reacting 6.982 was defeated by a 7.00 ET. On the upside that ET was a new PB and remained low for the event. It was identical to the National record set by Grima last year.
Not bad for a Pro Stock rookie!
The 'black' PC Group Mustang then defeated Daley in round two and went through to the semi finals where the car unfortunately broke before it reached the start line.
However the good news was that Grima was again back in the points lead – just!
"While the FUCHS Winternationals is no longer the final race of the championship, its still shaping up to be just as important for us," said Grima.
"Last year, we were not able to qualify as the race program was cut short by rain, and adding salt to the wound, was the fact that my brother Jonathon was in hospital. It was a very stressful time for our family.
"We have been racing at Willowbank Raceway for the past 10 years or so, but have not had the results we've wanted. For this race we have fresh engines in both cars and feel confident of performing well for our sponsors and the fans.
"The FUCHS Winternationals is still the biggest event on the ANDRA calendar and the biggest outside of North America with over 470 entries. You only have to see how many Americans will be here this weekend and most will be in the Pro Stock pits.
"We are pumped and focused on what we have to do this weekend and the more points we can put between us and Wayne Daley the better its going to be. It's time to shake the monkey off our back and get that win we have been chasing," said Grima.
For Huhtala, losing a race because of a slower reaction has been a bitter pill to swallow and he has openly admitted it hasn't been easy coming to terms with a pro tree. Back home in the States Huhtala competes in the NHRA Competition category so he has been taking every opportunity to practice on his PortATree in an effort to improve his reaction.
"I've never been to Brisbane," said the Seattle, Washington resident, but I hear nothing but good things about the track and the potential excellent weather conditions that time of the year. We have two fresh motors and I will be again testing some new parts at Willowbank.
"We are taking some things I learned on the 'blue car, and putting those to work on Jason's car. Along with our best motor being fresh, I believe he should be in really good shape.
"We are definitely excited about our potential at the FUCHS Winternationals and are looking forward to this one."