Top Doorslammer racer Pino Priolo is determined to prove his first sub six-second pass at the WA Nitro Slam wasn’t a fluke when he contests this weekend’s Westernations.
Priolo ran a 5.979-second pass at Perth Motorsplex two weeks ago, and the West Aussie is looking to build on the momentum of a strong rookie ANDRA Drag Racing Series year, which saw him finish sixth despite missing a round.
“We finally cracked the five second pass we had been knocking on the door for a long time,” Priolo said.
“We were real competitive in the West last year, so it was time to hit the road. It really was a great season. We qualified every round except in Melbourne where we got caught out and just missed the cut at position nine.”
Priolo, a former speedway competitor, said the transition to drag racing has been a steep learning curve because of the limited track time.
“When I raced Sprintcars, if the car was not right you carried the car for 25 to 30 laps and got through, but in drag racing you’ve got that one lap,” Priolo said.
“This would have to be one of the most competitive sports in the world.”
Despite being knocked out in round won of the opening round, Priolo is happy with how season 2015 is shaping up.
“Round one in Perth was just goes to show how competitive it is. We edged out Gary Phillips an icon of the sport who missed the cut even after running a five second pass,” Priolo said.
“Then we had Zap, we rolled through the light. I couldn’t hold the car after breaking a two-dollar bolt in the clutch fork and lost. That sort of stuff happens, but the team left that meeting with our heads up high.”
The Westernations has drawn a full field of 18 Top Doorslammers, including John Zappia, Stuart Bishop, Grant O’Rourke, Marty Dack, Maurice Fabietti, Peter Kapiris and Daniel Gregorini.
“The Westerns is going to be real tough but I know we are ready to take on the challenge, the team is in good spirits and I never go to a race track not thinking that I can’t win,” Priolo said.
“Stopping Zap is going to take a lot of effort. He is a class of his own but he is human and can make mistakes.”
The Westernationals will take place with qualifying from 3pm on Friday, 30 January ahead of eliminations from 9am Saturday, 31 January.
Image supplied © Jon Van Daal