Report by Mark Fleming
Anthony Marsh has lowered New Zealand's Top Fuel performance mark, with a 5.089-second/272.89mph blast in his Mount Shop dragster at the United Oils Shootout at Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere, on the weekend, while Wayne Yearbury also set new standards for Kiwi Top Doorslammers.
Heavily promoted as an assault on both the 4-second and 300mph barriers on the dragway's new track surface, the United Oils Shootout saw Marsh face Reece Fish in a first ever side-by-side Kiwi Top Fuel contest.
Both teams had purchased ex-Australian fuellers in the past year or so; Fish the 'first in the fours' Uyehara dragster from the Shepherd family, Marsh's car an ex-Kalitta/Jim Read Racing car.
The 5.08 was officially the best from Marsh's Mount Shop car, while Fish, who held NZ's previous best mark at 5.22, could only manage a 6.015 on the day having earlier suffered a huge explosion (see video below).
While the four second barrier was not broken, on an earlier untimed test run the Marsh car, tuned by American Dom Lagana, showed its true potential – data overlaid from a 4.87 pass before the car landed in NZ indicating it had run in the 4.90 zone.
Having conservatively campaigning his KC Tools Studebaker doorslammer for the past few seasons, former Australian tourist Yearbury produced this first truly indicative run in his car, stepping up to a 6.160/235.89 to officially become NZ's quickest and fastest Top Doorslammer pilot.
Also on hand at the Waikato venue were the nitro burners of former Australian Top Fuel Motorcycle champion Athol Williams, and Kiwi Funny Car racer Willie White.
Williams wasn't up to his best, but still produced a 6.900/204.01 from his orange missile, while White had problems keeping his Pontiac fuel coupe glued to the surface, running a best of 6.046/166.05 on the newly flattened and re-sealed quarter-mile.