Aussie drag racing legend Gary Phillips is heading to Adelaide this weekend for the ANDRA Fuchs Springnationals in the hope that last-minute lessons learnt in Top Doorslammer can help fuel his run to the Top Alcohol title next month in Sydney.
Phillips, a 17-time ANDRA champion, will race his Lucas Oil 1953 Studebaker Commander this weekend in Top Doorslammer – and is confident that there's plenty to learn with the Top Alcohol championship on the line.
"We apply what we learn between the two Lucas Oil cars, the Studebaker we'll race this weekend, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo Funny Car we run in Top Alcohol," said Phillips, who has won 16-titles in Top Alcohol and one in Top Doorslammer (2007).
"That was one of the reasons we decided to head to Adelaide, because we have some unique challenges to tackle – and that will help drive us forward.
"It's a 1000-foot track rather than the traditional quarter-mile, and it's the only all-asphalt surface on the calendar. We also run at different times of the day, which presents other issues.
"The event really rewards those who can think on their feet and quickly find a strong setup with their car.
"It makes it more of a setup challenge rather than just racing the car – and with our strengths we hope to go there with an advantage.
The Fuchs Springnationals, held at Adelaide International Raceway in Virginia, around 30-minutes north of the CBD, is also a spectator's dream with grandstands close to the drag racing action.
"It's a great event, with excellent crowds turning up for the action," Phillips said.
"For spectators, it's fantastic! And it feels like the crowds are almost sitting on top of the racetrack – and could reach out and touch the cars. That's where the great atmosphere comes from."
For now, Phillips is headed to Adelaide with his eye on the prize.
"Of course, winning a 17th Top Alcohol Championship would mean everything to me - no-one has ever achieved that. But there is plenty of time still to go before the final round at the Australian Nationals in Sydney next month.
"So we're keen to get to Adelaide, learn all we can, and get some great results to take us into the final on a high."