June 29, 2015: Darwin drag racing fans have had to wait some time for the return of six times Top Doorslammer champion Victor Bray to Hidden Valley Drag Strip but the presence of the Australian drag racing legend will be more than worth it.
Bray and son Ben will be competing as part of the opening round of the ANDRA Championship at Nitro Up North on July 8 and 9, joined by a full field of their Top Doorslammer opponents plus four Top Fuel Dragsters and six Top Fuel Motorcycles.
Now striking a far more trim figure, Bray was back behind the wheel in Queensland recently for the first time in two years, running back into the five second zone and reaching the quarter finals of the Winternationals.
“It was good to get back behind the wheel at the Winters,” he said. “I was hoping to do a test day or two prior to the Winters to refresh and get used to the new foot brake Ben fitted to the Chev, but it wasn’t to be so It was straight in the deep end at the first qualifier.
“Having lost a few kilos helped both with bringing the car onto weight and feeling more comfortable in the car, but we will make some changes to the seat prior to Darwin as it is a little large.”
While his driving skills might be a little rusty, Bray has been testing some new transmission hardware in his famed 57 Chev, hoping it will eventually produce a performance edge on his opponents. Rather than a traditional manual transmission with a clutch, Bray is now using an automatic.
“We feel we see some direction now after the Winters but it will take several events on different surfaces and varying weather conditions to know our real position,” he said. “With the Doorslammer competition level continually getting tougher and tougher our first goal will be to try and qualify both cars.”
Bray has been a frequent visitor to Darwin – he estimates he had made 30 to 40 trips to the Top End for various shows between drag racing and V8 Supercars. While Victor himself has not raced on the new surface before, the team does have experience with Ben’s Century Batteries Corvette.
“I have been racing in Darwin for many years but only on the old surface,” he said. “Ben ran there last year so we do have some data that hopefully will help. We are looking forward to catching up with our fans up north.”
With several dozen trips to Darwin, Bray has been able to tick off most tourist sights. But it may be Darwin’s gastronomic delights that capture the team’s attention.
“There is not much in Darwin we haven’t done over the years, we really enjoy the unique wildlife, but with Alice Springs (the second round of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer championship) the following weekend there is a good chance we will be busy with maintenance. We will however make sure we enjoy the company of friends and the local seafood.”
Nitro Up North runs from July 8 to 9 at Hidden Valley Drag Strip.
Image credit: www.dragnews.com.au