Top Fuel Rookie Kelly Bettes showed the way to the experienced veterans of the class on night one of the Santo’s Summer Thunder at Sydney Dragway.
The first run of the evening for Bettes saw the young Queenslander take the quickest pass of the night with a 3.87 at over 494kmh in sweltering conditions.
Winner of the last event, Peter Xiberras, recorded a 3.98 at 498 kmh, with the reigning National Champion Wayne Newby in third with a 4.02.
American Ashley Sanford claimed the number 5 position, just behind her Rapisarda Autosport International teammate Damien Harris.
Fan favourite Terry Sainty recorded the team’s first full run on their new car, a 4.205 that placed them in 6th.
Multi-time former national champ Phil Read rounded out the 7-car field with 2 early shut offs, besting in a 4.99.
In Pro Slammer, the early pace was set by Paul Mouhayet before a plethora of 5-second runs fell in one of the most exciting sessions seen this season.
John Zappia bested the field with a 5.65 at 408 Kmh, with Ben Bray, Mouhayet, Scott Maclean, Mark Belleri and Sam Fenech all recording 5-second runs.
Michelle Davies also recorded her personal best with a 6.02, showing that she is coming to grips with her new Mustang after a minor accident in Sydney in November.
Chris Matheson set the pace in Top Bike with a very early shutoff 6.45, with West Aussie Mark Drew second with a 6.67.
The nitrous bikes of Rod Barchet and Michael Dwinger placed third and fourth respectively, with Chris Porter and Adam Layton rounding out the field in fifth and sixth.
Pro Alcohol had the returning Wayne Price atop the standings with a 5.79, with current Championship leader Steve Reed in second with an early shut off 5.97.
Price’s run was the only full pass of either Pro Alcohol session, with most racers electing to launch the cars to half track to gain valuable data for race day on Saturday.
The field was rounded out by Russell Mills, Brett White, Rob Ambruosi and Chris Hargrave.
Day 2 of the Santo’s Summer Thunder continues on Saturday at Sydney Dragway.
Tickets are available at the gate , and will feature Kids entertainment including a meet and greet with Chase and Marshall from Nick Jnr’s Paw Patrol, Jumping castles and Autograph Sessions.
For more information, visit www.sydneydragway.com.au .