ANDREW Johnstone’s first year in the world of drag racing opened his eyes to the harsh realities of the sport.
“I’ve only raced four times. One of those times the motor blew up, so technically I’ve only raced three times,” he said.
He’s hoping for better fortunes when he ventures to Western Sydney International Dragway for the national championships this weekend.
The Warrnambool mechanic will drive his VT Commodore in the group three super sedans class.
The modest introduction to quarter-mile (400 metres) drag racing has meant his trip north has no expectations.
“We’re going just basically to get some time in the car. I’ve only had it going for 12 months,” he said.
“It’s a fresh motor, so I want to give it a run on a good track and hopefully get some good numbers.
“The quickest the car has run to this point is 8.76 seconds and 155mph (248km/h).
“In the sedans, that’s a reasonably quick car. Testing in the last month with the fresh motor it’s made 161mph (258km/h). If we can go two or three rounds, I’d be happy.”
Johnstone started drag racing after calling time on a 15-year career driving go-karts.
He joined the Warrnambool Drag Racing Association committee four years ago but only started racing last year.
His debut year racing has taken him to Portland, Mildura and Melbourne’s Calder Park.
Johnstone built the VT Commodore he will take to Sydney. The engine is a 598 cubic inch big block Chevy with a 1043 horsepower motor.
“I raced go-karts for 15 years but I wanted something a bit more powerful,” he said.
Johnstone is one of four Warrnambool and District Drag Racing Association members racing in Sydney.
Glenn Wooster will compete in the group one pro-stock bikes class, while Tony Frost and Peter Barlett will race in a group three modified bikes class.
The championships start tomorrow and run until Sunday.