2017/18 IHRA New Zealand Nationals
Meremere Dragway, 10 & 11 March, 2018
The 2018 IHRA New Zealand Nationals held at Meremere Dragway saw eight competitors front for Top Doorslammer.
The highlight of the early rounds of qualifying was Barry Plumpton's 6.168 at 235.23. That saw him in top spot and be on the way to two possible national records. The ET record is currently held by Trevor Smith with a 6.261 and the speed record by Wayne Yearbury at 229. Nigel Dixon was second with a pedaling 6.602 and Squig Miles in third with PB's of 6.944 and 205.5mph, from the STA Falcon. Rod Harvey, in Trevor Smith's Statesman, was in fourth with a 7.068 closely followed by Craig Brown with a 7.074 in fifth. Sixth was Cess Miller on a 7.904. Mark Bardsley and Rod Benjes both overpowered the track.
The third round of qualifying saw Dixon improve with a 6.438, but he was passed by Rod Harvey who recorded a 6.331 at 225.82, in the B&T Earthmoving Statesman, to move into scond. Dixon suffered severe tyre shake that tore the front strut apart. Mark Bardsley finally get down the track with a 6.950 to be fourth and Rod Benjes recorded a diff busting 7.277 to be sixth. Squig withdrew from competition with a cracked rear main.
Round one of eliminations saw Barry Plumpton with a 6.357 second bye in his Camaro. Mark Bardsley, in the Rislone Camaro, improved again with a 6.649 to beat Craig Brown who recorded a 7.179 in his 55 Chev, but a torched head meant that Mark was out. Nigel Dixon fitted new front struts and a tyre before recording a 6.354, in the Kruzin Kustoms BF Falcon, to beat Rod Benjes whose Childs Play Baretta broke a blower belt. Dixon however damaged his gearbox and would not front for the next round. Rod Harvey used a 6.605 to defeat Cess Miller's 8.567 in his 59 Impala.
With Bardsley and Dixon out, Barry Plumpton and Rod Harvey both had round two byes. Barry recorded a 6.970 at 205.94 and Rod cruised through for a 9.327.
In the final, Rod Harvey used a 6.405 at 221.52 to defeat Barry Plumpton's 8.227 at 115.09. It was Team Smith Racing's fourth Nationals win, two in Top Doorslammer and two in Junior Dragster. It was also the fourth Nationals win for Rod Harvey. Four wins in four different brackets, Altered in 2003, Sport Compact in 2007, Supercharged Outlaws in 2014 and Top Doorslammer in 2018.