A run under 4.40-seconds in the quarter-mile by a wheel-driven vehicle may yet become reality, if the recent performance of Australian Damien Harris is any indiction.
The Australian and European nitro contingents have long lagged behind their American counterparts in the performance department, although certainly not for a lack off effort or quality race tracks to compete on.
The all-time standard over the quarter-mile distance has been stalemated since May of 2004 — 13 years — when Doug Kalitta recorded a 4.420-second lap at the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois. That number was approached on a handful of occasions in the years that followed, most notably by Tony Schumacher, who famously stole the 2006 Top Fuel championship with a stunning (and national record-setting) 4.428 at the World Finals in Pomona. Less than two years later, the NHRA transitioned its nitro categories to 1,000-feet, filed away its quarter-mile records, and has never looked back.
But down in Australia, the Top Fuel competitors are still making the fun pull, and they’re creeping up on at the numbers the Americans left off with. Earlier this month, Harris, driving for Santo Rapisarda’s Rapisarda Autosport International team, recorded the quickest run in Australia drag racing history and the quickest outside of the United States by a wheel-driven machine at 4.443 at 335.32 mph during the 50th annual Internationals at Willowbank Raceway, the nation’s most prestigious drag race.
Harris was followed in the qualifying order by Wayne Newby at 4.48 and American Larry Dixon — who has spent some time in the 4.40’s in his driving career — in third with a 4.52. For those keeping score, Harris went 3.78 to the 1,000-foot clock.
Lead video courtesy Drag Videos Australia