The Top Fuel arms race is heating up with Mark Sheehan enlisting help from USA Top Fuel powerhouse Alan Johnson Racing ahead of next weekend’s ANDRA championship round at Perth Motorplex.
Sheehan’s new equipment includes the latest Alan Johnson Racing cylinder heads, with his just the third team in the world to receive them. US tuner John Smith will again be out to make the calls on the dragster, as the team looks to repeat its form from the last Top Fuel championship round in Perth where they won over national champion Darren Morgan.
“John (Smith) has got high expectations considering the information that we have also acquired with the purchase of the heads and the people that we are dealing with,” Sheehan said. “I think Alan Johnson is more willing in backing the people that use his products. He’s not going to turn around and help someone who races next to him all weekend but he wants to see his products getting used and be in the lead.”
By the same token, Sheehan is not keen to burn up equipment on the first hit and said they expect to take a step backwards before going forward.
“Due to the extra power the cylinder heads provide we are intending on taking a step backwards from a tune up point of view so we don’t hurt anything,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we are going there to run 5.20s all day, we are just being conservative with our new stuff.
“These cylinder heads were nine months in the making and it’s a case of bending the rules to the maximum they’re allowed under the NHRA. They make so much more power down low.”
Coming off his first Top Fuel win does not provide much of an advantage according to Sheehan, especially given his late start in the season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s confidence building, it’s always good to get a run on the board but with the competition that I’m up against, in particular Phil Lamattina who is getting his act together and Darren Morgan who just keeps winning, I wouldn’t say I have any advantage at all,” he said.
“They all have two events under the belt already and have had a chance to sort themselves out.”
The third round of the ANDRA Top Fuel championship will run alongside the second round of the ANDRA Top Bike championship on November 30 and December 1.