Cole betting on rookie’s luck at Westernats

The 2023/2024 NDRC Top Doorslammer season has been one for the rookies and debutant Andrew Cole will be hoping he can cash in on some of the rookie’s luck we have seen this season when he makes his debut at the Perth Motorplex’s Westernationals next weekend (March 2-3).

This season has seen no shortage of newcomers for the bracket at the national-level, with Russell Taylor, Ronnie Palumbo, Adam Tassone, Scott Ferguson, Mick Mahoney and Jay-Dee Dack all making their debuts so far.

Taylor, Palumbo and fellow rookie Lisa Gregorini (in her first full campaign after a partial 22/23 season) have all gone to the A-Final, with Taylor and Palumbo both taking victories, with Taylor leading the championship points (309 points) currently over 11-time champ, John Zappia (286). Lisa is third in the points (280) ahead of Palumbo (268) and her husband and former champ, Daniel Gregorini (261).

“It would be good to have a little bit of that rookie’s luck and get our car into the fives, that is for sure!” Cole grinned.

“It has definitely been a good season for the Top Doorslammer rookies in the NDRC with the likes of Lisa Gregorini and Russell Taylor shaking up the category along with Maurice Fabietti engaging Ronnie Palumbo. There is some serious talent there with some of the best tuners in Australia behind them.

“We are just so excited to be a part of the NDRC at the Westernatioanls and are really looking forward to being a part of a national round.”

Cole’s journey to Top Doorslammer has been a long and committed one, with the most recent challenges leading to what Cole describes as “the perfect package.”

Image above and at top thanks to High Octane Photos

“We have been working towards Doorslammer for a while now but in 2020 we did some major damage to the motor, gearbox and diff with a tailshaft failure. The rebuild was expensive and time consuming, but as a result we have perfected the overall package and now are more than happy with what we have to compete with,” Cole explains.

“We have actually been racing this car for around 15 years and have been building up all the spare parts, tooling and transportation to compete at the Group One level. It is certainly an exiting time for myself and my past and present crew to finally be here getting ready to make our national debut.”

Cole’s Corvette has been impressively self-built and even though it was first put together many years ago to race in Supercharged Outlaws, the goal has always been Top Doorslammer.

“This car represents a real achievement for me personally – I built it from scratch, I bought the body and then some pipe and ended up with all this stuff sitting in the corner. To go from that to turning it into a car that is now running low sixes is pretty cool I think,” said the former Central Australia Drag Racing Association (CADRA) President, scrutineer, official, tech inspector and meeting director who has been involved in drag racing since 1989.

“I built all of the chassis, the tanks, the seats, the panels and the suspension. Together with the crew, we have basically just built a car from nothing.

“When I first started building the car, everything was built to Doorslammer specs, so the transition to take it from Outlaws to Doorslammer wasn’t that big of a deal because everything pretty much complied already, so we only had to make some minor changes.”

Amongst the more recent changes for the team has been a complete relocation, with the Motorplex playing a key part in the Cole family’s decision of just where to move to.

“Along with the rebuild we relocated to WA after winding down our business in the NT and purchasing one over here. We were in Alice Springs for 25 years and for us it was time for a change,” Cole said.

“With a complex like the Motorplex here, why wouldn’t you move to WA?!”

Cole made his Top Doorslammer (local level) debut late last year, but things didn’t quite go to plan.  

Image thanks to High Octane Photos

“We have been attending a few test days and meetings here but up until the recent Battle at The Beach event (February 9) we were experiencing electrical problems that took a lot to find and rectify,” he said.

“My first Top Doorslammer event was the Quarter Mile Masters the week before the Goldenstates in November, but unfortunately we didn’t get down the track because of those gremlins.

“With a lot of hard work Tyson from Harness Tech helped rectify the fault with the ignition and at the Battle at the Beach we finally got the car down the track with a 6.180 pass and then a 6.094.

“Unfortunately, at this event Top Doorslammer was not a supported category, so we were entered in Top Comp and came runner-up in the A-Final, but it was just great to finally have some success in the car ahead of our national-level debut in Top Doorslammer.

“With just the two runs of data at the Motorplex, our plan is to creep up on the tune at the Westernationals and just work towards a safe high five-second pass and take it from there. Here is hoping what will be our second Top Doorslammer event and our first at national-level can be blessed by that rookie luck!”

In the meantime, Cole has some people he has to thank for helping him to get to this point.

“I have had some awesome people help me from the beginning of building the car and through the journey of it evolving into what it has become today,” he said.

“Dave Fendt has been with me from the start helping finish the build and race the car to date. I also must mention my crew from Alice Springs: Mick, Dennis, Trumby, Courtney, Guido, and the two Dans.

“Here in WA we have Dan Matt and Zoe, as well as Daniel Biggs’ team when they are not racing, along with my wife Karina – thank you to all that have helped as this is very much a team effort.”

The MacTrack Westernationals featuring Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship will be held at the Perth Motorplex across March 2 and 3. For event information and a full upcoming event calendar, visit www.ndrc.tv

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