The Rapisarda Autosport International (RAI) team are set to engage in the largest single team effort ever seen in Top Fuel at the East Coast Nationals, November 7th and 8th. A feat that the team wanted to achieve earlier this year at the Nitro Champs, however, the event was cancelled due to rain.
“We have wanted to try and run the four cars at the one event for some time now, however, we lost our opportunity with the wet weather back in May,” explained team owner Santo Rapisarda.
Joining the two Aussies Damian Harris and Wayne Newby will be Americans Dom Lagana and Cory McClenathan. Both Lagana and McClenathan are seasoned RAI drivers.
Cory Mac last drove for the team at the 2015 Fuchs Winternationals, winning the Gold Christmas Tree with Lee Beard serving as crew chief. Beard will also be in Australia for the event in a bid to earn back-to-back wins.
“I got the call from Santo Junior a few weeks ago and I was very happy to hear about the race and asked if I could come down and drive one of the Rapisarda Autosport International dragsters,” said McClenathan.
“I’m very excited to run with three other team mates. They are all great drivers so it should be a blast. I’m also looking forward to working with Lee Beard and seeing all the Rapisarda family. I enjoy the fans in Australia, they’re some of the best in the world.”
Dom Lagana will be making his Australian debut for the team and last drove for RAI at the 2014 Auto Club World Finals where he recorded the team’s quickest elapsed time on the NHRA tour at 3.76 seconds. This is Dom’s second trip to Australia, the first being back in May for the rained out Nitro Champs.
“First and foremost I want to take this opportunity to thank the RAI team for giving me the opportunity to race Down Under. To be part of a four car team is something special. The team boasts some of the best talent Australia has to offer,” said Lagana.
Wayne Newby recently returned from the USA, where he drove for the team for three events on the NHRA tour, the most successful being the St Louis event, where Newby turned in a 3.777 second pass, a career best over 1000 feet.
“The last six weeks for me has been a blast,” said Newby. It’s every drag racers dream to be able to go and race in the USA. Thanks to the Rapisarda family for giving me the opportunity.
We will be continuing to work with the D Car, the new car that we debuted at the Darwin match race. We’re still yet to make a full run with the car, but we have gained some valuable information and are confident that we’re heading in the right direction.
“Santino and the team have been working hard to ensure we’re ready to take the fight to the rest of the Top Fuel field at the East Coast Nationals.”
The East Coast Nationals will also mark the beginning of Damien Harris’ title defence following the match race at Hidden Valley Drag Strip earlier this season.
Harris was in strong form in Darwin running 4.63 at 317mph to claim both ends of the track record.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to competition in less than two weeks time,” he said. “Darwin proved that we can make good consistent runs and that’s key to going rounds.”
The East Coast Nationals will feature eight Top Fuel dragsters vying for ANDRA Gold Christmas Trees alongside Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
For more information please visit: www.sydneydragway.com.au