South Coast Raceway rocked to the sound of nitro as a massive crowd filled the beachside facility with tight racing keeping the fans on the edge of their seats with three rounds of spectacular competition.

The standard for performance was incredibly high from the outset. Shane Olive and the Red Devil resetting the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car eighth mile record before being bested by Nitro Express and Rick Gauci on the very next pass. 

Gauci’s 3.652 at 209.61mph (337.27kph) is the quickest and fastest Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car pass on an eighth mile dragstrip since the categories inception. 

“That was the scariest racing pass I have ever had, it just left so fast and the ‘chutes really pulled, so I knew it was fast,” explained Gauci. 

The racing was tight through the entire field with 11 passes in the 3.6 to 3.7-second range with Messineo and Olive also showing form in the early rounds. 

Olive earned the bye for the final round after his superb round two win and his subsequent 3.67-second pass left the Messineo and Gauci to face off for the final position. 

A win and time better than Olive’s 3.67 would have handed either the win for the event. 

It was Messineo and the Dark Horse Mustang that got the win with Gauci touching the wall in a wild run for the black ’57 Chev. 

Messineo’s 3.75 left him in second position for the event. 

Third was taken by series newcomer Darren Fry aboard The Bandit Trans-Am, who got better throughout the event and his 3.74-second pass in the final round left the Queenslander with 7 points and his very first Aeroflow Rocket Trophy.

Olive was elated with his win, “It was such a great event with a huge crowd and the racing was super-close, I’m stoked for the guys and the crews and of course the Victorian race fans. 

“We loved coming back to Portland and it’s even better to leave with the gold trophy!” 

The series now heads to Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway for April 30.

Image: supplied.