Rapisarda Autosport International will race privateer Bob Vandergriff in first round of eliminations at the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio.
After two grueling days of qualifying the teams third run was one of their finest performances this season. Sitting out of the field in spot 17 th place after day one and coming off a later night engine swap, 3- time champ Larry Dixon steered the car to 13th place with an arrow- like pass of 3.87/320 mph. RAI was also one of the few teams to tame the tricky mid-day conditions that featured soaring track temperatures of 120F and high humidity.
“We fought back after a frustrating first day,” said co –tuner Santino Rapisarda. “ We didn’t leave the track until after midnight doing an engine swap and then see the car go straight down the track was just reward for the team.”
The team’s fourth final qualifier ended in a spectacular engine detonation. “The engine broke a rod and the #5 and 6 pistons 1.6 seconds into the run and that caused the number 6 piston to hit the intake valve and pop the blower injector hat off the engine.” explained Rapisarda.
“We’ve got a lot of work to prep the car for tomorrow but were happy to have drawn Vandergriff and are quietly confident of going beyond first round.”