Rapisarda Autosport International will return to the NHRA Mello Yello series for the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota, next weekend followed by the most prestigious meeting on the NHRA calendar, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis from September 2-7.
Sydneysider Wayne Newby will make his international debut for RAI, at Brainerd, joining the roster of Australian fuel racers who have been given a once in a life-time opportunity by team owner, Santo Rapisarda, to compete on the world stage.
“We decided to race at Brainerd to give Wayne the opportunity to adjust to the NHRA system,” explained Rapisarda.
“He needs to get experience in how the Americans go about their racing, even though their start-up, staging and Christmas tree procedures are similar to Australia. A major difference between Australia and the NHRA is the shorter 1000 foot race distance and I'm sure the American officials would like to see Wayne pull the ’chutes early - as a rookie it’s highly probable that his first pass at Brainerd will be a solo.”
After Brainerd, the team will return to their home base in Indianapolis for a mid-week test and tune session ahead of the gruelling six-day meeting culminating on Labor Day.
“The Indy Nationals is the one event that any team owner worth his salt wants to win. For the American teams trying to secure a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, the pressure is intense.”
“For us the situation is more relaxed, we race for fun and love of the sport.
The event also attracts many Australians and we definitely want to put on a good show for them. Last year we qualified eighth, then smoked the tyres against Tony Schumacher in second round. This year our plan is to do better and go further on race day,” said Rapisarda.