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RAI star Wayne Newby will face off against Texan Steve Torrence in first round of racing at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway, Newby qualified 11th in the 19 car field.

Newby ran a personal best of 3.76/527 kph to nail seventh place at the end of day one of qualifying for the 52nd Annual Auto Club NHRA finals at Pomona Raceway, California. Before earlier in the day on a track with the temperature nudging 110F Newby had slotted into 13th place with a 5.41/201 kph pass.

“We overstepped the mark,” explained to co-tuner Santino Rapisarda. “The car was on the edge and spun the tyres just before the 330 foot mark.”

Newby’s record pass was made under idyllic conditions with a near perfect track and air temperature.

“Awesome run,” said an elated Newby minutes after returning to the RAI pit. "The car got the wheels up in the air off the line then settled and took off, the car got to the right slightly at the bottom end and I had to drive it. The boys and the crew were brilliant and gave me an amazing race car, I think if there was another night run the team would have been able to give me a car to run faster.”

“That was one of the best runs ever for the team over a 1000 foot,” said Santino Rapisarda. “At one stage we were second in the field but the track continued to improve and the Pro teams took advantage of the conditions - seventh, we’ll take that. Wayne was brilliant on the light with a .55 sec reaction time, that was second only to Doug Kalitta who qualified in 16th. We had a quick look at the engine after the run and looks like we haven’t done any damage and that’s always a good sign.”

The team sitting in seventh place going into the second day of qualifying, opened their account with a regulation pass of 3.79/521 km/h.

“Nothing to report,” according to co-tuner Santo Rapisarda Jr. “The car went down the track without any drama and came back with no damage. That’s always a good sign.”

On his fourth and final qualifier Newby laid down a 3.81/508 km/h pass.

“We had a small issue in wearing the clutch out and that in turn slowed the car down. We were expecting to go quicker, we also dropped a cylinder around half track as well. The team is confident going up against Torrence" said Rapisarda. "The pressure will be on Torrence - he drives for one of the top teams in the Mello Yello series. We have a night to think about what we need to make the car to run faster.” said Rapisarda.

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