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sat 11

Rapisarda Autosport International has qualified 16th for the biggest and most prestigious event on the U.S. drag calendar - the Chevrolet Performance NHRA U.S. Nationals.

At the end of three gruelling days the RAI/Wayne Newby combo will face off against top ten contender Mike Salinas in first round on race day.

Heading into the final day of qualifying in 15th place RAI’s first run of the day ended on the hit of the throttle with the number five cylinder out then rolling to the end zone at 6.73/148 km/h.

Their fifth and final qualifier was strong off the start line, and was shaping up as their best qualifying performance until smoking the tyres and ending the run with a 6.43/165 km/h.

“Around the one and a half second mark, we smoked the tyres," said co-tuner Santino Rapisarda. “The car has been throwing us a couple issues over the weekend and reacting in a different fashion to that in the past. The positive is we are in the field and go up against Mike Salinas who has been doing really well this season. The pressure with be on Mike and his team. We are out there to give it our best shot and see what happens.”

Californian based Salinas was in superb form during qualifying topping the charts from day one.

“I’ve never raced Wayne before,” said Salinas. “When I go out there I’m racing against myself. I like the Rapisarda guys. They are really cool."

"Every car that qualifies is a potential winner.”