Aussies perform strongly as Indy progresses

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Australia enjoyed good times as the US Nationals moved past the halfway point with Richie Crampton and Rapisarda Autosport International in particular finding success.

Read on as we cover what happened for the racers from the land down under and some of our general interest from around Indianapolis.

Richie Crampton was seeded seventh for the Traxxas Shootout but scythed his way through the first two rounds, eventually falling to Tony Schumacher. Crampton upset Antron Brown and Shawn Langdon in quick succession, though the first round came with a fireball through the finish line. The silver lining is that Crampton is qualified well so far for Monday eliminations, sitting in fourth spot with a 3.772. Team mate Morgan Lucas is on the opposite side of the ladder and sits in third positions following a 3.757, giving the team plenty of reasons to be positive.

Rapisarda Autosport International enjoyed one of the best qualifying days ever in the NHRA. With the Top Fuel field tightening up after a loose first session, driver Dom Lagana improved to a 3.842, leaving the team in 11th position but still just inside that vital top 12. But it was in the third qualifying session of the event that things really stepped up for the Sydney-based team with a personal best (for both driver and team) of 3.786 at 319.90mph, sending the team into wild celebrations on the start line.

The pass snuck them into the top half of the field with two qualifying sessions remaining.

Shane Tucker has reason to remain nervous, still outside the top 12 in Pro Stock. After changing the rear gear in the Auzmet Architectural Camaro for Saturday’s qualifying, Tucker improved to a 6.655 and then a 6.649 but would be left in 14th position.
“I think we’re making strides in the right direction this weekend,” Tucker said. “Between Q2 and Q3 today we changed a bunch of things on the car purely because we were a little lost on where to go.
“We are definitely headed in the right direction after that last qualifying session. Hopefully, we can get two more rounds in tomorrow and keep moving forward. It’s a tough field but I think we can handle it.”
Tucker also announced a new deal with Kicker Audio. Tucker will serve as a global ambassador for the Kicker brand and Kicker will also become the Official Audio Supplier for Shane Tucker and Rob Tucker Racing in both the United States and Australia.
“I am stoked to sign with Kicker and be a part of the Kicker team,” Tucker said. “Their products are the very best in the industry and they fit very well with my style and what I’m all about.”

Steve Harker improved from Friday’s soft pass with a 5.592 at 262mph on Saturday at the US Nationals. After admittedly taking a cautious approach to the first session, Harker’s time left him in second position behind Sweden’s Jonnie Lindberg. In an international looking top half of the field field, Ulf Leanders (also from Sweden) qualified fifth.

If you’ve ever wondered just how big John Force Racing is in the scheme of all things NHRA, this is the crowd just to watch the team unpack the cars.

A common sight on many of the Competition eliminator cars are side mirrors to keep an eye on opponents. With delay boxes prohibited, racers also use metal ‘flags’ that they position in their line of sight to the Christmas tree to avoid being distracted by their opponent’s countdown.

Last minute preparations are made before the second qualifying session for Top Alcohol dragster.

‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits waits to perform a cacklefest in front of the large Saturday crowd at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Wayne Butler lit up his Top Alcohol Funny Car in the second session of qualifying. The car popped the supercharger through the lights and then caught fire shortly afterwards. After bumping the wall at slow speed Butler was able to bring the car to a stop and get out safely.

Angie Smith brought some glamour to the Pro Stock Motorcycle staging lanes with a pair of cheerleaders thanks to Kandy magazine.

LE Tonglet prepares for the second qualifying session of Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Shane Tucker talks Pro Stock with Erica Enders-Stevens. The two drivers both have Elite Performance motors under the hood and are effectively team mates.

Scott Pollacheck carries the front wheel on his Pro Stock Motorcycle Buell.

Erica Enders-Stevens on the line at the US Nationals – just in case you couldn’t see the name of the event.

Tony Schumacher and Spencer Massey await presentations ahead of the Traxxas Shootout, a race within a race at the US Nationals where the winner takes a $100,000 cheque.

Brittany Force was all smiles before the Traxxas Shootout, until she went out to Doug Kalitta in the opening stanza.

Leah Pritchett describes a run in the staging lanes ahead of a Top Fuel qualifying session.

Dom Lagana taking it easy on what was a very positive day for Rapisarda Autosport International.

Australian national record holder Larry Dixon is now racing for Bob Vandergriff. Things weren’t clicking on this pass as he smoked the tyres before 60 feet.

Cigar in one hand, camera in the other. Shooting in style.

Tim Wilkerson was a popular winner of the fan vote for the Traxxas Shootout and will try for the $100,000 on Sunday.

‘Blown Money’ burns out in Pro Modified qualifying under cloudy skies.

Terrible photo due to using a wide lens, but look who we spotted on the start line for Pro Modified – Australian Top Doorslammer champion John Zappia.

Billy Glidden turned a bonnet and scoop into shrapnel when he had a nitrous burp in Pro Modified qualifying.

It’s all Arana, all the time in Pro Stock Motorcycle. This three bike family team, backed by Lucas Oil, is always a threat.

Chris ‘The Greek’ Karamesines has a new chassis and canopy thanks to Don Schumacher Racing. Schumacher said he wanted to keep The Greek safe out there – but we have to say it certainly looks the part as well.

The sun managed to bring a little colour to the sky towards the end of Top Fuel qualifying. Al Anabi’s Shawn Langdon burns out under golden skies.

With many cylinders killed for the burnout, Courtney Force pumps raw nitro out of the pipes.

Indy is a dark track with one large light behind the starting line so it brings some interesting highlights to photographs. Here Cruz Pedregon lights up the night.


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