BatDan an inspiration for Nitro Up North

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A Junior Dragster pilot with a message is on his way to Darwin to compete at Nitro Up North, with a media savvy and fan friendliness better than many of his older peers.

Victorian Daniel Carranza, 10, has taken to drag racing like few others, going from a hardcore fan of his hero Peter Kapiris in Top Doorslammer to a winning racer himself – taking out the Divisional Championship for his State.

It’s down to his passion for the sport and his drive for sure, but perhaps even some personality traits that may suit a sport requiring meticulous attention to detail. Carranza has autism, but that has not prevented him from success. In fact, part of the team’s journey to race around the country involves raising awareness about autism.

Since an appearance on Channel 10’s The Project, Carranza has become the closest thing to a household name in the Junior Dragster category.

“So many teams of people have supported and helped us travel Australia wide to raise awareness for autistic kids,” he said. “Our ride has been amazing so far.”

As well as getting to indulge in his favourite hobby, Carranza has been able to interact with folks from around the country who love hearing his story.

“I am fortunate to have met so many amazing people both on and off the the track, not only in Australia but overseas as well,” he said. “They have even asked us to travel over to their countries and make an appearance at their local tracks. They believe that we are so inspiring to their kids and community with what we have achieved. If all our stars line up and get some sponsor support we are looking at maybe travelling to one of these tracks to make an appearance and meet some of our fans overseas.”

Carranza, also known as the ‘BatDan’, has never raced in Darwin before, but his race car has hitched a ride with the Lamattina Top Fuel Racing team to make his first appearance.

“I am very excited and looking forward to travelling and racing in Darwin,” he said. “It will be my first time racing there and the only track that I haven’t raced in the country.

“Hopefully we get a little time to go and see the Northern Territory sights between racing rounds in Darwin and Alice Springs. I also have a radio interview with ABC to try and fit in between to promote junior drag racing. Hopefully we can get more kids into the sport.”

Travelling is all part of the experience, but a win is what Carranza would love to earn while he is in the Top End. In pursuit of that goal he has a new car ready to go.

“The new car is a B/JD that runs 8.50 seconds on the eighth mile (201 metres) rather than 12.50 seconds that I used to ran as a C/JD. It’s so much quicker and more of a rush. I have run my new car once already in the Adelaide finals but now we are coming out with a fresh new engine combo for the new season.

“I’m hoping to get through a few rounds in Darwin, though it would be great to take a trophy home. Most of all I look forward to meeting all my fans in Darwin that I haven’t met before and who always write nice things to me on my Facebook page.

“Thanks to my sponsors LMR, KCTools and Penrite Oils, they have supplied me with lots of things to give away to all those fans I have up there and we must mention the Lamattina family, Masters Home Improvements, ProSealed, Repco South Morang, Bridgestone Select South Morang, Honda Power Equipment together with Keilor Mower Services, Costanzo Motors, Simpson Race Gear and WURTH Australia.

“I have to especially thank my Mum and Dad for helping me with my racing cause if it wasn’t for all their hard work I wouldn’t even be here.”


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