Dom Lagana takes home Aussie gold

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New York based Dom Laganascored his maiden win for Rapisarda Autosport International after defeating Darren Morgan in the final of Top Fuel at the 51st ANDRA Australian Nationals at Calder Park Raceway.

Lagana, under the tutelage of legendary tuner Lee Beard, was in scintillating form over the two-day meet. After top qualifying on day one he accounted for RAI team-mate Wayne Newby in first round then claimed the Gold Christmas Tree when he outpaced Morgan in the smart time of 4.07 sec. for the 1000 foot race distance.

“On day one we ran a 4.07 and from then the momentum continued,” said Lagana. “Today was a little warmer than expected and we backed the car down a hair. Lee and the crew did a great job. This track has a lot of history and has more of a ‘match race’ feel to it. They don’t race Top Fuel here very often and for all three RAI cars and Darren togo down the track each round was a great performance and the fans really enjoyed it.”

It has been a hectic few weeks for the RAI team, and their commitment to the sport is second to none.

“With three race meetings over four weekends in three different states at the height of summer in Australia the RAI crews, across all the three cars, stepped up to the mark, accepted the challenge and performed superbly. I want to give a big thanks to Santo Rapisarda and family for giving me the opportunity to race down-under and I can’t wait to come back again,” said Lagana.

“The car ran great all the weekend,” according to tuning wiz Beard. “The main adjustment we really had to make was to make allowances for the race track. Calder is an older track and only has 300 feet of concrete and from there the asphalt is prettydeteriorated. So we knew it was going to be tough to run much quicker than we did.”

“We came out of the trailer with a good set up and went 4.07, a 4.08 and another 4.07. I’m tickled to death to win at Calder. This is my first time here and I can now say I’ve got wins at the major tracks in the country – Willowbank, Darwin, Sydney and here at Calder Park. The icing on the cake is having Dom Lagana become the 14th driver that I’ve won national events with.”


The battle for third and fourth place between RAI team-mates, Wayne Newby and Damien Harris, producedan early contender for the best race of the season.

Locked together off the start line, Harris and Newby marched down the track in unison with Newby taking the win by an estimated 30cm. Newby stopped the timers with a 4.22 and Harris, after dropping a pair of cylinders, ran a 4.23.

For the visitors following the event, well Beard returned to Sydney, then jetted out to his home in Indianapolis to pack up his fishing gear, before heading off to to go catch Bonefish on Grand Cayman Island ahead of a possible return for the Santos Super Thunder meeting at Willowbank Raceway on April 14.

For Lagana there is little rest, a quick road trip back to Sydney, then flying to Phoenix, Arizona for the NHRA pre-season test session and meet up with elder brother Bobby Lagana to work for championship contender Steve Torrence along with Scott Palmer Racing.

The opening round of the 2017 NHRA season is at Pomona Raceway on Feb 9-12.

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