EXCLUSIVE: Wayne Newby on becoming the new quickest Aussie!

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The game has changed in Australian Top Fuel and the race is on for the 4.4 second zone. Sydney’s Wayne Newby has struck the latest blow, becoming the quickest Australian drag racer on an Australian track with a stunning 4.534 pass last night at Santo’s Super 3 at Willowbank Raceway.

Earlier in the month, Western Australian Mark Sheehan took over from the now-retired Phil Lamattina as the quickest Australian with a 4.537 pass at Perth Motorplex, while Newby’s Rapisarda Autosport International team mate Damien Harris was just behind with a 4.538.

72348_513751238804368_7547367546129982692_n.jpgNewby’s run came in the elimination round of the event and he would go on to win the final too.

The former Top Alcohol driver said the pass felt genuinely different to anything else he had run in the car.

“It was like really strong at the start line and I kew it was on a number,” he said.

About 1000 feet into the run (where Newby clocked 3.867 for those interested in an NHRA comparison), a head gasket started to push out but he had no interest in getting off the throttle of the 10,000 horsepower nitro-fuelled dragster.

“I knew it was doing a head gasket but I didn’t really want to lift my foot out of it.

“We torched the head and put the gasket out at the back of the block at 1000 feet. Because it as accelerating so fast to that point you could feel it (the head gasket pushing out).

“It could have been a 50 to a 51 if the gasket had stayed in there.”

Newby explained that crew chief Santino Rapisarda had some fresh ideas to try with the car and they paid off handsomely.

“We had a few new things we wanted to try and it seemed to work.

“We tried a different clutch program in the car that Santino has always wanted to try and he bought some different parts to make it work.”

The Rapisarda outfit as a whole were definitely pushing for big numbers at the event that honours Louie Rapisarda, the son of team patriarch Santo Rapisarda who passed away in an accident at Willowbank Raceway in 1990.

Newby faced off against team mate and current points leader Harris in the final round and both teams went for broke. In the end neither run looked pretty but Newby reached the stripe first.

“They (Santino and Santo Rapisarda Junior, who tunes Harris) both went for it in the final, it was all about who was going to run a 40 first and they were both trying to.

“At least now we know where the limit is. It was still a great feeling, but it wasn’t as exciting as winning and doing a good number as well.”

Newby now enters day two of competition, a completely separate round of the championship, with a goal of consistency – though the 4.4 temptation is still there.

“I think if we can run low 50s all day that will make us happy. If the conditions are there we might be able to go for it.”

Santo’s Super 3 resumes tonight at Willowbank Raceway. Keep an eye on @dragnewsaus on Twitter (or the Twitter box on this site) to stay up to date with results.



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