Sydney Dragway Managing Director, Tony Beuk, has announced changes to the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Tribute following the rained-out Summernationals event at SD in February.
The Louie Rapisarda Tribute was established by long-time Top Fuel stalwart Santo Rapisarda, the Rapisarda family and Sydney Dragway to mark the 20th Anniversary of Santo’s son Louie’s passing in a tragic race accident at Willowbank Raceway in July 1990.
Originally, the $20,000 Louie Rapisarda Tribute would see Top Fuel drivers earn points during qualifying at the ANDRA Pro Series Summernationals and Nitro Champs events at Sydney Dragway.
The top qualifier at each event was also to receive the Louie Rapisarda Top Qualifier trophy and $2500.
The top eight qualifiers were to be awarded points, with the top qualifier receiving eight points to eighth qualifier getting one point.
Then at the Australian Nationals at SD in September, the top eight point-scorers will be seeded and race-off in the Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Tribute Shootout (elimination format) during the final three qualifying rounds.
However, with the Summernationals rain-out after the first qualifying session, Beuk said points will now not be awarded for that event.
Beuk said the Nitro Champs would remain as per the original concept, where at the completion of qualifying, points will be awarded as planned – top qualifier receiving eight points; second qualifier, seven points; third qualifier, six points; fourth qualifier, five points; fifth qualifier, four points; sixth qualifier, three points; seventh qualifier, two points and eighth qualifier, one point.
The top qualifier would also receive the Louie Rapisarda Tribute Top Qualifier plaque and $2500 prize money.
Beuk also said now at the Nationals, the first qualifying session will see drivers earn points, allocated the same as for the Nitro Champs and added to the driver’s points earned at the Nitro champs.
The top eight points earners would then be seeded, which will see the top qualifier racing against the eighth qualifier, second against seventh, third against sixth and fourth against fifth in the second qualifying session.
The four winners would then race-off in the third qualifying session, with the two winners facing each other in the shootout final during the fourth and final qualifying session. The winner of that race will receive the Louie Rapisarda Tribute Trophy and $10,000 prize money. The runner-up will receive $5000 prize money.
Announcing the Top Fuel Tribute in February, Santo Rapisarda said the motivation for financial commitment was to help his fellow Top Fuel competitors.
“Louie liked to help other racers. I am the same and I really hope this tribute will help some of the teams who battle through events and I want these events at the Sydney Dragway because of my family’s long-standing connection in Sydney and with all the local racers,” Rapisarda said.
Beuk said Santo Rapisarda’s gesture is befitting of a family who have an enormous passion for, and have made a huge commitment to, drag racing over many years.
“I know we all are humbled by Santo’s offer of a Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Tribute and this is befitting of Louie and a family that has enormous passion for the sport and the passion lives on more than ever today,” Beuk said.