Morgan wins first Louie Rapisarda Tribute Trophy

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Mildura-based Top Fuel drag racer, Darren Morgan, was the first recipient of the Louie Rapisarda Top Qualifier trophy and $2500 after top qualifying at the recent Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway (SD), Eastern Creek.

Morgan, who top qualified with a time of 4.669sec at 323.66mph at the event, has also taken the points lead in the $20,000 Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Tribute, which will conclude during qualifying at the Australian Nationals at SD in September.  

The Louie Rapisarda Top Fuel Tribute was established by former racer and long-time Top Fuel team-owner, Santo Rapisarda, 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 Louie Rapisarda Tribute was to see Top Fuel drivers earn points during qualifying at the Sydney Dragway, Summernationals and Nitro Champs ANDRA Pro Series events. 

Then at the Australian Nationals at SD in September, the top eight points earners would be seeded and race-off during qualifying with the winner receiving the Louie Rapisarda Tribute Trophy and $10,000 prize money, while the runner-up receives $5000 prize money.

However, with the (February) Summernationals rained-out after the first qualifying session, SD management decided that points would not be awarded for that event.

Points were awarded, as scheduled, after the three Nitro Champs qualifying sessions.

Now, points will also be award at the first qualifying session at the Nationals, then for the second qualifying session, the top eight points earners would be seeded, which will see the top qualifier race against the eighth qualifier, second against seventh qualifier, third against sixth and fourth against fifth during the second qualifying session.

Then the four winners would then race-off in the third qualifying session, with the two winners then facing each other in the shootout final during the fourth and final qualifying session.

After the three Nitro Champs qualifying sessions, Morgan leads with eight points, followed by Phil Read (7pts), Martin Stamatis (6pts), Allan Dobson (5pts), Mark Mariani (4pts), Phil Lamattina (3pts) Bob Shepherd (2pts) and Terry Sainty (1pt).  

Presenting Morgan with his trophy and $2500 prize money, an emotional Rapisarda congratulated Morgan, saying the Louie Rapisarda Tribute is a fitting memorial to Louie and at the same time, providing financial support to his fellow Top Fuel competitors.

“Louie liked to help other racers and I am the same. This (Louie Rapisarda Tribute) is all about my son Louie and is a fitting memorial to him.” 

Thanking Rapisarda, Morgan said he was honoured to be the first round winner of the Louie Rapisarda Tribute.

“I must thank Santo (Rapisarda) for his contribution to the sport and the prize money is much appreciated and will put to good use.”

Louie Rapisarda Tribute Video

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