The Rapisarda Autosport International (RAI) team are going to engage in the largest single team effort ever seen in Top Fuel at the East Coast Nationals, November 7th and 8th. A feat that the team wanted to achieve earlier this year at the Nitro Champs, however, the event was cancelled due to rain.
“We have wanted to try and run the four cars at the one event for some time now, however, we lost our opportunity with the wet weather back in May,” explained team owner Santo Rapisarda.
So who are the drivers? Well, it’s going to be split evenly down the middle with two Americans and two Aussies.
The two Aussies will be the normal RAI drivers in Damian Harris and Wayne Newby, whom will be joined by Americans, Dom Lagana and Cory McClenathan.
Both Lagana and McClenathan are well seasoned RAI drivers.
Cory Mac last drove for the team at the 2015 Fuchs Lubricants Winternationals, which, Cory won with Lee Beard serving as crew chief. Lee will also be in Australia for the event in a bid to earn back-to-back wins.
“I got the call from Santo Junior a few weeks ago and I was very happy to hear about the race and asked if I could come down and drive one of the Rapisarda Autosport International dragsters. I’m very excited to run with three other team mates (Dom Lagana, Wayne Newby and Damien Harris) they are all great drivers so it should be a blast. I’m also looking forward to working with Lee Beard and seeing all the Rapisarda family. I enjoy the fans in Australia, they’re some of the best in the world,” exclaimed Cory Mac.
Dom Lagana will be making his Australian debut for the team. Dom last drove for the team at the 2014 Auto Club World Finals where he recorded the team’s quickest elapsed time on the NHRA tour at 3.76 seconds. This is Dom’s second trip to Australia, the first being back in May for the rained out Nitro Champs.
“First and foremost I want to take this opportunity to thank the RAI team for giving me the opportunity to race Down-Under. To be part of a four car team is something special. The team boasts some of the best talent Australia has to offer,” said Lagana.
Wayne Newby has recently returned from the USA, where he drove for the RAI team for three events on the NHRA tour, the most successful of them being the St Louis event, where Wayne turned in a 3.777 second pass, the quickest 1000ft pass by a resident Australian.
“The last six weeks for me has been a blast. It’s every Drag Racers dream to be able to go and race in the USA. Thanks to the Rapisarda family for giving me the opportunity. We will be continuing to work with the D Car, the new car that we debuted at the Darwin match race. We’re still yet to make a full run with the car, but we have gained some valuable information and are confident that were heading in the right direction. Santino and the team have been working hard to ensure we’re ready to take the fight to the rest of the Top Fuel field at the East Coast Nationals”, said Newby
Damian Harris will begin his title defence starting at the East Coast Nationals.
During the off-season, Damian Harris and Wayne Newby made the trip to Hidden Valley where they took part in a match race, which Damian won in strong form, running the best of 4.63/317 to set both ends of the track record. It was the first time that the Northern Territory had seen Top Fuel.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to competition in less than two weeks’ time. Darwin proved that we can make good consistent runs and that’s key to going rounds,” said Harris.