Rapisarda to race three cars at Nitro Champs

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Rapisarda Racing will field three cars in Top Fuel at this weekend’s Nitro Champs, at Sydney Dragway from Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1.

All three cars will be driven by past Nitro Champ winners, defending champion, Mark Mariani, Allan Dobson, who won the event in 2007 and Terry Sainty, who won the Nitro Champs when the event was held next door at Eastern Creek Raceway.

Rapisarda Racing manager, Santo Rapisarda Jnr said while it has been some time since the multiple Australian championship-winning team has run three cars at the one event, the Rapisarda Racing/Titan Cranes team has a good record at the Nitro Champs.

“In the past, we have had some good results at the Nitro Champs. I think we can have a good event this weekend, even with the extra workload,” Rapisarda said.  

“Last season we (Rapisarda Racing) ran two cars at all bar one event. This season, we ran two cars at the season-opening Nationals, then one car in the US and one here in Australia.” 

Rapisarda said Mariani will drive the ex-David Baca car with US-based Rapisarda Racing consultant and crew chief, Glenn Mikres, tuning the car with the crew that work on the US NHRA car.

Dobson will drive the Rapisarda red car with Santo Rapisarda Jnr doing the tuning duties.

Sainty will drive the Rapisarda black car, which he has driven since the January Perth Top Fuel championship round, with team principle Santo Rapisarda Snr the crew chief, supported by the Sainty Family Racing team regular crew members.

“Terry (Sainty) will have his own crew that work on the Sainty racing team car, but under the Rapisarda Racing umbrella. Dad (Rapisarda Snr) will be calling the shots on that car.

“I’ll be calling the shots on the Alan Dobson car and Glenn (Mikres) will be running the red ex-Baca car, with the crew that works on the US-based car. Glenn will also oversee the other two cars,” Rapisarda said.

An added bonus for this year’s Nitro Champs is that Sydney-based Mariani and Sainty are Australia’s latest international drivers, with both recently competing in (National Hot Rod Association) NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship events.     

Mariani drove the Team Rapisarda car at the final two 2010 NHRA events, at Las Vegas, Nevada, in October and the 46th annual NHRA Finals at Pomona, California, in November.

Sainty drove the Rapisarda car at the NHRA season-opening Winternationals at Pomona in February, then at Las Vegas, the third event on the NHRA tour and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte, North Carolina (April 14-17).

Sainty is currently in third place in the ANDRA Pro Series Top Fuel championship with 324 points, behind series leader Darren Morgan (475pts) and Phil Lamattina (345pts).

Mariani is in 10th place after two events and Dobson in 12th after one event.

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