Russo qualifies for first NHRA event

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Australian Nitro Funny Car driver Peter Russo finally made the field of an NHRA event on the weekend, sneaking in to the number 16 place in Sonoma, California.

Russo has attempted to qualify 18 times before, but number 19 proved lucky and saw the team face number one qualifier Courtney Force in the first round.

Unfortunately it was there that the luck turned for the four times former Australian Funny Car champion, with the car unable to fire in a heartbreaking moment for the team. Further compounding their pain, Force overpowered the track on her solo pass and ran just a 6.63sec. time.

Helen Russo, who funds the team’s racing through her own business, said it was mass disappointment back in the pits.

“I guess we’ll never really know whether our underpowered little deal would have made it further down the track than Courtney,” she said.

“We thought we had starter battery problems, although the batteries were fully charged before we left the pits.

“Turns out that maybe a brand new fresh blower (supercharger) could have been a problem and locked stuff up.

“Huge thanks to everyone for your show of support. Maybe next time we can deliver something you can be proud of.”

It was a better weekend for fellow Australian Richard Crampton, who made it to the semi finals before a loss to eventual race winner, Qatar’s Khalid alBalooshi.

The performance could not have come at a better time for Crampton, making his position in the top ten safer with two events remaining until NHRA’s ‘Countdown to the Championship’, where the top ten drivers have their points reset and only the last six events count towards their total.


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