Sainty to draw on U.S inspiration for Top Fuel Champs

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Just weeks ago Aussie Top Fuel racer Terry Sainty fulfilled a lifelong dream – to race in the NHRA Full Throttle Series in the United States.

Sainty, as part of the Sydney-based Rapisarda Racing Team, completed the first of approximately 12 NHRA events the team will compete in earlier this month, but before he gets to event number two he has jetted home for a race on home soil at Willowbank Raceway’s Top Fuel Championships this Friday and Saturday (March 25 and 26).

While no stranger to the sport of drag racing with an involvement spanning decades in his family-run Sainty Top Fuel dragster, the 41 year old says he has already picked up a few new tricks courtesy of his NHRA trip.

“It was great to be driving in the US for the Rapisarda family, it was a very generous offer from Santo for me to go over there and drive their car, just to be there was a big privilege for me,” said Sainty.

“As far as qualifying went we went very close, but we had a few issues and unfortunately weren’t able to make it into the field, but even so, it was a great first experience.

“I think I learned a lot as a driver, such as how to stage the car better as you prepare to race, and also how to try and keep in the groove a bit more.

“You can feel it being not right and feel the car hurting, shuddering, and use that to make the decision to back off and save it or if you have to like we had to in our last qualifying run, keep it on which is where we kicked a few rods, although we still only just missed out on making it into the race field.”

So with the quick change from US to Aussie racing, to be followed up by a flight back to the States just days after the Queensland event, what will Sainty be focusing on when he takes to the Ipswich quarter-mile?

“Heading back to Australia, I will have to really focus on where the finish line is,” laughed Sainty.

“In the States they are running the 1000 foot distance at the moment and of course in Australia we run the quarter-mile, so I will need to make sure I am on it right to the end!

“I will also be doing things like trying to shallow stage, and of course just trying to not make a mistake, and try and feel what the car is doing so I can make a good judgment call each run as to whether I keep on it or if I back it off if we can keep it safe and still stay in the field.

“It will be good to get more runs in before we go back to the States a few days after the Top Fuel Champs, with the dragster – Chrysler powered and American built – similar to the one we are running in the US and the same crew that we are running over there.

“It will also be a good opportunity for me to keep moving forward in the ANDRA Pro Series points, it would be nice to finish up near the top at the end of the season.”

Sainty is currently third on the Australian Top Fuel title chase points ladder, and while his calendar is jam-packed, he will still be doing everything he can to secure valuable championship points this weekend.

“It is always good be able to sit back and look at the championship and know we are in amongst it, and I guess that is in the back of mind,” said Sainty.

“Really, I just have to thank Santo for the opportunity, with our family Sainty car we are going through a regrouping, so he has given me a chance to be racing competitively in his team while we do that.

“At the Top Fuel Championships, asides from points, I am going to be shooting for that 300 mile per hour mark, this car has done it before, but I haven’t, I have come close with a 298 mile per hour run in my own car, and a 295 mile per hour result in Pomona with the Rapisardas, so that would be a nice milestone if I can lock that away this weekend.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the fans up in Queensland as well, the atmosphere, the officials and the fans up there are always great and it is always good fun racing there.

“We will be heading back to the States on the Wednesday following the event, so it will be a quick turn around for us, but we will be just going out there and trying our best, that is all you can do really isn’t it?”

Sainty will be one of six Top Fuel racers at the Top Fuel Championships, with the Top Fuel bracket to be joined on track by fellow ANDRA Pro Series racers Top Bike and Pro Stock Motorcycle, alongside a wide variety of sportsman racers.

Tickets for the Top Fuel Championships are available now through, and start at just $35 for adults per day, with students with ID gaining a discounted entry. Children 13 and under gain free entry to the event, which will kick off on Friday March 25 at 4.00pm with qualifying, including ANDRA Pro Series qualifying at 5.00pm, 7.00pm and 9.00pm. Saturday March 26 will see the on-track action get underway from 11.00am, with ANDRA Pro Series racing from 5.00pm and finals for all categories including the Pro racers from 8.30pm (all times approximate and subject to change)

While March is full of action, April also has its own fun to offer, with the all-new Queensland Auto Spectacular to be held at Willowbank Raceway on Sunday April 10.

Willowbank Raceway’s official website – – is the place to go for more information on ticketing and upcoming events, including the season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals.

The Queen’s Birthday long weekend event will take place across Friday June 10 – Monday June 13. Featuring all of the ANDRA Pro Series brackets as well as the Rocket All Stars Racing Series making their final fights for their championships, fans are guaranteed non-stop action.

For more information and calendar dates please visit


Racing from:
Feature brackets: Top Fuel, Top Bike and Pro Stock Motorcycle
Racing also from: Lifestyle Floor Coverings Competition, Lifestyle Floor Coverings Super Stock, Super Compact, Competition Bike, All Star Batteries Supercharged Outlaws, Knijff Earthmoving Modified, Powercruise Super Sedan, Speed Elec/Prime Signs Super Street, Modified Bike, Donnelly Blasting Services Junior Dragster and Super Gas.

Ticketing: tickets available online at or at the gate:
General Admission:
Adult Admission – Friday March 25 2011 – $35.00
Student/Concession Admission – Friday March 25 2011 – $25.00
Adult Admission – Saturday March 26 2011- $35.00
Student/Concession Admission – Saturday March 26 2011 – $25.00

Adrenalin Club – includes Admission – limited seating:
Adrenalin club – Friday March 25 2011 – $75.00
Adrenalin club – Friday March 25 2011 – $30.00
Adrenalin Club – Saturday March 26 2011 – $75.00
Adrenalin club – Saturday March 26 2011 – $30.00

Reserved Grandstand seating – does not include admission:
Startline Club Seat – Friday March 25 2011- $16.00
Startline Club Seat – Satudray March 26 2011 – $16.00

Timings are approximate only and subject to change – be sure to check for schedule updates closer to the event.

Friday March 25, 2011
On track action from 4.00pm
ANDRA Pro Series Qualifying 5.00pm, 7.00pm, 9.00pm

Saturday March 26, 2011
On track action from 11.00am
ANDRA Pro Series Racing from 5.00pm, 7.00pm and finals for all brackets including ANDRA Pro Series from 8.30pm


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