Aussie Top Fuel team set for another NHRA campaign

Australian Top Fuel team Rapisarda Racing will return to race in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this year. Rapisarda Racing contested the final two NHRA Full Throttle events, in Las Vegas and Pomona, late last year with regular team driver Mark Mariani at the wheel.

Terry Sainty will drive the Rapisarda Racing entry.

This year, the Australian team will contest at least 12 NHRA Full Throttle events with experienced Sydney Top Fuel drag racer Terry Sainty performing the driving duties.

Rapisarda Racing team manager Santo Rapisarda Jr., confirmed the team had considered several U.S.-based NHRA drivers, including Steve Torrence, Cory McClenathan, and Tommy Johnson Jr. before offering the drive to Sainty, and if Sainty cannot make any of the scheduled U.S. events, Johnson has agreed to drive the car.

Rapisarda Racing’s schedule includes the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, followed by the events Las Vegas, Charlotte, Atlanta, Topeka, Bristol, Norwalk, Brainerd, Indianapolis, and Phoenix, before returning to finish the season again in Las Vegas and Pomona. Last year, the team qualified at the fall Las Vegas event and defeated. McClenathan in round one of racing.

The team has not ruled out doing the Denver-Sonoma-Seattle Western Swing, and Rapisarda said that if the team was doing well in the Full Throttle points chase, other events could be added to the NHRA schedule.

The team will continue to race in the Australian National Drag Racing Association Pro Series Top Fuel championship events with its Australian-based team between the planned NHRA Full Throttle events.

Although it has been a dream to race in the United States since he first started driving in 1992, Sainty said in recent years it was not a consideration, until Santo Rapisarda Sr. asked if he would be interested. Sainty, who owns and runs an industrial machinery maintenance company, said the Rapisarda offer is an extremely generous one and he is 100 percent committed to racing in the US.

“Santo is a very generous man. I am extremely proud and privileged to drive his car in the US. It is a great opportunity.”


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