Australia’s premier drag racing series is primed for kick off and defending champs Rapisarda Autosport International are at the ready line…

Rapisarda Autosport International will field an unchanged line up at the opening round of the 400 Thunder season at Sydney Dragway, November 1-2.

Ruling champ Wayne Newby and tuning guru Santino Rapisarda who last season created history when they became becoming the first two-time 400 Thunder champions will race alongside Western Australian Damien Harris and tuner whiz Santo Rapisarda Jr who rewrote the record book last year culminating in a world-class Australian record of 3.77/522 km/h at the final round of the season.

Joining the duo is Californian speedster, Ashley Sanford. The hard-luck story of last season 25-year-old Sanford posted three runner-up finishes and ended her season third overall. The Sanford car will be under the guidance of Rob Cavagnino who has a TF title on his resume when he tuned Western Australian Martin Stamatis in 2010.

Newby and the Rapisarda boys have recently returned from their annual pilgrimage to the U.S. Nationals where they qualified 14th in the quickest field in NHRA history.

Australian drag racing magnate Santo Rapisarda flanked by his two sons.

”A new season always brings new challenges,” according to team owner Santo Rapisarda. “For Santino and Wayne, the DSR canopy car that they ran for the first time at this meeting last year has only raced six times and scored three wins. Their challenge will be to maintain and build on that performance.” 

Damien and Santo Junior did some fantastic runs last year, but, they didn’t get any help from lady luck. A host of frustrating and niggling mechanical issues happening at all the wrong times. This year I’m confident they will bounce back and emerge as real contenders to win the championship. 

The challenges for Ashley have been well documented. This is her third season with the team. Last year she finished second on three occasions and finished the championship in third place. Like her teammates, a strong showing and even a win at Sydney would be a great way to kick of the year.”

California’s Ashley Sanford (centre) finished 3rd in 400 Thunder Top Fuel championship points last season.

The first event for the 6-race 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series 2019-2020 season (Atlantic Oil East Coast Nationals) will go into he record books this coming weekend (Nov 1-2) at Sydney Dragway.

DragRaceCanada (in conjunction with our media partners will again this season highlight results and provide links from all 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series events within our VP Racing Fuels International Dateline subsection.

Posted with files by John Doig and Bruce Biegler

Photos by John Doig