NHRA’s recent AAA Auto Club Finals included more future positives with solid participation from International drag racers….

We at DragRaceCanada are and have always been proponents for international efforts within the sport of drag racing.   And while the valued and frequent efforts from drag racers based “North of the 49th” from Canada has and always will be a primary focus — we were pretty impressed by the count and effort from entries from oversees which participated at the final NHRA event of the season.

We think that touch and event enhancement doesn’t necessarily always get the recognition it deserves within the USA’s drag racing mainstream. And that’s surprising given the often herculean efforts, extra expense and determination required for these drivers to race in North America.

Everyone at Pomona was totally impressed by a stunning effort from Norwegian young lady racer Julie Nataas. The daughter of European TF champion Thomas Nataas drove one of Randy Meyer’s injected nitro cars at the event.  After qualifying #1 at 5.115 secs (3rd quickest run in TAD history) Julie advance all the way to the final round before losing out to Canada’s Shawn Cowie!

Robert Turner came all the way over from Great Britain to enter his Chevy Monte Carlo in TAFC class competition. While Robert (from Northamptonshire England) was a DNQ at the Finals – his motivated team continues it’s upward class potential.

Norway’s Fred Hanssen (from Afjord) continues to hone his skills with his supercharged TAD. Fred clocked a very solid 5.329 secs to qualifying #15 – but got beat to the stripe in round one by the injected nitro car raced by Bill Litton.

Sweden was also very well represented at the event – with both Ulf Leanders (top) and Jonnie Lindberg entered in Funny Cars in TAFC and nitro FC respectively. Ulf Leaders qualified #3 at the event and finished #11 in final Lucas Oil Series World points. Lindberg’s Pomona event driving for Jim Head was a surprising DNQ — coming after many other strong and impressive event finishes earlier during 2017.

Peter and Helen Russo from Australia were again welcome additions to the AAA Auto Club World Finals FC program. With highly competent Canadian native Jeff Arend at the wheel of their Murray Anderson-built car — the popular and independent effort qualified for the show on the bump @ 4.140 secs.

Shane Tucker who is from Australia’s Queensland state was competitive again with his Hot Wheels-themed Chevy Camaro. Shane’s best run of 6.714 secs did however fall short of the World Finals Pro Stock bump.

Richie Crampton (a native of Adelaide SA) displayed his skills again in Top Fuel racing. Richie qualified the Kalitta Racing Sealmaster-sponsored dragster #8 – but lost out in round #1 to newly crowned Brittany Force.

Australia’s Luke Crowley entered the ferocious Pro Stock Motorcycle program at Pomona aboard his imported Suzuki. But the multi-time ANDRA event winner from Ipswich QLD just missed qualifying when his 7.154 secs best run was a heart wrenchingly  .002 short of the bump.

Few can argue however that the biggest single impact player internationally for NHRA drag racing is not visionary team owner Santo Rapisarda – also from Australia. Santo (centre below) and his sons continue to make major impressions at all the events they attend with seemingly continuous improvements to their performance curve. Super skilled driver from Sydney, Wayne Newby drove their team car to a 3.784 secs at 326.32 mph at Pomona to qualify 10th before being edged out of completion in round one by Doug Kalitta.

Posted by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler & John Doig