“Anything could happen” – title fights head to Dragway At The Bend this weekend

This weekend’s Riverbend Nationals at Dragway at The Bend (April 5-7) will host the latest rounds of the championship for Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle as the 2023/2024 NDRC season continues to race towards what is set to be an epic conclusion in June.

Five 11,000hp flame-throwing Top Fuel dragsters will once again descend on the new Dragway at The Bend facility after headlining the sold-out grand opening for the brand-new facility back in October (Spring Nationals).

New championship leader Wayne Newby (350 points) leads the field to the Tailem Bend (SA) venue after taking over the points lead from Rapisarda Autosport International team-mate and defending champion, Damien Harris, at the last round in Perth.

Wayne Newby (Cackling Pipes)

It was a difficult event for both Newby and Harris, with the latter out of the event early after an incident in Q2, while Newby won the B-Final on a solo pass but then went into the sand trap, heavily damaging his dragster and leaving RAI with plenty of work to do to be ready for this weekend’s event.

Harris slipped to third on the standings (258) while Phil Lamattina moved to second place (266 points), and the event A-Final winner, Phil Read, moved to fourth (228). Peter Xiberras, who missed the Perth event due to logistical clashes, rounds out the top five (170 points) on the ladder heading to Dragway at The Bend.

When Read took out the victory at the last round, it was the second consecutive Westernats victory for the Jim Read Racing outfit.

Phil Read (Cackling Pipes)

“The Westernationals certainly had it all – incredible performances, plenty of drama, lots of intrigue, unfortunately some accidents, and some big championship moves – it just goes to show that when it comes to Top Fuel racing, it is the most incredible and unpredictable sport around,” Read said.

“Combined with the immense speeds and power that these dragsters throw down every time we launch off the start line, there is just nothing like Top Fuel racing, and I never get tired of seeing the faces of the fans on-track as they experience this one-of-a-kind bracket live and in person.

“The Spring Nationals back in October was a sell-out and I hope that we see another huge crowd like that this weekend.

“There is still so much racing to come for Top Fuel in our championship, with the Riverbend Nationals, two rounds at the Nitro Champs and the season-ending Winternationals all coming up.

“As we have seen time and time again, anything could happen – but what I know I can guarantee is that this show is going to be epic!”

Phil Read on his way to the win in Perth (Cackling Pipes)

In Top Doorslammer, the battle between the rookies and the veterans continues, with 11-time champ John Zappia striking one for the veterans at the last round in Perth with victory over rookie Russell Taylor to snatch not only the event win but also the title lead. Zappia heads up the points tally with three events left to run in the Top Doorslammer title chase (Riverbend Nationals, Nitro Champs, Winternationals) on 435 points over Taylor’s 418, while Ronnie Palumbo (366), Lisa Gregorini (318) and Daniel Gregorini (281) complete the top five.

John Zappia (Cackling Pipes)

Pro Stock will feature two championship rounds of its title chase at the Riverbend Nationals before its championship continues at the Nitro Champs and season-ending Winternationals, with Robert Dekert leading the way on 149 points ahead of Rick Chilton (108). Chris Soldatos (70), Clint George (51) and Tony Polito (51) round out the top five. Joining the party this weekend in a 11-strong field for the bracket will be Pro Stock royalty Aaron Tremayne and Tyronne Tremayne.

Rob Dekert (Cackling Pipes)

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, three-time champ and current title leader Luke Crowley is hoping to further his pursuit of the inaugural NDRC Pro Stock Motorcycle title this weekend. Heading into what is the penultimate round of the Pro Stock Motorcycle championship this weekend ahead of the finale at the Winternationals, Crowley leads the way on 288 points following his win at the bracket’s last round in Sydney, ahead of his nearest rivals Scott White (216 points) and Ryan Learmonth (182), while Tony Forst (156) and Jason Lee (126) are fourth and fifth on the ladder.

Luke Crowley (Cackling Pipes)

Joining Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle on-track will be the Western Conference Final for the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship, with these racers also able to score valuable points in the Eastern Conference this weekend.

“Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and the Western Conference final for the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship, and even footy stars racing mate against mate: the Riverbend Nationals will have it all at Dragway at The Bend this weekend,” NDRC Co-Founder, Andy Lopez, said.

“The last time Top Fuel headed to Dragway at The Bend, it was a complete sell-out, and we are expecting another huge crowd at the Riverbend Nationals.

“Get your tickets quick, because you don’t want to miss out on what is set to be an action-packed show full of entertainment and championship intensity this weekend.”

The Riverbend Nationals will be held at Dragway at The Bend across April 5-7. Friday April 5 will host the qualifying for the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship, before Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle hit the track alongside sportsman qualifying and racing for Saturday and Sunday. For event information and tickets, visit www.ndrc.tv

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