Chilton looking to shed bridesmaid tag at Nitro Champs

With three finals appearances in the last 12 months but no wins, NDRC Pro Stock championship contender Rick Chilton is hopeful he can shed the bridesmaid tag and race through to a Gold Christmas Tree at Sydney Dragway’s Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs.

The May 17-19 event will feature not only highly entertaining racing from Chilton and his fellow Pro Stock racers, but also two rounds of racing for Top Fuel as well as racing for Nitro Funny Car, Top Doorslammer, FuelTech Pro Mod, two rounds for the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship, plus aerial acrobatics from Australia’s own Red Bull Air Race world champion and former Royal Australian Air Force top gun fighter pilot, Matt Hall.

While Chilton hasn’t taken a win yet this season, instead coming home the runner-up at the Sydney Nationals and the Australia Day Nationals alongside going to the C-Final at the Riverbend Nationals, he has had plenty of consistency aboard his Sinned Customs-built Dodge Avenger.

As a result, he is currently in second place in the title standings with two rounds left to run, trailing leader Rob Dekert while sitting ahead of Chris Soldatos, Omar Sedmak, Tyronne Tremayne, and Tony Poilto.

Rick Chilton (Cackling Pipes)

“To take out the championship we will need some things to go our way, and for Rob, to maybe not have the luck go his way quite so much,” smiled Chilton.

“But in drag racing anything can happen, and we will keep chipping away and see how the cards land.

“Obviously it would be great to win the title for me and our team, but I think that the kids and grandkids would enjoy it the most!

“I am really enjoying my time in the NDRC, I think a real highlight has been Andy and his team running the show – they have really breathed new life into the sport.”

Chilton is hoping to further build his consistency and perhaps achieve a new personal best as he looks to chase victory in Sydney.

“Having been in three finals recently, including two this season, and not winning one any of them is not great, so to win one would be fantastic – hopefully we can make that happen at the Nitro Champs and go that all-important one better than we did here last year,” said the 68-year-old self-funded retiree.

“We will be focusing on everyone doing their job, doing their best, and that includes being more consistent with my driving and also the car set-up – it really is easy to get lost with these cars.

“I think we could perhaps run a 6.90 second pass at 198 miles per hour, that should certainly be achievable given the right weather conditions,” noted the Royalla (NSW) resident, who’s most recent personal best of 6.926 seconds came at Dragway at The Bend’s Riverbend Nationals in April.

Rick Chilton (Cackling Pipes)

With Pro Stock being part of an absolutely stacked line-up of entertainment on and off the track for the event’s three days, Chilton says fans should be ready to be amazed.

“The Nitro Champs is always a great meeting, especially for the Pro Stock cars, as the weather conditions are usually optimal,” Chilton said.

“With the Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Cars also both running during the day, plus Top Doorslammer, Pro Mod and the sportsman competitors, there will be a lot for families and fans to see during the warmer daylight hours.

“And the aerobatic stunt show with Matt Hall will add another dimension to the show, it is all about entertainment right? I think there will be no shortage of that at the Nitro Champs!

“Hopefully we can put on the best show possible and perhaps bring home a new PB or a victory – it would be great to reward the support of all those who help me with some success at the Nitro Champs for sure.

“I would like to thank in particular my guiding light of 37 years, Donna, and our family Kristin, David, Amy Thomas, Ross, Bek, plus our grandkids Cameron, Naomi, Mason and Ashton. Their support is invaluable.

“Many thanks also to Shauna, Dean, Johno and all the people who have helped and crewed along the way, as well as our valued sponsors, Canberra Machining Company, Ross and Co Electrical, LuLu and Sis cakes and ACT Diff Doctor.

“Finally, I must send a big shout out to the guy who builds our engines and has given us endless help and support, Aaron Tremayne from Tremaniac Racing.”

Rick Chilton (Cackling Pipes)

The National Drag Racing Championship is taking the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs (May 17-19) to new heights in 2024, in what is shaping up to be Australia’s biggest nitro fuelled drag racing event, with spectators urged to pre-purchase their tickets to make sure they can secure their spot trackside for the non-stop event.

Tickets are available now at with kids aged 10 and under gaining free access with a paying adult.

For more information, visit

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