Flame-throwing bonanza beckons for the West

With increasingly intense championship battles, a visiting international star, and more than 200 racers including five 11,000hp flame-throwing Top Fuel dragsters in their only visit to the West for 2024, the 53rd MacTrack Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex will have it all this Saturday and Sunday (March 2/3).

In Top Fuel, West Aussie Damien Harris leads the championship chase on 268 points, two points ahead of his Rapisarda Autosport International teammate, Wayne Newby. Peter Xiberras is third (172) while Phil Lamattina (159) and Phil Read (159) round out the top five. Local rookie Kyle Putland is sixth (67 points).

“There are no two ways about it, the MacTrack Westernationals is going to be well and truly epic – it is already a headline act on the WA racing calendar, add to that the fact this is the one and only time you will see Top Fuel out West this year and we have a West Aussie leading the title chase, and it is set to go to a whole new level this Saturday and Sunday at the Perth Motorplex,” NDRC Co-Founder, Andy Lopez, said.

“The talent in this field is undeniable with each and every member of the top five being a championship winner, and with Xiberras absent this weekend due to logistical conflicts, Lamattina and Read in particular have a strong opportunity ahead of them to jump up in the points standings at what is set to be an intense weekend of racing in the West.

“Basically, anything could happen, so if you are a fan of Top Fuel racing, make sure you are trackside at the Motorplex this weekend – this is a show you do not want to miss!”

Damien Harris (Cackling Pipes)

In Top Doorslammer, the West Aussie’s have a lot to cheer for, with nine out of the 10 racers lining up this weekend hailing from WA.

Rookie Russell Taylor (309 points) leads the points standings after breaking through for his first NDRC victory at only his second Doorslammer event during the championship’s last visit to Perth – November’s Goldenstates. He then followed that up with another victory at Dragway at The Bend in January.

Taylor leads 11-time champ and hero of the West, John Zappia. ‘Zap’ is currently on 286 points after having to settle for runner-up points at The Bend after being disqualified from what was initially his A-Final victory when a crew member touched his car while in full stage.

Taylor isn’t the only rookie making an impact either, with Lisa Gregorini (280) and New South Welshman Ronnie Palumbo (268) third and fourth in the points standings as a result of their strong efforts across the events held so far, while Lisa’s husband and former champ Daniel Gregorini (261) occupies the last spot in the top five.  

Joining these racers in making up a 10-car Doorslammer field on-track this weekend will be Maurice Brennan, debutant Andrew Cole, Frank Taylor, rookie Jay-Dee Dack, and Mark Chapman.

Russell Taylor (Cackling Pipes)

“The margins in our Top Doorslammer standings at the moment are razor thin, the drama is at an all-time high, and there are so many racers in our line-up who are capable of A-Final victories and record-breaking performances right now,” Lopez said.

“There is no telling how this championship is going to continue to unfold, and with a huge field of ‘Slammers taking to the track this weekend in Perth, things are just going to get more and more interesting at the Westernats for Doorslammer fans.”

In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Fuelled Motorsport’s Benny Stevens has had a very strong season so far and leads the way in the points standings on 406 points. Damian Muscat and Greg Durack are tied for second place, while Rob Cassar and Danny Rickard round out the top five.

Taking on the bracket regulars this weekend will be international Top Fuel Harley star Michael Beland, who will be riding a Fuelled Motorsport Dannani Hot Shots Top Fuel Harley alongside Stevens and is keen to ruffle some feathers as he tries to bring home his own NDRC Christmas Tree trophy and hopefully help Steven’s title hopes along the way.

Benny Stevens (Cackling Pipes)

In total, 10 Top Fuel Motorcycles – six of them hailing from the West – will tackle the Motorplex this weekend in the fight for NDRC honours, with Stevens, Muscat, Durack and Beland to be joined by Wayne McGuinnes, Kim Leonard, Ricky Wood, Travis Lorraway, Kevin Gummow and Ian Ashelford.

“How cool is it to have an international star of Michael Beland’s calibre coming over to race at the Westernats!” exclaimed Lopez.

“Top Fuel Motorcycle is something else, a real eye-opening experience to watch and the pinnacle of two-wheeled drag racing.

“The riders in this bracket deliver insane performances and we can’t wait to see our Aussie racers go up against the international visitor this weekend in a battle of the bikes this weekend.”

Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle will be joined by the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship racers on-track at the Perth Motorplex for the 53rd annual MacTrack Westernationals, with racing to be held across Saturday March 2 and Sunday March 3. For event info and tickets, visit www.ndrc.tv

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