Inaugural NDRC season racing to epic finale this weekend

The final stand for the first ever National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) season will race to an epic conclusion at the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals this weekend (June 6-9) at Willowbank Raceway.

All eight NDRC Group One brackets will be in action at what is the largest championship drag racing event held outside of the US, doing battle for not only event glory, but also NDRC championship honours.

Hitting the track will be 11,000hp Top Fuel racers, XPRO Nitro Funny Cars, Top Doorslammers, Top Fuel Motorcycles, as well as Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and FuelTech Pro Mod racers, alongside the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship and plenty of off-track entertainment.

“One of the biggest championship drag racing events on the planet will lift to a whole new level this year,” NDRC Co-Founder, Andy Lopez, said.

“We can’t wait to get the NDRC on track at Willowbank Raceway, Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, which is looking amazing following the completion of recent upgrades.

“The track surface looks incredible, the anticipation is at an all-time high as our inaugural season comes to a close, and there is so much to play for between championship honours and the battles for glory at this prestigious event.

“When it comes to names to watch, the list is long as the competition has been fierce in each and every bracket across the season with many title chases still too close to call.

“In short, you don’t want to miss this show – if you are a fan of drag racing, make sure you get out to Ipswich this weekend.”

Top Fuel’s return to Willowbank Raceway will host an inter-team battle for the championship, with defending champ Damien Harris leading the points on 626 points after snatching the lead back from his Rapisarda Autosport International team-mate and former champ, Wayne Newby (587), at the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs. With no team orders in play, this is a battle that is sure to go down to the wire.

After his back-to-back round wins at the ‘two rounds in one weekend’ Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs, Peter Xiberras heads to the event full of confidence and fourth in the points – and in striking distance of third place, currently held by Phil Lamattina. The NDRC is saddened to confirm Lamattina and his championship-winning LTFR team will not be in attendance this weekend, due to the passing of beloved Uncle and team member, Uncle Tony.  Family of course must come first, and the entire NDRC team is sending their condolences to the Lamattina and LTFR families at this sad time.

The last time Xiberras was at Willowbank Raceway he won the championship, the event, and set the quickest Top Fuel ET in Australia – a marker which lasted until recently when Harris took it away at the Riverbend Nationals, but still remains the track record. Rounding out the top five is Phil Read, who will be looking for a strong end to what has been an up and down season after the Nitro Champs proved particularly challenging.

In XPRO Nitro Funny Cars, Justin Walshe leads the way on 457 points while defending champ Morice McMillin is nipping at his heels on 429. The pair headed to the last event tied on points, but Walshe’s event victory enabled him to put his nose in front ahead of this weekend’s finale.

While Walshe took the win in Sydney, McMillin was one step behind him all weekend long to make sure the margin heading into the Winternats was as fine as possible, and it will be all to play for this weekend. Brandon Gosbell (359) is also still mathematically in the championship picture, while Anthony Begley (264) and Adam Murrihy (164) round out the top five and will be sure to put on an impressive performance as they hunt a prestigious event win.

While Top Fuel and XPRO Nitro Funny Cars will be employing the all-run format they have enjoyed all season, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and FuelTech Pro Mod will all be switching it up to the eliminations format at the June 6-9 event, with the racers needing to qualify for an eight-car field ahead of knock-out style racing.

In Top Doorslammer, 11-time champ John Zappia and series newcomer Russell Taylor have been at the centre of one of the most intense title rivalries this season, trading wins and the points lead throughout. Heading into the finale, Taylor leads the way on 659 points from Zappia’s 635, with another rookie, Ronnie Palumbo, in third and still in with a chance – especially given the eliminations format – on 543 points.

In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Benny Stevens has a commanding lead on 688 points following his twin event victories at the Westernationals – Stevens, Damian Muscat and a host of other racers will all be looking for an event victory; while in Pro Alcohol Russell Mills has a strong grip on the title on 405 points over local racer Daniel Reed (267), but all eyes will be on Reed to see if he can race through for his first group one event win at home.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2023 Winters winner Luke Crowley – leading the way on 417 points – Tony Frost and Jason Lee are just some of the names to keep an eye on at the Winters.

In Pro Stock, Rob Dekert, Rick Chilton and Omar Sedmak have been hard at work locking away points all season long while Pro Stock royalty and defending champ Tyronne Tremayne – last year’s Winters victor – and 10-time champ Aaron Tremayne have also joined the party late at the last two events and have been making plenty of waves in the process.

Dekert sits atop the points standings ahead of the Winters on 413 points, while Chilton follows behind on 373. Tyronne is fourth on the standings on 216 points, with his first event in the NDRC delivering an event win at Dragway at The Bend.

Tyronne may have the opportunity to snag another event win prior to the Winters battle as well, as these points standings are pending however the finalisation of the delayed Pro Stock Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs finals, which will be held during qualifying for the Pro Stock bracket. In those finals, Ray Oxley and Sedmak (D Final), Tony Polito and Darryl Stephen (C Final), Aaron Tremayne and Mario Polito (B Final) and Chilton and Tyronne Tremayne (A Final) will fight it out for the ‘Sydney’ honours.

In FuelTech Pro Mod, Craig Burns started his season off in dominating fashion and will be hoping to end his season on a high, but he will have Joe Gauci, 2023 Winters winner Zoran Gajic and more looking to derail his hopes. Burns brings 346 points into the finale while Gauci has 269 and Gajic 240, but also to be taken into consideration is the fact that Burns and Frank Tarabay (B Final) and Gajic and Paul Mouhayet (A Final) are set to finalise their delayed Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs finals during Winternats qualifying.

The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals will be held at Willowbank Raceway across June 6-9. For event information and tickets, visit www.ndrc.tv

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