Lamattina lines up rivals ahead of Top Fuel Aus Day double header

Two-time Top Fuel champ Phil Lamattina is calling out his rivals heading into the NDRC Australia Day Nationals Top Fuel double header at Sydney Dragway (January 26/27) – and none more so than his ex-teammate, Shane Olive.

“When he was my teammate, I had a bit of empathy for him, but now I have none,” Lamattina said of Olive.

“Especially as he took my championship chance away when he beat me in Darwin (at the 2022/2023 season finale) – yeah there were no team orders or anything, but I am still burning over that one!

“Beating him will be something special,” he grinned.

Above: Shane Olive and Phil Lamattina in happier days. At top: Lamattina in action at the season opener (Cackling Pipes)

It isn’t just Olive – who will be on-track as part of a four-car Rapisarda Autosport International outfit across January 26/27 – that Lamattina has in his sights either.  

“The Rapisardas are going to bring a decent arsenal of cars, and it is going to be our job – which will be fantastic – to beat up on all four of them,” Lamattina enthused.

“Phil Read and I used to be ready to go if we even just looked at each other the wrong way, and Peter Xiberras has had a bit to say lately too.

“We are coming for all of them.”

The Mildura carrot farmer says recent changes to the FUCHS Lamattina Top Fuel Racing dragster will ensure his team can walk the walk, and not just talk the talk, come Australia Day.

“You hear the same spin all the time from racers, but we legitimately have made some changes to the car that we really think will see us improve our performance and our consistency,” Lamattina said.

“We have a good car, and we are dangerous, but we haven’t been ‘Damien Harris and Santo Rapisarda Junior dangerous,’ if you know what I mean. We have just been a bit too hit and miss recently. Now we hope to change that.

“We need to get into it, and with two rounds in two days in Sydney over Australia Day, there is no doubt this is going to be a turning point for the championship chase for the rest of our season.  

“There is no more time for excuses – everyone needs to get their sh*t together.”

Lamattina is currently fourth in the championship points following the opening round of the NDRC Top Fuel title at Dragway at The Bend in October.

At that event, which hosted 35,000 race fans and an incredible 13 three second passes and five side-by-side ‘threes’, with six of those three second passes run at more than 500kph, Damien Harris took the win and the early title lead (157 points) over his Rapisarda Autosport International teammate Wayne Newby (125 points).

Third-placed is PremiAir Racing’s Peter Xiberras (90), with Lamattina (66) and Jim Read Racing’s Phil Read (60) rounding out the top five heading to Australia Day’s second and third rounds, where Top Fuel will be joined on-track by Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, FuelTech Pro Mod, Pro Alcohol and the Aeroflow Sportsman Championship Series.  

“To start the season off with the crowd that we did at a brand-new facility was really great, and it is clear Dragway at The Bend is going to be awesome – we can’t wait to head back there in April,” Lamattina said.

“In the meantime, though, we are getting really hyped up for the double header – we haven’t done that for a long time, and it is going to be pretty cool to be a part of.

“The pressure will be on the crew chiefs to get it right from the start and no one wants to hear excuses, but this isn’t their first rodeo.

“I don’t think having two rounds in two days adds more pressure to the drivers though – when you are as experienced as I am, it is pretty easy to get in the zone right away,” he winked, before thanking FUCHS, R&J Batteries, Nitro 4×4 and Trailers, and Rocky Lamattina and Sons for their support.

The Australia Day Nationals will bring two action-packed days and nights of racing to Sydney Dragway on Friday January 26 and Saturday January 7. For event information and to purchase tickets, go to ndrc.tv

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