Nitro New Year Calling for Dragway at the Bend

South Australia’s January is about to get even hotter with the Festival State Nationals to deliver the first ever Nitro Funny Car show at the new venue as well as intense championship racing for Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Series.

Australia’s leading drag racing teams – including five 11,000hp/500km flame-throwing Nitro Funny Cars – are lining up to put on the most epic of shows at Dragway at The Bend across January 13-14.

On the line will be prestigious Christmas Tree trophies and valuable championship points. With the NDRC’s last visit to the Tailem Bend facility supported by a huge Grand Opening crowd, race fans are encouraged to witness another drag racing spectacle new to the facility.

The Festival State Nationals racing action will be headlined by the 11,000hp/500kmh Nitro Funny Cars, with the January 13/14 event to host round three of a five-round title chase.

“The Nitro Funny Car championship reaches its mid-point this weekend at Dragway at The Bend, and it is so very close,” NDRC Co-Founder, Andy Lopez, explained.

Title leader Morice McMillin has only a 22-point lead in first place (223 points) following his round two record-setting victory, with round one winner Justin Walshe nipping at his heels on 201 points.

Anthony Begley (157), Brandon Gosbell (147) and Adam Murrihy (128) round out the top five, with all three of these racers having something to prove in Adelaide.

Above: Justin Walshe. At top: Morice McMillin (both images credit to High Octane Photos)

“You absolutely cannot discount any of these competitors for a moment. What you can do is expect incredible, edge of your seat, flame-throwing, record-breaking action, and we absolutely cannot wait to deliver with Nitro Funny Cars’ first ever visit to Dragway at The Bend,” Lopez said.

Top Doorslammer is getting ready for back-to-back racing, with this weekend’s round three of their eight round season to be immediately backed up by round four at Sydney Dragway’s Australia Day Nationals across January 26/27. 

The Festival State Nationals marks a return to where the 2023/2024 action began for the hugely popular category, with Dragway at The Bend’s Spring Nationals having opened the title chase in October in front of 35,000 race fans.

Ronnie Palumbo is currently leading the points standings on 224 points over a consistent if not event winning Daniel Gregorini (186 points), bracket legend John Zappia (177 points), Lisa Gregorini (174 points) and Russell Taylor (160 points).

The Spring Nationals was an incredible opener for Doorslammer, and the intensity was further amped up when everyone had to wait until Q2 at the Goldenstates to find out who won.

In that history-making A-Final, it was rookie vs. rookie with Lisa Gregorini taking on Ronnie Palumbo, with Palumbo taking on the win. And the newcomers weren’t done then either, with Russell Taylor going on to win on Saturday in only his second ever event.

Ronnie Palumbo (Cackling Pipes)

“Doorslammer is a truly exciting category right now, with championship royalty taking on a growing new pack of racers to mean that absolutely anything could happen in this title chase. We can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold this weekend,” Lopez said.

Top Fuel Motorcycle is another bracket set to enjoy its second trip to Dragway at The Bend following the Spring Nationals opener, with Benny Stevens taking the first scalp of the season there before Perth’s Goldenstates saw Stevens and Wayne McGuinness deliver one of the passes of the event with a wheelstanding, full-candles side-by-side A-Final, with the local hero taking out the victory.

With two A-Final appearances from two events, Stevens unsurprisingly leads the points standings on 265 points ahead of round three, leading round two winner McGuinness (143), round one runner-up Damian Muscat (109), Danny Rickard (1904) and Mark Drew (102).

Benny Stevens (Cackling Pipes)

Also, on-track will be the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship competitors, fighting it out for valuable Western Conference points as they look to ensure they are invited to the fast-approaching Sportsman Grand Final, which will also be held at Dragway at The Bend in April.

There is no doubt, the Festival State Nationals are not to be missed with incredible racing and no shortage of entertainment on and off the track. Act now to secure your tickets at

The Festival State Nationals at Dragway at The Bend will feature Nitro Funny Cars, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle, and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Series across January 13-14. For event information and tickets, visit

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