Olive gets RAI call up for Top Fuel Xmas Showdown

Sydney’s Top Fuel Xmas Showdown just got even more spectacular, with Shane Olive confirmed as the sixth 11,000hp/500km Top Fuel entry for the action-packed Saturday December 2 event, which will feature not only Top Fuel but also NDRC Pro Alcohol, FuelTech Pro Mod, and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship.

Olive campaigned the last two Top Fuel Championship seasons in the second Lamattina Top Fuel Racing entry, including an event win, and delivered a standout pass of the 2022/2023 finale in Darwin in June with a 3.95 second effort which saw him claim not only the C-Final win over Kyle Putland but also the low ET of the event.

With LTFR focusing on a one-car entry for the new NDRC season, Olive missed the round one of the new 2023/2024 season but has now been snatched up to be part of the championship-leading Rapisarda Autosport International team for the December 2 event, driving the Top Fueler that US star Larry Dixon took to victory at the last time Top Fuel visited Sydney.

“As a kid you look up to the people that race Top Fuel, and for years I was envious of the people that go to do that, and I never thought I would have the chance,” Olive said.

“So, to first have the opportunity with the Lamattinas to race for two seasons was a dream come true, and then now to drive for the Rapisarda family as well is another dream come true! It is a real honour to be asked to drive one of their cars.”

Rapisarda Autosport International are currently leading the NDRC Top Fuel Championship, with defending champion Damien Harris in the top spot over team-mate, Wayne Newby.

“There is always pressure to perform, and that is especially so when your team mates are 1-2, but the reality is that everyone in this field is tough to beat,” Olive said.

“Phil Lamattina is running really well with his car at the moment, and so is Phil Read and Peter Xiberras. You have to be on your game all of the time and the pressure is always on, especially when you are in something new, and the car being the last-event winner (at Sydney) adds a little bit of extra pressure too.

“Having said all that, once you get in the car and the car starts, you have a job to do, and you just focus on that job and blank everything else out. You do what you have to do, and that is get the car down the end of the track.

“I don’t have any big predictions for the weekend, I will just be focused on flying the flag for the Rapisardas and hopefully we can have some clean runs and be up there at the end of the day with a trophy, that sure would be nice.”

Shane Olive, credit: Cackling Pipes

Olive has won in Top Fuel before, claiming the event victory for Sydney’s January 2022 event where the final was postponed to be part of the following event at Heathcote Raceway, but he is yet to claim a Christmas Tree trophy.

“It would be really special to get the win next weekend,” Olive said.

“One thing I have struggled to get in my drag racing career is a Christmas Tree trophy of any description, gold or silver, and funnily enough my 24-year-old daughter Brittney Olive raced in the last national event at Sydney in Supercharged Outlaws and got the runner-up Tree, so she has been rubbing it in that she got a Christmas Tree trophy before me!

“To claim one next weekend in Sydney would be amazing, but no matter what happens, just being a part of the show is brilliant and always fun.

“I think the new NDRC is really good for drag racing and I think everyone is really looking forward to the future for the NDRC, and especially to the Winternationals where we will have everyone racing all under the one banner. It is a very exciting future for sure.

“In the meantime, I want to thank the Lamattina family for the opportunities they have given me, which have now opened up other doors with the opportunity from the Rapisardas to drive one of their cars. And of course, thank you to the Rapisardas as well. I am very grateful.”

The Top Fuel Xmas Showdown will bring an action-packed day and night of racing to Sydney Dragway on Saturday December 2, featuring Top Fuel, Pro Alcohol and Pro Mod, alongside the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship as well as plenty of on and off track entertainment. For event information and to purchase tickets, go to ndrc.tv

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