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MARIANI TO APPLY U.S. LESSONS TO NEW YEARS RACING

Article Date: 1 January 2011

Fresh from their United States drag racing excursion, Mark Mariani and the Rapisarda Racing Top Fuel team will be ones to watch this weekend as they seek to convert the lessons learned in the States into a New Year Series event win at Willowbank Raceway.

Mariani and the Rapisarda team will be at Queensland’s premier drag racing facility this Sunday and Monday (January 2/3) alongside fellow ANDRA Pro Series bracket Top Alcohol, for round one of New Year Series at the Ipswich quarter-mile.

Mariani said he was looking forward to applying what he had learnt racing in the NHRA Series – an experience which included a round two eliminations appearance at the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals after defeating championship contender Cory McClenathan in round one - amongst familiar rivals.

“The whole (US) experience was unbelievable. Rapisarda Racing wanted to put on a good show and not be disgraced and I think we were able to do that,” said Mariani.

“We qualified at Las Vegas and won our first round elimination, which was fantastic and a great experience for the whole team.

“Racing to the 1000-foot was also an experience, but I am happy to go the extra 300-foot (91.44 metres) and run over the full quarter-mile at Willowbank.

“While my best speed (in the US) was 307.44mph (494.67km/h), I still have not run over 300mph in Australia and that’s a goal I want to achieve. Hopefully that will happen at Willowbank this weekend!”

After the Willowbank event, Mariani and key Rapisarda team members will head back to the US for the 51st annual NHRA Winternationals at Pomona in February, the 42nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) in March and the NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas, in early April.

Joint Rapisarda Racing crew chief, Santo Rapisarda Jnr said after experiencing racing against the world’s best in the US, Team Rapisarda is looking forward to again racing on home soil.

“Our crew certainly learnt a lot and worked very well together while in the US. The pressure was always on, especially with the shorter turnaround times (in the US) than we have, and are use to, in Australia,” said Rapisarda Jnr.

“After our US experience, it would be good to win at Willowbank before going back to the US. That would certainly be a great start to 2011!”

The two-round New Year Series at Willowbank Raceway will take place on January 2/3 (Round One) and January 14/15 (Round Two), 2011.

ANDRA Pro Series brackets Top Fuel and Top Alcohol will take to the Ipswich quarter-mile for round one before Top Doorslammer and Pro Stock are joined by the fire-throwing Nitro Funny Cars for round two.

For more information and tickets, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au

Willowbank Raceway is Queensland’s premier drag racing facility and hosts four major drag racing events each year - the two-round New Year Series in January, the Australian Top Fuel Championships in March and the Castrol EDGE Winternationals in June. The Queen’s Birthday event is the largest drag racing event outside of the US and is the season finale for the ANDRA Pro Series calendar.

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