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Article Date: 12 June 2010

The Junior Dragster racers of the Castrol EDGE Winternationals have something special to race for this weekend thanks to Top Fuel owner Santo Rapisarda.

Rapisarda has put his strong support behind the drag racing stars of tomorrow by establishing, in honour of his late son, the Louie Rapisarda Trophy, which will be awarded to the Junior Dragster winner at the largest drag racing event outside of the US each year.

The trophy is part of activities underway to mark the 20th anniversary of Louie’s passing, joining a Top Fuel tribute at Sydney International Dragway already underway.

“Before Louie was taken from us, he was being spoken of as an up and coming, future star of Australian Drag Racing but he never had the chance to fulfil that destiny,” said Rapisarda.

“I want to encourage other young people to chase their dream.

“Junior Dragster is a wonderful thing for the boys and girls who are going to be our top drivers in the years to come.

“I hope this trophy helps them realise how important they are to our sport and that people all the way up to Top Fuel take notice of what they’re doing.”

The trophy has been designed by Stuart Bishop of Hardy Brothers Jewellers, the creators of Bathurst’s prestigious Peter Brock Trophy.

The centre piece is a stylised, wheel standing Top Fuel Dragster cast in bronze, gold plated and mounted on a timber base. While the winner’s name will be added to the perpetual trophy each year, they will also receive a smaller replica to keep.

Willowbank Raceway Managing Director Steve Bettes said he was looking forward to seeing the Juniors battle for the trophy across the weekend.

“We have a very special link with Santo and his family at Willowbank Raceway, and we are delighted to have this award being presented to the sports young competitors at the Castrol EDGE Winternationals," said Bettes.

“Junior Drag Racing is a critical development area for our sports future and we are very happy to be involved in anything that can support them in their growth as the next generation of racers."

With almost 80 young drivers between 8 and 17 years of age contesting the Junior Dragster category at this weekend’s Castrol Edge Winternationals competition to be the first recipient of the Louie Rapisarda Trophy is sure to be intense. It will certainly be an emotional moment when it is presented at the close of racing on Sunday afternoon.

The Castrol EDGE Winternationals is hosting in excess of 480 racers over the June 10-13 event, including 85 form the professional categories for the championship ANDRA Pro Series and Rocket Sportsman Series final rounds for all of the categories of drag racing. For more information, schedules or to purchase tickets, please visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au

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