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The biggest drag racing show Alice Springs has ever seen wowed race fans with a huge one-day program on Friday 2 September before unseasonably cold conditions saw the action draw to a premature close late in the evening with the finals for the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the ADRC Top Doorslammers postponed to future events.

Before the decision was made to reschedule the Top Fuel finals to round three of the season at the Perth Motorplex (November 11) and the Top Doorslammer finals to the fast-approaching Heathcote Park Raceway Summer Slam of October 1-2, both categories alongside hundreds of Heavy Hitter and sportsman racers wowed a packed house with some spectacular performances across the day and night.

“It was a huge day of drag racing at Alice Springs Inland Dragway on Friday for the Burson Auto Parts Top Fuel Championship and ADRC Top Doorslammers,” Red CentreNATS and Top Fuel promoter, Andy Lopez, said.

“The place was packed, and it was awesome to race alongside a hundred sportsman racers in the Heavy Hitter program.

“We’re grateful to the fantastic crowd and our RCN track officials, racers and crews. We put on the best show we could in pretty trying circumstances given the extremely cold weather and persistent technical issues at the start line.

“We totally support the ANDRA team’s decision to call a close to the final round. It was too cold and as a result too dangerous to race.”

At Heathcote in October, 11-time champion Zappia will face off against round one winner Kelvin Lyle in the ADRC Top Doorslammer A-Final following their round one and two performances.

Zappia showed why he is the GOAT from the outset today, blazing to the top qualifying spot with a 5.967 second pass at 376.44 kilometres per hour in the Fuchs/Dannani Hot Shots Monaro in the early afternoon for what was then a new track record – topping the timesheets ahead of Lyle, Mark Chapman, and Abel.

Round one saw Lyle face off against Chapman, with the victory going to Lyle and his Direct Mining International Mustang, which crossed the line in 6.38 seconds at 324kph while Chapman unfortunately made heavy contact with the wall following his launch. The subsequent damage would force him to retire the Penrite Plymouth Fury from any further running at the event. Zappia and Abel faced the starter next, with a blazing pass seeing Zappia emerge victorious with another track record thanks to a 5.87 second pass at 391.71kph over Abel’s 6.12s effort at 367.98kph.

In round two, there was plenty of drama on the startline for Abel and his 57 Chev Bel Air as he prepared to take on Lyle, with starter motor issues leading to a mad rush to get him fired up in time to take the tree. Unfortunately, the drama didn’t stop there for the NT racer, with issues during the run leaving the team with a lot of work on their hands while Lyle went through for another win to book his place in the A-Final with a 7.004 second pass at 276.86kph. Zappia meanwhile took a solo for what would ultimately be his final pass of the evening, securing the win light and his spot in the A-Final with a 7.39 second pass at 296.22kph.

In the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship, November’s rescheduled A-Final will see Damien Harris and Phil Read face off, while reigning champ Peter Xiberras and Wayne Newby will contest the B-Final and team-mates Phil Lamattina and Shane Olive will go to the C-Final.

Harris got his Alice Springs campaign off to a great start, topping qualifying in his Rapisarda Autosport International (RAI) Top Fuel dragster with a 4.079 second pass at 438.43 kilometres per hour, topping the time sheets ahead of Lamattina, Newby, Olive and Read, while Xiberras’ qualifying time was disqualified from consideration due to contact with the wall just before the finish line.

The first round of racing got off to a tricky start with timing system issues following the burnouts of the first pairing of Read and Lamattina. The pair were pushed back and given time to re-prepare while the next pairing took the track, with the Hydraulink Jim Read Racing entry eventually taking the win with a 4.069s/481.93kph effort over the Lamattina Top Fuel Racing (LTFR) dragster’s 4.249s/463.01kph pass when they resumed.

Xiberras and Harris’ round one face-off saw Harris not only take the win light but also set a new track record with a 4.000 second pass at 494.16kph, while Xiberras missed the setup in the PremiAir Hire Top Fuel Dragster, crossing the line in 5.597s/191.62kph.

Olive and Newby were next up, with both racers getting very out of sorts during their runs, with Olive stepping out off the hit in his LTFR entry before aborting the run and Newby’s RAI dragster skating around in the top end on the way to the win (4.025s/474.76kph).

Round two again kicked off with Read v Lamattina, with the crews rushing to adapt on the startline following a short delay for timing system adjustments. While both went up in smoke off the hit, Read was determined to stay in it and pedalled his heart out all the way down the track to ensure a win light and a spot in the A-Final.

Olive and Harris were up next, with Harris ensuring his A-Finals berth with an impressive 4.01 second pass at 446.98kph over Olive’s ‘off early’ 4.25s effort at 379.22kph.

The final Top Fuel pairing of the night would be Xiberras and Newby, and while a blown burst panel might have ended Xiberras’ campaign early in the run, he still took the win when Newby uncharacteristically rolled through the beams on the startline.

The Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and ADRC Top Doorslammers will now head to Heathcote Park Raceway for the next round of their respective seasons across October 1-2. For event information, visit

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