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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Steve Read Takes First Top Fuel Points
of the Season At Calder Park

By Paul Marinelli

Steve Read took Santo Rapisarda's Top Fuel car to the win at Calder Park. Photo by John Doig
Steve Read took Santo Rapisarda's Top Fuel car to the win at Calder Park. 
Photo by John Doig

The combination of top flight Australian drag racing and a perfect Melbourne summer day and evening gave Melbourne drag racing fans a number of exciting battles for early season Championship points. A total of eleven drag racing brackets competing at Calder Park in the 2000 Victorian Drag Racing Championships. (Saturday December 9)

The Top Fuel battle for first points of the 2000/2001 season saw top qualifier Jim Read in his Gregory's Top Fuel Team dragster line up against Robin Kirby's Pennzoil dragster. In a close charge from the green light, both drivers battled wheel spin most of the way through the close pass, Read setting the quickest ET at 5.447s (212.56 MPH) with a 0.494s RT (Reaction Time) despite the hard charging challenge from his Victorian rival who set an ET of 5.516s (RT 0.511s) at a terminal speed of 267.77 MPH - the second fastest pass of the event.

Melbourne driver Darren Di Filippo (Pit Stop Oil Change / Valvoline Dragster) staged the Santo Rapisarda machine that he agreed to pilot for this meeting against NSW driver Steve Read, but the pass was short lived for the current Australian Top Fuel terminal speed record holder (Di Filippo). The 28-year-old was forced to shut down soon after launch after a superb reaction time of 0.473s, allowing Read to power on to a strong but conservative 5.167s ET at a terminal speed of 251.67 MPH.

The Top Fuel final saw Steve Read power to the fastest pass of the event after an 0.514s RT to an ET of 5.121s at an impressive terminal speed of 282.22 MPH, taking the win from fellow Sydney-sider Jim Read, who suffered excessive wheel spin and tire shake after launch, forcing him to abandon the pass. (RT 0.485s / ET 7.869s / 98.76 MPH).

In the highly competitive Pro Stock bracket, Bruno Cugnetto won his first round eliminator with a 7.844s ET (175.37 MPH) but it was the spectacular pass of Queensland based Ford Probe driver John Barbagallo that had the Calder Park crowd on their feet. Despite Barbagallo's efforts to keep the powerful car within his lane, he swayed across the centerline to find himself directly behind Cugnetto by the end of the pass, wiping him out of contention.

NSW driver Jason Grima powered his Probe to a resounding semi final win over reigning Pro Stock Champion Peter Ridgeway (7.767s / 177.97 / RT 0.609s) in his Oldsmobile Cutlass. Grima's outstanding reaction time of 0.411s served him well to win a close battle despite his slightly lower ET and terminal speed - (7.894s / 172.41 MPH). This was the first finals appearance missed by Ridgeway after making it to every Pro Stock final last season.

A sensation in the Pro Stock final - a double red light affair with Cugnetto winning the round because Grima fractionally red lighted first. (Cugnetto's RT - 0.388s, Grima's RT - 0.379s)

This was Grima's first ever finals appearance in his rookie season and Cugnetto's first event contested since April - making it directly to the competitive Calder Park Pro Stock final. For Sydney based Grima this was a sterling performance, considering that the former national Super Stock Champion started his Pro Stock career at the Winternationals last June.

The only hair raising moment of the meeting saw Performance Distributors Racing Modified Eliminator dragster driver Rachel Clancy barrel roll her car at the end of her practice pass on Saturday morning, luckily escaping major injury. The same cannot be said for her dragster chassis, which was destroyed in the spectacular accident.

A full listing of 2000 Victorian Drag Racing Championship bracket winners follows:

Bracket / Driver / State / ET / MPH

Junior Dragster - Shane Tucker - QLD - 8.674s / 71.98 MPH

Super Sedan - Matt Street - VIC - 9.079s (Ford Capri)

Super Street - Jim Denaro - NSW - 11.418s / 117.70 MPH (Cortina)

Modified Eliminator - Stephen Russell - VIC - 8.187s / 162.33 MPH

Super Gas - Lee Bektash - VIC - 9.850s / 143.76 MPH (Calibra)

Modified Bike - Darren Mason - VIC - 9.350s / 130.30 MPH (Katana)

Competition Bike - Perry Mackie - SA - 8.744s / 147.22 MPH (Harley)

Super Stock - Grant Williams - VIC- 8.890s RECORD ET / 162.54 MPH (Mazda RX-7)

Competition Eliminator - Shane Baxter - VIC - 10.090s / 84.15 MPH

Pro Stock - Bruno Cugnetto - VIC - 7.670s / 177.40 MPH

Top Fuel - Steve Read - NSW - 5.121s / 282.22 MPH - Fastest pass of the event.

Next major Calder Park Drag Racing Events: January 27 2001 - Top Alcohol / Bandag Truck Feature / February March 15-17 2001 Australian Nationals.

A wide selection of images from this event is available from www.torquephotos.com, a selection of copyright free images follows. Just click on the links to view and download images through your web browser (or type in the URL) to access each image.

Image Links

Copyright free (media only) images taken today by John Doig

Tom Easton (VIC) Competition Eliminator

Robert Ambrosi (VIC) Competition Eliminator

Steve Read (NSW) Top Fuel

Robin Kirby (VIC) Top Fuel

Darren Di Filippo (VIC) Top Fuel

Digital Images:

Pro Stock Action

Gregory's Top Fuel Team driver Jim Read

Robin Kirby



Top Fuel

1. Steve Read - NSW - Santo's Cranes Dragster - 5.144s / 242.71 MPH
2. Robin Kirby - VIC - Pennzoil / VDO - 8.114s / 100.24 MPH
3. Jim Read - NSW - Gregory's Top Fuel - 11.587s / 81.28 MPH

Pro Stock

1. Peter Ridgeway - VIC - Oldsmobile Cutlass - 7.735 / 170.06 MPH
2. John Barbagallo - QLD - Ford Probe - 7.809s / 174.55 MPH
3. Jon Andriopoulos - NSW - Chev Lumina - 7.825s / 173.74 MPH

Super Sedan - Saban Demaj - VIC - Mazda RX-4 - 8.345s / 165.44 MPH

Modified Eliminator - David Patterson - VIC - Bantam Altered - 7.661s / 171.00 MPH

Super Street - David Simpson - NSW - Ford - 11.012s

Junior Dragster - Shane Tucker - QLD - Spitzer - 8.708s / 71.64 MPH

Super Gas - John Somoracz - NSW - Cortina - 9.901s

Modified Bike - Damien Martini - VIC - Suzuki - 8.932s / 140.29 MPH

Competition Bike - Perry Mackie - SA - Harley - 8.895s

Super Stock - Tom Dimitropoulos - SA - Camaro - 9.177s

Competition Eliminator - Craig Geddes - VIC - 32 Bantam Altered - 8.153s

The staff and management of Calder Park Motorsport wishes all a safe and happy festive season.

Paul Marinelli
Marinelli Motorsport Pr & Media Pty Ltd

On the Web at: http://www.marinellimotorsport.com
Or: http://www.marinellimotorsport.da.ru
Or: http://www.users.bigpond.com/pauljm
E-Fax: 00 11 1 810 454 0583 
(Dialing this number allows voice messages or faxes to be immediately forwarded to us by email anywhere anytime).


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