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  Day one of the 2017 ANDRA Australian Nationals at Calder (Saturday) for qualifying, saw a big crowd on hand to witness some great drag race action.

Melbourne’s weather was perfect and the teams and drivers really turned it on for the enthusiastic crowd, who have been starved of top level drag racing for some time.

Top Fuel lights up the track – Dom Lagana comes out on top.

It’s been a year since Melbourne drag racing fans had the opportunity to experienced the fantastic spectacle of nitro-burning Top Fuel cars race at Calder.
While 4 cars is not a big number, the quality of the field is solid. Santo Rapisarda expanding his entry to three cars including US nitro star Dom Lagana and long-time tuner Lee Beard, joining the Rapisarda International Racing teammates, Wayne Newby and Damien Harris. The fourth entry was local racer Darren Morgan in his AEG Power tools dragster.
With one qualifier set down for the day, the excitement in the crowd grew as the fastest cars on earth lined up to complete their qualifying round. The small field didn’t disappoint, and both races were top quality wide open classic T/F action with two fantastic side by side passes which brought cheers from the crowd.
At the end it was Lagana who stopped the 1000ft clocks in 4.075 seconds at 277.20 mph, In second place was Damien Harris with a 4.155 at 274.83. Darren Morgan grabbed  third with a solid 4.181 at 279.61 mph while Wayne Newby ended in fourth position with a 4.426 at 212.36.

Top Doorslammer – John Zappia sets the mark.

Three qualifying sessions for Top Doorslammer saw John Zappia lay down the challenge to the anyone that wants to take the converted Nationals Christmas Tree. In the first round the multi-time champ went 5 seconds flat over the 1000ft distance with a solid 223.65 mph. His second effort was a 4.919 and backed up in the third session with a 4.911.
It was the second session that saw the field get serious with Ben Bray, who had a small issue in the first pass ended up with a 5.020 at 220.98 mph for second spot. Mark Belleri was solid in the AC Delco Holden Monaro with a 5.070 at 220.91 mph for third. Paul Canulli was close and in the hunt with a 5.076 for fourth place in the PC Cranes Duster. Sam Fenech put in a 5.12 to be fifth. Following apparent electrical issues, Victor Bray got going with a solid 5.301 at 214 mph to be sixth and smiling. While Rob “Mad Professor” Taylor running his brand new 68 Camaro was having new car dramas and didn’t make a full pass and ended the slowest of the field.

In Top Alcohol – John Cannuli was  fastest, clocking a 4.82 to take the No.1 spot for racing while in Pro Stock-Lee Bektash in his Dodge Mopar ripped off a 5.98 ET at an over the record 177.09 mph for the 1000ft to head the field

Plenty of other races will fight it out to take home the coverted ANDRA Nationals Tree’s and all the race action starts this afternoon in perfect conditions for top line drag racing.

Pictures Steve Nally-Indywrite Media.