Dixon, Stevens and Lyle star at Nitro Champs
Saturday 6th May, 2023 - 10:56pm
Three-time NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Larry Dixon has won the penultimate round of the 2022/2023 Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship at Sydney Dragway’s Nitro Champs.
With one round to go at Hidden Valley in June, Harris has a 65-point lead over Peter Xiberras and Phil Read who are tied for second.
In Top Fuel Bikes, it was Benny Stevens who took the win while Top Doorslammer honours went to Kelvin Lyle who extended his points lead to the point that he has almost wrapped up the title.
After disappointing qualifying runs where he couldn’t better a seven second, Dixon went down to Phil Lamattina in the first round before he knocked off Xiberras in the second. That put him in the A Final against Lamattina. The run finished with an engine fire and a time of 4.385s, but Lamattina had shut down earlier.
Dixon had never won at Sydney Dragway and his last victory in Australia was in 2016 at Willowbank. “I have been coming here for ten years, there are good cars here,” Dixon said. “When you beat these guys, you beat champions.”
Xiberras faced Wayne Newby and won by 0.35s in the B Final. Shane Olive was on his own in the C Final and went sub four seconds despite an engine flame out towards the end. Olive was supposed to match up with Phil Read but he had a major engine detonation in round two. The team managed to get running before the final, but it wouldn’t build oil pressure.
The D Final was between the Western Australians where Damien Harris beat Kyle Putland. Xiberras recorded the fastest time in the finals with a 3.833 second pass but the best time of the night went to Harris’ first round effort of 3.784s.
Second in the points, Stevens took the Top Fuel Bike victory over title leader Rob Cassar while John Zahra won a solo B-Final when the record-breaking Chris Matheson was a non-starter. He had a scrape with the wall in his Round 2 run after a stunning and historic record breaking 5.920s in Round 1.
In Top Doorslammer, Lyle enhanced his championship points lead with his A-Final win aboard his Ford Mustang over Geoff Gradden who red lighted in his Chrysler Saratoga. Top qualifier John Zappia and his HQ Monaro remain second in the points after his B-Final victory over Matt Abel in his Chev Belair.
The C Final win went to Craig Hewitt (Monaro CV8-Z ) over Lisa Gregorini (Chev Camaro) who also red lighted. Earlier she had a hole shot win over 11-time champion Zappia in only her second event as a licensed Top Doorslammer racer.
Peter Kapiris took a solo in the D-Final in his Saratoga. He shut down early after a wheelstand. Daniel Gregorini who was third in the standings, was unable to front for the second round or the final after his round one win over Craig Burns (Mustangs).
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